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This post covers how to visit the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.
We offer tips on ticket discounts and free days as well as information on exhibits on display, best times to visit and directions.
Let’s dive in!
Though not very large, this aquarium does have some great exhibits, especially the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit.
See the section below on exhibits and experiences to find out more about what you will see during your visit.
You could certainly spend up to 2 hours if you do not rush through. Set aside time for other activities before or after your visit.
Each Aquarium ticket comes with free admission to the 4D theater next door. As the Aquarium is in Coney Island, there are many fun nearby attractions.
Admission to both zoos and the New York Aquarium is included with the New York Sightseeing Pass.
Read our discount section for more details about this and other opportunities to save some money.
Admission to the Aquarium can be purchased either on location or ahead of time through their website.
If you buy tickets before arrival, you can get instant access simply by showing the ticket on your phone or printing it out and bringing it along with you.
There are two different types of tickets available: Any Day Admission and Value Admission.
As the name implies, you can use an Any Day ticket whenever you want. Value Admission tickets are only valid on specific days – mostly weekdays.
If you’re planning to visit during a weekday, you should check to see if you can get a Value Admission ticket instead.
No refunds will be given for Any Day tickets used on Value Admission days.
TIP: Before you pay full price for tickets, see how you can save 50% in our discounts section.
Membership provides unlimited access to the New York Aquarium for 2 adults + 4 kids for 12 months.
The price of an Aquarium Membership is $150. Most families will save money with this option if they plan to visit more than once per year.
TIP: Make sure to read our discounts section for more opportunities to save money on admission to the New York Aquarium.
There are several different ways to save money on New York Aquarium tickets.
This section will provide details about a variety of discounts including tourist passes, military discounts and more.
If you’re planning to visit more than one attraction while you’re in NYC, you may want to think about getting a tourist pass.
These services allow you to pay one flat price for either a set number of attractions or a specific number of days during which you can enjoy as many included activities as possible.
Admission to the New York Aquarium is currently only included with one service: the New York Sightseeing Pass.
This can be purchased as either a day pass or an attraction pass, which means you get to decide how to save money!
In addition to the aquarium, this service also includes admission to Luna Park, which is one of the most popular nearby attractions.
If you plan to visit this amusement park while you’re in the area, the New York Sightseeing Pass could easily save you a lot of cash.
This tourist pass also offers skip-the-line admission at popular attractions like Madame Tussauds, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more.
For additional details or to learn more about how to take advantage of this discount opportunity, please read our post about New York City tourist passes.
This attraction offers name-your-own-price admission after 3 pm every Wednesday.
Although we recommend donating at least a little bit, this is a great way to save money on tickets.
There are several other locations that offer this discount day, and you can learn more about them in our post about free museums in New York City.
You may also want to look at our post on free things to do in NYC for more affordable activities.
These services also like to offer codes that you can use to save even more money on their attractions and activities.
Make sure to check the top of the page for any banner that provides an additional discount.
The New York Aquarium offers one free general admission ticket for veterans, active duty and reserve members of the U.S. Military when they present a valid Military ID at the gate.
Although this free ticket is only available for members of the military, up to three family members will also be eligible for a 50% discount when tickets are purchased together.
NOTE: This discount is not applicable on free days (Wednesdays after 3 pm). To be fair, you’ll probably spend less on those days regardless!
Every now and then, the New York Aquarium will offer their own discount for tickets purchased on their website.
All you have to do is check the top of the page for a banner that provides the coupon code necessary to save some money.
Also, you can also check websites such as RetailMeNot for coupon codes that aren’t listed on the site. These codes don’t always work, but when they do, it’s easy and quick to use them!
The following section gives you information on how to get to the Aquarium, the best times to visit, and how long to expect to spend there.
We also list several fun attractions located within walking distance.
The best way to get to the Aquarium (located on the east end of Coney Island) is by subway. It is affordable and easy.
You can use this Google Maps link to get exact directions to the Aquarium from anywhere in NYC by subway, car, or bus.
Depending on where you are in Manhattan, it can take approximately 1 – 1 ½ hours to get to the Aquarium.
If you are in downtown Brooklyn, it will take around 45 – 60 minutes.
By car: If you have a car, you can drive here, but parking garages typically cost a steep $18.
By bus: You cannot travel by bus unless you are already in Brooklyn and it will take almost 90 minutes.
As with most popular attractions, there are times when the New York Aquarium can get pretty crowded.
That being said, there are only a few details to keep in mind before visiting.
Their limited operational hours will probably be one of the most important things to factor into your trip.
New York Aquarium Hours
With only 6 ½ hours per day to visit during the winter, you’ll have to fit this outing into your itinerary sometime during the middle of the day.
Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too difficult to do that, because the Aquarium is pretty quiet throughout the week.
For the most peaceful experience, consider arriving between 10 am – 12 pm or from 2 pm – 4:30 pm.
Given that the Aquarium is located at Coney Island, you can expect larger than usual crowds during the summer.
Weekends are the only time you will want to avoid the New York Aquarium.
This is when the attraction is at its busiest, with Saturdays being especially popular.
In addition to being quite busy, these are also the days when tickets will be their most expensive.
If you must visit on the weekend, make sure to go either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
There is a lot to see and do near the New York Aquarium and below are the most popular places to visit.
Definitely check out our post on things to do in Coney Island which has information on other activities and also places to eat.
You will find this historic amusement park right down the street from the Aquarium. There is an admission fee, though admission is free for holders of some New York tourist passes.
Coney Island Boardwalk
New Yorkers have enjoyed this activity for over a century. You’ll see everything from the beautiful ocean to some wacky characters!
Be sure to get one of the most popular hot dogs in the world! This is an affordable and classic snack to eat while wandering around Coney Island.
See a Brooklyn Cyclones Game
During the summer you can see the minor league baseball team, the Brooklyn Cyclones. The tickets are pretty cheap.
If you’re looking for even more fun activities in and around the city, make sure to check our post about other things to do in NYC.
This section provides details on the Aquarium’s permanent exhibits and experiences at the aquarium with some details about each attraction.
We also provide information on how to purchase tickets to one of the Wild Encounters, small group sessions where you can get up close to the animals.
This is where the action happens! Enjoy a live and interactive show as trainers bring out the sea lions to perform some fun and entertaining tricks for the crowd.
This impressive three-story exhibit building has nine different galleries showcasing 18 species of sharks and rays.
The shark exhibit building also has more than 115 other species of marine life, including the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.
When they aren’t performing for the crowds, the California Sea Lions make their home at this exhibit.
This is also where you will find the Sea Otters, Black-Footed Penguins, and Harbor Seals.
Visitors love taking in all of the aquatic life on display at Glover’s Reef.
This exhibit includes a variety of fish and other wildlife such as the Moray Eel and the Cownose Ray.
This exhibit highlights the importance of invertebrates — the spineless creatures that are way down on the bottom of the food chain!
See Lagoon Jellies, Pacific Sea Nettles, a Japanese Spider Crab, and a Giant Pacific Octopus.
Perfect for young children, this exhibit teaches how animals communicate underwater and also covers a bit about the ocean’s ecosystem.
Kids will play the role of a scientist, searching for bioluminescent fish in a submarine.
You will find this attraction right next door to the Aquarium. Admission is included with every Aquarium ticket.
The theater specializes in showing 3D films with extrasensory effects (touch, smell, etc.) that make the experience even more immersive.
Check the board next to the wall map in the lobby for the daily feeding schedule.
These sessions take you behind the scenes and allow you to get up close to the animals.
Tickets must be purchased separately as these sessions are not included in general admission tickets.
During the 45-minute small-group session, you will get one-of-a-kind views of their marine animals. You will also get to visit the Aquarium’s private touch pool for a VIP experience.