AUDUBON AQUARIUM OF THE AMERICAS
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is recognized as one of the country’s top
aquariums for its dazzling exhibits as well as its scientific, educational
and conservation programs. Visitors may find the prices a bit steep, but
once the sting in your wallet subsides, the aquarium is an enjoyable
experience for the young and old. The aquarium is not huge, but it’s well
laid out, and one could spend several hours thoroughly examining all there
is to see. Many different types of creatures are displayed... fresh water
and salt water... fearsome creatures and bizarre curiosities... even birds
(penguins) and mammals (sea otters).
The Audubon Aquarium’s exhibits are quite diverse. Some are huge... some are small... but all are attractively presented.
The Gulf of Mexico Exhibit is the aquarium’s centerpiece. In a darkened room, ample theater-style seating is available to watch some of the sea’s most awesome animals swim about in an illuminated tank. You’ll see several species of shark (including some 10-footers), stingrays, sea turtles, sawfish (my favorite) and many other species of fish. We spent 15-20 minutes here.
The Seahorse Exhibit is my personal favorite exhibit. Seahorses are difficult to keep in captivity, so you might not see them in too many aquariums, at least not the variety, nor the large and unusual species you’ll see here. Perhaps you have heard of a "sea dragon", but I had not before visiting this aquarium. These weird creatures look like a yellow or orange leafy plant with the head of a seahorse floating around their tanks.
The Jellyfish Exhibit is another one of my favorites. You’ll see a good-sized blacklight-illuminated tank filled with a species of big fluorescent jellyfish. You’ll see such a display in many of the better aquariums, and they’re always fascinating and hypnotic. The Audubon Aquarium’s Jellyfish exhibit distinguishes itself by including several other species of large, beautiful and bizarre jellies.
A Pair Of Sea Otters - Indigenous to the northern Pacific Coast of the U.S., and once thought to be extinct, the sea otter is now an endangered and protected species. Sea otters are difficult to spot in the wild and public displays are uncommon. These two cute, stocky marine mammals are much larger than their freshwater brethren and have a much different look. They may weigh between 45 and 65 pounds. Imagine a miniature "Chewbacca the Wookie" with shorter ears. We couldn’t spot the female, but we saw the male floating on his back... appearing to make eye contact with the observers.
Mississippi River Exhibit... This exhibit features a multitude of animals inhabiting the Old Muddy... just a few hundred feet away. You’ll see the long-nosed gar, sturgeon and the frighteningly ugly paddlefish... which swims around bug-eyed with its huge mouth wide open.
Penguin Exhibit - Visitors can watch different species of penguins swim, jump and frolic through a huge window.
White Alligator Exhibit - We only saw one white alligator. He was an alligator. He was white. He was interesting for 30 seconds. He didn’t move at all... and he didn’t appear to be happy...... But... most reptiles don’t really ever look happy, do they?
Touch Pool - Visitors may "pet" a 15-inch shark.
Caribbean Reef - Walk through a huge fish tank via a huge acrylic tunnel.
Other Exhibits - The Audubon Aquarium features many other interesting creatures, including frogs, starfish, sea anemones and the like, hundreds of fish species and much more.
Parking / Accessibility:
As is the case with everything in the French Quarter, getting there and finding a place to park may prove challenging. We were staying in a hotel just across the street, so we walked to the aquarium. Parking is expensive everywhere in and around the French Quarter. The aquarium has no parking lot or garage of its own. It does offer discounted parking for up to four hours at three nearby parking areas (Hilton New Orleans Riverside parking garage, outdoor "Whale" parking lot on Convention Boulevard, and the World Trade Center parking garage).
We visited between 10 AM and 1 PM on a Wednesday in August, 2003
Weather: Warm, humid and rainy. (Not a factor. Aquarium is entirely indoors.)
Rates (as of 2004):
Kids (2-12) $6.50
Seniors (65+) $10.00
Various slightly discounted combo tickets are available in conjunction with the IMAX Theater, Audubon Zoo and the John James Audubon riverboat.
Hours Of Operation::
Canal Street at the River
Audubon Aquarium Website (part of the Audubon Institute):
|CLICK ON THUMBNAILS FOR LARGER IMAGE|
|SIGN||URCHINS||MISSISSIPPI RIVER EXHIBIT||MISSISSIPPI RIVER EXHIBIT|
|SEA OTTER||ARROW POISON FROG||BIG FAT FROG||FROG PHOTO OPPORTUNITY|
|STRANGE UNIDENTIFIED CREATURE||SHRIMPFISH||FOUR-EYED FISH||PETTING A SHARK|
|PENGUIN||CARIBBEAN REEF ACRYLIC TUNNEL||GULF OF MEXICO EXHIBIT|