Here’s the rub: Jacksonville doesn’t really have any aquariums (although there is one planned – more on that later!).
But if you’re looking for an aquarium that’s an easy day trip, or you want somewhere to go (or take the kids) to see some aquatic life, there are a number of great places close by. There are even some spots you can visit without even leaving town.
In this post, I’ll give you some top spots in the Jacksonville, FL area to get your aquarium fix.
Address: 2045 FL-16, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Monday – Friday: 9AM – 4PM
Saturday – Sunday: 9AM – 5PM
The St. Augustine Aquarium has some great exhibits for the whole family. Just a few of the animals that call this place home include nurse sharks, queen anglefish, bluestripe grunt, seahorses, and lionfish.
One of the highlights of the St. Augustine Aquarium is the Touch Tank, complete with horseshoe crabs, starfish, and more. Guided tours are available and led by a marine biologist. Toddler Tuesday is every Tuesday from 8:30 – 9:30, so bring the little ones!
One thing to know is that the St. Augustine Aquarium is an outdoor facility, so dress appropriately for the weather. In Florida, that includes sun protection, so don’t forget your hats and sunscreen.
Address: 9600 Oceanshore Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Hours vary seasonally
If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming alongside dolphins, Marineland Dolphin Adventure is the place to make that dream come true. Located in St. Augustine, Marineland specializes in dolphin shows and swim with the dolphin experiences.
Apart from the dolphins, Marineland also has habitats for sharks and sea turtles, as well as Kayak & Boat Ecotours of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure serves as a research and rehabilitation center for marine life. The park is committed to conservation efforts and spreading awareness about the importance of protecting our oceans.
Address: 8661 Old Kings Road South, Jacksonville, FL
Monday – Saturday 11AM – 7PM
Sunday 11AM – 6PM
Hey, if you can’t visit an aquarium, why not go to an aquarium store? Floating Sea Aquatics really kicks it up a notch from most aquarium stores. It’s part aquarium store and part theme park, complete with an in-store cafe and freshwater and saltwater rescue ponds.
Also fun for the kids are aquarium-themed murals on the walls, cool lighting throughout the store, and of course the chance to take something home (if mom and dad allow it!). Even if you just grab a bite to eat or a drink and do some window shopping, there are more than enough aquariums to entertain here.
On sale (and display) are corals, coral reef fish, freshwater species, and even lizards and snakes.
Address: 7860 Gate Pkwy #108, Jacksonville, FL 32256
Monday – Friday 11AM – 7PM
Saturday 11AM – 6PM
Sunday 12PM – 5PM
Another aquarium store worth checking out is Coral Logic, located in the Shoppes of Gate Parkway. They don’t have the cafe and ambiance that Floating Sea brings to the table, but they still have an incredible variety of marine fish.
You’ll find beautiful live corals on display, complete with colorful reef fish. That includes Moorish Idols, butterflyfish, clownfish, and much more.
Address: 370 Zoo Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32218
Open every day 9AM – 5PM
The Jacksonville Zoo is a zoo, not an aquarium – but you will find some aquatic animals here. Maybe the most exciting would be the stingrays. They have the Atlantic Stingray, the Bluntnose Stingray, and the Cownose Stingray. They’ve also got Guitarfish, koi, and several other species of fish.
And of course, no zoo in Florida would be complete without the American Alligator, which is on display here, along with lots of turtles.
Address: 100 S. Riverview Dr., Jekyll Island, GA 31527
Contact for rates and reservations
The 4-H Tidelands Nature Center is located in South Georgia, on Jekyll Island, just a short drive from Jacksonville. It’s part of the University of Georgia and hosts educational experiences, including nature walks through Jekyll Island’s coastal ecosystems and a variety of Coastal Ecology programs.
They also have a live coastal species exhibit on display. Here, you’ll find species native to Georgia in both their Saltwater and Reptile Exhibits. The Saltwater Exhibits have fish, crabs, and even stingrays, while the Reptile Exhibits have tortoises, snakes, alligators, and turtles.
Address: 3000 NW 83 St Building Z, Gainesville, FL 32606
Open every day 9AM – 3PM
Just a short drive from Jacksonville, the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo in Gainesville is another little-known spot to go for a day with the family.
While primarily known for its collection of land-dwelling animals, the zoo also has a limited number of aquatic (or semi-aquatic) species. This includes the American Alligator, musk turtles, the Florida Softshell turtle, and the Diamondback Terrapin. There are no fish here, but it’s a good place to go and they offer some events throughout the year.
Afterwards, you can grab some lunch at one Gainesville’s best pizza spots.
Last, but certainly not least – Jacksonville is finally getting an aquarium!! I lived in the city of Jacksonville for 6 years and kept hoping this would happen. I remember talk of putting one in the old Jacksonville Landing location, but that never happened. There has been talk about developing downtown Jacksonville for decades, with mixed results, and has put a lot of effort recently into investing in that area.
It’s unclear right now exactly where it will be located, but the local nonprofit advocacy group AquaJax is pushing for it to be on the riverfront. Again, the Jacksonville Landing spot would be amazing if it happened. Keep your eye out for this in the news!
The Bottom Line
Jacksonville has a new aquarium coming in 2026, but until then you can enjoy a lot of different places close by for an aquarium experience. That includes zoos with aquatic species, aquariums stores, and small local aquariums just a short drive from the Bold City.