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Where adventure meets education, every visit is a journey into the heart of Key West’s aquatic treasures. Explore the vibrant marine life of the Florida Keys at the Key West Aquarium, a proud recipient of the prestigious Award of Excellence from the Historic Florida Keys Foundation for our dedication to preservation. Located at the heart of Mallory Square, this historic landmark has shared the wonders of our local waters with generations of visitors.

historic florida keys foundation 2024

entrance to the key west aquarium



Feel the magic of the ocean at your fingertips! Delicately touch and marvel at fascinating marine creatures that call the warm waters of paradise their home.
Join us in safeguarding precious marine life, and discover our conservation efforts protecting our ocean's wonders.
Be part of our mission to rescue and protect sea turtles, and learn how we're making waves in sea turtle conservation.
fish swimming in the coral reef in key west


Gather your group for discounted tickets and an unforgettable aquatic adventure.
Enhance your visit with exclusive packages that combine our best attractions.
Explore our latest deals and discounts, adding extra value to your visit.




Feel the magic of the ocean at your fingertips! Delicately touch and marvel at fascinating marine creatures that call the warm waters of paradise their home.

family exploring the kids corner at the key west aquarium

Choose Your Tickets


Key West Aquarium

guests at Key West Aquarium touch tank
  • Featuring a wide variety of fish & wildlife
  • Daily shark and turtle feedings
  • Touch Tank offers guests hands-on experience

Aquarium & Shipwreck Package

Key West Aquarium and Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
  • Key West Aquarium Ticket plus
  • Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
  • Discover the world of shipwrecking 150 years ago
  • Climb a 65' captain's observatory

Aquarium, Trolley & Shipwreck Package

Key West trolley, Aquarium fish and Shipwreck Museum exhibit
  • Key West Aquarium Ticket plus
  • Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum plus
  • Old Town Trolley Tour:
  • Exciting, fully narrated tour of Key West
  • FREE Two Guided Walking Tours included
  • FREE admission to the Sails to Rails Museum included

1-Day Conch Tour Train

key west conch tour train driving past southernmost hotel
  • 1-day tour of the Conch Republic
  • One full loop through Old Town Key West
  • Includes three stops
  • Open-air sightseeing perfect for taking pictures
  • FREE Two Guided Walking Tours included
  • FREE admission to the Sails to Rails Museum included

1-Day Old Town Trolley Tour

Key West Old Town Trolley driving past Southernmost Point
  • 1 day of free unlimited re-boarding
  • More than 100 points of interest
  • Colorful anecdotes and well-researched historical facts
  • Exclusive stops and Key West attraction discounts
  • FREE Two Guided Walking Tours included
  • FREE admission to the Sails to Rails Museum included

Ghosts & Gravestones Tour

Key West Ghosts & Gravestones trolley in front of Shipwreck Treasure Museum
  • Voted Top Ten Best Ghost Tour by USA Today Readers' Choice
  • Explore Some of Key West’s Most Haunted Sites…
  • Pass by Some of the Most Tragic and Most Sacred Sites of the Island
  • Your voyage includes a stop at the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum


Did you know? The Key West Aquarium was the first aquarium to use an “open air concept”. This allowed for natural sunlight to illuminate the marine displays.

old photo of the entrance of the key west aquarium



Located in Key West’s famous Mallory Square, the Key West Aquarium is one of the island’s most popular attractions for people of all ages. Home to jellyfish, sharks and many other marine animals, guests can enjoy interactive conservation talks as well as animal feedings. You’ll meet moray eels, barracuda, grouper, tropical fish, conch and sea cucumbers with narration by the aquarium’s expert guides. For an unforgettable day in Key West, stop by the Key West Aquarium and get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating creatures in the Florida Keys!

key west aquarium outdoor viewing areas


cassiopea jellyfish


Construction of the Key West Aquarium, a WPA project during the Great Depression, began in 1933. Desired by many within the community, the design was prepared by Dr. Robert Van Deusen, then superintendent of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park Aquarium. The idea was to attract visitors to the little island city, boost the local economy, and serve as a showroom for other aquariums wishing to feature Key West’s diverse native marine life in their own exhibits. It took two years to complete, and the concrete that was used to form the aquarium structure and holding tanks was mixed with seawater from the ocean, as fresh water was hard to come by in those days. Upon its opening in February 1935, just in time for the first official “tourist season,” the aquarium not only was a major attraction but had the honor of being the first open-air aquarium in the continental United States.

The waters around Key West are home to a variety of marine life, from sharks to sea turtles, jellyfish to stingrays and a plethora of other fish and invertebrates. Sharks are a common sight in the waters around Key West, and they can be seen swimming in the shallow waters of the seagrass flats as well as out on the reef. Sea turtles can be spotted here as well. The Florida Keys are a major feeding and nesting ground for loggerhead and green sea turtles. Jellyfish are a common sight, drifting at the surface with the current. You can also see fields of upside-down jellyfish resting on the bottom. Key West is famous for lobsters and stone crabs, which can be spotted in nooks and crannies in the reef. Finally, stingrays can often be seen swimming in the shallow waters near the shore or buried under the sand with only their eyes showing.

At the Key West Aquarium, visitors can observe a variety of sea life, including sea turtles, stingrays and tropical fish. Visitors can learn about the importance of conservation and the need to protect our oceans and marine life.

If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the wildlife of Key West, the Key West Aquarium is the perfect place to start. You will find a vast range of species, such as sharks, sea turtles, jellyfish, stingrays and numerous other animals. Exploring marine creatures at the Key West Aquarium is an extraordinary experience that can leave you enamored with the underwater world. From the vibrant colors of the lionfish to the gentle movements of the sea turtles, something is fascinating for everyone.

The aquarium offers a range of daily shows and presentations to entertain and educate visitors about marine life and their habitats. The team of marine experts at the aquarium works tirelessly to educate the public about the many unknown and misunderstood creatures that inhabit our world’s oceans. One of the most popular live presentations at the Key West Aquarium is the sharks and rays tour and feeding held every day. Visitors can also catch tours with live sea turtles and watch big game fish feedings. With the variety of shows and presentations available, there is something for everyone in the family.

Touch the mascot of the Florida Keys, the queen conch, as well as sea stars, urchins, horseshoe crabs and other invertebrates that can be seen in our local waters.

A reef tract is a structure made up of interconnected coral reef habitats that extend along large areas of a seafloor. Coral reefs are one of the most significant marine ecosystems in the world and are considered biodiversity hot spots. They support nearly 25% of all marine life even though they cover less than 1% of the ocean floor. Florida’s reef tract is the third-largest barrier reef in the world and the only living barrier reef system in North America. Florida is also the only state to have extensive shallow reef formations near its coastline. The reef is home to over 7,000 species, including various types of fish, coral, algae, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks and echinoderms. It also protects the coast and is the base of the economy in the Florida Keys. Unfortunately, Florida’s corals have faced unprecedented challenges in the past four decades and have declined by over 90%. Damage from hurricanes, pollution, vessel groundings, misplaced anchors, overfishing, disease, heat and invasive species have all contributed to this decline. We can help protect Florida’s reef tract in several ways, such as by supporting conservation programs, research, and advocacy campaigns aimed at protecting coral reefs. Learn more about coral conservation here.

Sharks play a vital role in our marine ecosystem, and protecting them is essential for maintaining a healthy balance. Key West is a paradise for shark lovers. You have a good chance of seeing several species in our local waters.

  • Nurse sharks, Ginglymostoma cirratum, are one of the most commonly sighted shark species in the Florida Keys. They are typically brownish and can grow up to 14 feet in length. Nurse sharks are known for their sedentary behavior and make excellent subjects for divers and photographers. These sharks are mostly nocturnal and are found resting on the bottom of the ocean during the day.
  • Sandbar sharks, Carcharhinus plumbeus​, as the name suggests, prefer sandy-bottomed habitats close to the coast. ​The sandbar shark has a global distribution in coastal temperate and tropical waters and is the most common large shark species in the Western Atlantic. Able to reach 8 feet in length, they are frequently spotted swimming in shallow waters with their tall distinctive dorsal fin breaking the surface. Sandbar sharks are effective predators and have a varied diet, feeding on fish as well as invertebrates like octopus and crabs. Although they may look intimidating, they are considered a non-aggressive species and tend to be shy.
  • Blacknose sharks, Carcharhinus acronotus, are a small shark species, averaging 4 feet in length, that is found in coastal tropical and warm temperate waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. They are easily recognizable by their elongated snout that has a distinct dark blotch on the end when they are juveniles, but this may lighten as they age. Blacknose sharks are fast predators that primarily feed on small fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans. They are a non-aggressive species and have never been reported in a shark attack.
  • Lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris, are a larger species of shark that is commonly found in the shallow waters of the Florida Keys. They can grow up to 11 feet and are recognizable by their yellow coloration and two equally sized dorsal fins. They are a social species, often seen in groups within a defined home range. This species is commonly seen during shark feeding excursions in the Florida Keys and is not considered a threat to humans.

The global population of sea turtles has declined dramatically in the last 100 years due to a variety of factors, including habitat destruction, pollution, and direct harvest of turtles for their meat and shells. Sea turtles are a crucial part of our marine ecosystem and are the subject of major conservation efforts all around the world.

The Key West Aquarium is home to four sea turtles that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have deemed non-releasable due to the nature of their injuries and their history. These four sea turtles would not be able to survive out in the ocean but are still able to act as conservation ambassadors at the aquarium where they will receive lifelong care. The goal of the Sea Turtle Conservation Program is to promote public awareness of the challenges sea turtles face in the wild and to participate in ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of sea turtles living under human care. Two of our sea turtles, Lola and Rocky, are the first and second sea turtles in the world to receive biomimetic prosthetic flippers. To learn more about sea turtle conservation and the sea turtles at the Key West Aquarium, join the Sea Turtle Conservation Tour.

Southern Florida is the only place where alligators and crocodiles coexist. While alligators primarily live in the southeastern U.S., crocodiles are found in North, South, and Central America as well as Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Crocodiles favor saltwater areas, while alligators prefer freshwater and brackish water habitats. You will not find any alligators at the aquarium or in Key West, but you can see them on Big Pine in the Blue Hole. This is an interesting habitat created when limestone was quarried for the construction of the overseas highway. A large hole was left behind that is now filled with salt water on the bottom and a lens of fresh water on the top. This is now home to a population of American alligators. You might run into saltwater crocodiles, though! It is rare to see these animals, as they tend to be shy and stay away from people, but they are present in the shallow waters around the Keys. Their population is on the rise again, so people are more likely to see these reptiles in the canals and, famously, at the Navy base.


Happy World Sea Turtle Day! The Key West Aquarium is home to 4 rescued sea turtles, representing 4 of the 5 species found in Florida. Stop by to visit them and learn how you can help sea turtles in the wild!
#WorldSeaTurtleDay #SeaTurtleWeek #SeaTurtleConservation #SaveTheTurtles #Ocean #SeaTurtle #Conservation
To all the dads onshore and in the waves, today is your day! Happy Father's Day from the Key West Aquarium.
#keywestaquarium #happyfathersday
Happy Green Sea Turtle Day from Rocky and the Key West Aquarium! Rocky has a float and a weight on his shell to help with his buoyancy. He was struck by a boat in 1999, which injured his shell and left him missing a flipper. Rocky survived thanks to @theturtlehospital, but he developed Floater Syndrome, otherwise known as Bubble Butt Disorder, which is air trapped inside the shell. This made Rocky float and unable to take care of himself, so he came to live at the Key West Aquarium! The float and the weight on his shell allow him to go up and down in the water comfortably, and now he helps teach people about watching out for sea turtles while boating. 
Learn more about Rocky and our 3 other sea turtles during the Sea Turtle Conservation Tour!

#GreenSeaTurtleDay #SeaTurtleWeek #SeaTurtleMonth #KeyWest #FloaterSyndrome #BubbleButt #Ocean #SeaTurtle #GreenSeaTurtle
Happy World Hawksbill Day! Hector is celebrating with his favorite spa activity, a water massage. #DYK that an adult hawksbill sea turtle can eat 1200 lbs. of sponge in a year?! This gives coral space to grow and is a very important job on the reef. Hawksbill sea turtles are critically endangered mainly due to poaching of the turtles for their shells, so be sure not to purchase products made from sea turtles. 
Visit Hector and the other sea turtles at the Key West Aquarium to learn all the ways you can help save these amazing animals!💙 🐢 🌎 🌊 💚 
#Hawksbill #WorldHawksbillDay #SeaTurtles #SeaTurtlewWeek #Aquarium #Conservation #SeaTurtleMonth #Ocean #SaveTheTurtles #KeyWest #Florida #FloridaKeys
Happy Loggerhead Day! Loggerheads are the most common sea turtle species in U.S. coastal waters, especially Florida! #DYK that 90% of loggerhead sea turtles that nest in North America do so on Florida beaches? It is the middle of nesting season right now, so be sure to keep the beach flat and free of debris, and turn off your lights!
Join us for the Sea Turtle Conservation Tour to see our loggerhead sea turtle, Spike, and to learn more ways that you can help save the sea turtles! 
#SeaTurtleWeek #WorldLoggerheadDay #LoggerheadDay #SeaTurtle #OceanLove
Whether you cruise into town by land or sea, you're welcome at the Key West Aquarium! We look forward to seeing you. 👋 🐠 
#keywest #keywestaquarium #visitkeywest
Happy World Reef Day! #DYK Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, but support over 25% of all marine life!? Stop in to the Key West Aquarium today to learn about coral reef conservation. 🐟 🪸🐠 🪸🐬 
#KeyWestAquarium #KeyWest #FloridaKeys #Conservation #WorldReefDay #Coral #Reef #CoralReef #ProtectOurReefs #OceanLove #CelebratingNature #worldreefawarenessday



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