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“Couldnt get in!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Greater Cleveland Aquarium
2000 Sycamore Street, Cleveland, OH 44113
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Ranked #47 of 73 Attractions in Cleveland
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Greater Cleveland Aquarium energizes curiosity by passionately educating and entertaining about aquatic life and conservation. Set in a powerhouse built in 1892, see an octopus, touch stingrays, meet African tortoises, discover seahorses and jellies in more than 50 exhibits. Don't miss the 170-foot SeaTube, surrounding guests with sharks, eels, fish and rays.
Cleveland, Ohio
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Couldnt get in!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2012 via mobile

Want to know how to make a lousy first impression? Make patrons wait 45+ minutes standing in line for admission. Ended up turning around and going home. Afterwards I learn that tickets are available online. Well done letting the public know that beforehand! Another smashing success by a potentially great Cleveland attraction.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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350 reviews from our community

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English first
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Despite some positives, simply too little bang for the buck.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012

First the positives. They did a good job converting the old Powerhouse into a nice exhibit.

I tried buying tickets on-line beforehand to avoid the crowds, but their website did not give me a confirmation. Staff was very good about letting us in after I showed them that their system had in fact charged my credit card.

The exhibits are of a decent size and variety. There were, however several problems.

First, the lighting is plain awful. The water for most exhibits was murky and while that is appropriate for river exhibits, it got in the way of the tropical ones.

Second, the educational signs on the walls looked cheap and cheesy. I understand that they had to work with the space they had, but the quality was just a little above what you would expect at a high school science fair. Metroparks does a much better job at their locations.

Third, the crowd simply got in the way of enjoying the exhibit. You had to stand and wait once you were inside to see the most popular exhibits, like the seahorses. There were spaces that would have been better served by moving walkways.

Lastly, the cost was outrageous. For three adults and two children along with parking, we paid over $100 for about an hour experience.

I have been to numerous aquariums and this one is no where near the quality of even good municipal ones where the admission is much less expensive. Overall, my rating is Poor.

Visited February 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mentor, OH
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Nice addition to Cleveland”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2012

We purchased a season pass so we were able to get a "sneak peak" before the place opened to the public. We went late Friday afternoon and were plesantly surprised. Although a bit smaller than I had anticipated, the shark tube and tank was really nice, the water was still a bit cloudy so some of the smaller fish were harder to see, but all in all I think they did a really nice job. I really liked that they kept the integrity of the building and built the tanks in and around exsisting structures within. The sea horse exhibit was nice and we really liked the lobsters in the ceiling near the smoke stacks. Not sure why some of the tanks were at chin level for an average 5'5 person, you either had to stand on your toes to look over the ledge or crouch down - guess it's great for kids, just not too great on an adult's back. I was a little disheartened to overhear a worker at the aquarium telling a family that they had just placed the newly delivered octopus in the exhibit because the first set of them all died in transit to Cleveland. Kinda put a bummer on the rest of my visit here thinking of all the critters that died for our viewing pleasure.

Visited January 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Room for improvement but nicely done”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

With great anticipation we awaited the opening of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Something else to do during the winter. Another place out of the snow and where we could think about scuba diving. The setting is very nice inside the old Powerhouse in the Flats. I liked the bricked walls that gave it a nice atmosphere and back drop to the tanks of fish.

The tanks that held the local varieties of freshwater fish were nicely designed but a bit unimaginative with decoration. Freshwater fish are not that exciting to view to begin with unless you are some kind of marine biologist studying them. Some of the problem could also have been that the set ups were new and the water hadn't had a chance to become seasoned yet. We found other tanks that were a bit cloudy as well.

The salt water tanks were very nice but had the usual run-of-the-mill varieties a lot of which can be seen by walking through a pet store that sells fish. I did enjoy the seahorse display that had quite a few swimming around. Of course the big attraction is the shark tank where a tunnel takes you through the middle and you can watch the sharks as well as a school of manta rays swim overhead and around you.

While it's not the best aquarium I've ever seen, it is a nice addition to the attractions for Cleveland. And though some say it's a bit pricey, I say they should try keeping up with a saltwater tank at home. They are costly.

Visited February 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solon, Ohio
Top Contributor
229 reviews 229 reviews
74 attraction reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
112 helpful votes 112 helpful votes
“It's better than not having an aquarium at all”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2012

Well, I've been anxiously awaiting for my first visit to the aquarium and honestly, was a bit let down. Actually, the place was better than a couple of the reviewers had me thinking it would be. It's not huge, it is in the basement of the Powerhouse with the entrance in the old Howl at the Moon Saloon. Since they had to work with the existing space, the layout is really odd and this causes some serious traffic flow issues. At one point, where traffic narrows, I felt trapped.

We arrived at the aquarium at about 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. The place was PACKED! Season pass holders are supposed to get in automatically. We were told to go visit the upstairs restaurant for five minutes and come back. The "restaurant" was just a stadium-type place offering hot dogs and nachos. After 10-15 minutes, we went back to the front as instructed. At that point, we were able to get into a short line, waiting another 5-10 minutes. People who didn't have passes, I heard they were waiting an hour to buy tickets and get in. So, get a pass, purchase your tickets ahead of time, go during a weekday, or prepare to wait, a long, long time. Honestly, if I had to wait that long, this rating would probably be lower than it is.

We will be going back for three reasons: 1. We had already bought season passes, so we will visit enough times to get our money back 2. We want to visit again when the place is a bit less crowded and 3. I am curious to see if they make any changes.

Who knows what will happen to the aquarium. I hope it is successful and is able to expand with more food options opening in the area. If this were 15-20 years ago when the Flats still existed and there were places to eat and the area was 'nice', I think chances would be better the aquarium would do well. But to drive all the way downtown, pay to park and then go through the little aquarium with no where close by to walk around, etc...we will see......

Visited February 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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