Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters

Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters

Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
4.5
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
At Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters it is easier than ever to interact with marine species of all shapes in sizes in environments that closely mimic those found naturally in the Florida Keys. Our primary attractions revolve around our unique Aquarium Encounters. Our hands-on encounters immerse our visitors in the heart of the action and allow them to get up close and personal with 50+ species of tropical fish, rays, and sharks! If you're not looking to get in the water, our facility still boasts many activities sure to thrill and excite guests of all ages! Stop by Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters today and immerse yourself in the Magic of the Ocean and the native marine environment of the Florida Keys.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Does not meet animal welfare guidelines
Tripadvisor does not provide bookings for this experience because it does not meet our animal welfare guidelines.
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  • Nomad
    Lakewood Ranch, Florida240 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent aquarium complex
    If you haven’t already been to Theater of the Sea, then this is worth the money and the stop. If you have already been to Theater of the Sea, this might possibly be repetitive overkill. A very nice well-run operation consisting of very large aquarium tanks filled with very large local fish species. Diving opportunities are provided in one of the tanks. Attractive paths and bridges crisscross large pools and rivers choc full of large tarpon, barracuda, etc. Smaller collections of some reptile species. Several large touch tanks for kids with rays, etc. Nice snack bar. Shading through out with benches. Very clean. The friendly and attentive staff take pride in this place.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 23, 2023
  • travelkat317
    Jacksonville Beach, Florida83 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Small aquarium that packs a punch!
    This aquarium was small but they were thorough and organized! Everyone we interacted with was helpful and pleasant (especially Kayla at the feeding station). The aquarium does a great job at highlighting the wildlife that is found in the ocean around the Keys. They have multiple options to feed different species and multiple touch tanks! I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did my teenagers. Well worth a visit if you are interested in sea life! I do recommend arriving when they open of you want to feed any of the animals - when we were leaving we noticed a few types were full and not interested in the food.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 30, 2023
  • Helen
    Hertfordshire, United Kingdom10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Petting zoo/aquarium
    Our family of 4 (mum, dad, teens) LOVED this aquarium. You can feed the fish, stingray and turtles. Pet the rays and add on extra experiences. We did the shark encounter and I would definitely recommend it. It has a very relaxed feel but the staff are so knowledgeable and very happy to chat.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 31, 2023
  • Amanda M
    Pepperell, Massachusetts7 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Best experience in the reef tank!
    We participated in the tank snorkeling experience and had a blast! We felt very comfortable the whole time and got to experience feeding the stingrays, sharks and other reef fish. The experience was amazing and totally beautiful. We took every opportunity to feed all of the other animals that were there and loved doing thy as well (lobster, turtles, tortoises, stingray, barracuda, and sharks off the pier). So many wonderful experiences and educational opportunities here. My 19 and 15 year old had a blast as well as my disabled 76 year old mother. Highly recommended this place if you are in the area! Only downside is the girl who checked us in at the desk was extremely rude to us. We were late getting there (totally our fault) and we didn’t have our swimsuits on. Which was news to us because they changed our snorkel day due to dive instructors availability. I feel like because our time slot was changed maybe some information was missed but no reason for how nasty she was. The five instructor totally made up for it and was able to give us the full experience despite us being a few minutes late and needing to change.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 26, 2023
  • Rien
    Den Bosch, The Netherlands454 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This place is worth the stop!
    We came here spontaneous without expectation because we had to spend a couple of hours before we could check in our hotel. What a lovely cosy place! However the lady at the ticket office wasn’t friendly at all, the rest of the staff was. We ate delicious healthy salads and where amazed with the cleanliness and beauty of the place. It was nice but not Disney-fancy (which I hate). The shows were great, educational and the animals impressive. It’s obvious that the staff is highly engaged to their aquarium. Why no 5 stars? Because as a ethics professional I have some doubts about touching wild animals in captivity by visitors. However my kid liked it, and the animals doesn’t seem to have problems with is, my mind is keep saying: “please do touch. Is way to stressfully. But overall a nice place for a couple of hours.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 9, 2023
  • jill b
    Lafayette, Louisiana38 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A surprised “loved it” for all!
    Our family, including my 17 and 19 year old daughters loved this place! We only paid the general admission fee (you can purchase many add on encounters) and we’re able to feed a variety of sea life (the sting rays were the highlight!), see many varieties of fish, sharks, alligators, titles and tortoises, and reef fish in well done exhibits.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 26, 2023
  • Tour48711028687
    25 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Pretty aquarium with nice encounters
    We really enjoyed our visit. Prices are very reasonable - $30 a ticket (for the day - you can leave and return with your wristband) and we had our daughter do one encounter so we paid around $115. We travel a lot and always try to go to the local zoo/aquarium and understand pricing is normally around that because the care of animals is not cheap. This aquarium offers a lot of encounters and all of the animals are very visible. Staff is friendly and helpful. Would definitely recommend.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written December 29, 2023
  • Sam Beau
    San Diego, California263 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good for a rainy day activity
    Smaller aquarium but good for a rainy day in Marathon. A little expensive at $27 a person but some neat fish, a few sharks, turtles, alligators and other sea life to look at—the coolest part was being able to feed and pet the sting rays. Good for families and like I said, a good activity for a rainy day in Marathon when there’s not much else to do.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 11, 2024
  • Vacation64219787078
    20 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots of Fun
    What a cool place! Love all the encounters they have to offer. My son and his friend did the Big shark & swim with the Stingrays . Mckenzie WAS GREAT as the guide. They loved it. When you go buy the feed pass to feed the difference animals around the location
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written February 25, 2024
  • lingwoo
    New Hyde Park, New York36 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great little aquarium with lots of hands on experiences
    We visited this aquarium with little expectations because it looked small and you have to pay for any up close encounters. However, we were pleasantly surprised how much you can touch-they had a tank with adult rays that you could feed (and that gets you very close and wet!) and a separate tank of baby rays that acted like puppies coming up to be pet-that was certainly the highlight of the trip for my tween daughter! There were mutliple sessions throughout the day where a worker (Nora) talked about the animals and she was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about every animal she introduced. If you want to pay a little more, you could suit up and feed the rays for an hour, having them literally come up to your face-that looked like a great experience. They were also rehabilitating 2 young manatees to release into the wild, although they weren’t in a tank with glass walls, so not so easy to see. Nice family place to go and lots of shelter if it is raining.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written February 25, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,175 reviews
Excellent
860
Very good
204
Average
74
Poor
25
Terrible
12

Feline
Orlando, FL5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020
I did the certified diver experience on a day when there was no diving available in the Keys due to high winds. It's a fun thing for divers to do on days Mother Nature says no diving. I think snorkelers would get just as much interactivity out of the whole thing. The aquarium is only 10' deep, so snorkelers are still pretty close to all of the action.

You get to dive or snorkel in an aquarium with hundreds of the fish you would normally see on the reefs, and through a plexiglas wall, there are ocean predators: sharks, eels, stingrays. You can feed the predators through special holes in the plexiglas that keep you safe.

The instructor for the program, Donald, is great. Very knowledgeable, and he shares his love of the ocean in an infectious way. I highly recommend this for divers on windy days or snorkelers any time.
Written November 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review 703felines! We are sorry mother nature was not cooperating but glad you enjoyed your Coral Reef Encounter with us! It is hard to beat guaranteed sightings of all your favorite reef fish, sharks and stingrays. Hand-feeding these animals is an amazing experience that you would not be able to do in the wild. Donald and our other staff members do love to share their knowledge of these animals and the beautiful ecosystems they inhabit. We hope to dive with you again soon! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written November 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MikeP
Pittsburgh, PA13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Family
I booked the coral reef dive and brought along our 17yr old exchange student from Italy. Amazing experience that neither of us will ever forget!

The staff was very helpful and efficient. We arrived around 12:30p and we were out the door by 2p. I've been diving for 20+ years (you don't have to be a certified diver to participate) and this was one of the more unique experiences. Our guide, Everett, was fantastic and it was just the three of us in the tank for roughly 30 minutes. We were able to feed hundreds of tropical fish. The aquarium has a really cool and unique design in that there is an acrylic wall separating the coral reef from an aquarium full of sharks. So we were able to feed sharks and a huge ray from small holes in the acrylic wall. If you book the dive, add the photo package. It was reasonably priced and we ended up with 200+ high quality pictures of our dive!

If you're looking for a unique experience in the Keys, you won't be disappointed with Aquarium Encounters! And while we only participated in the coral reef dive, they have several other interactive experiences for various age groups.

Mike
Pittsburgh PA
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review MJP412! The Coral Reef Encounter is one of our top experiences! Everett and our other dive instructors enjoy guiding snorkelers and divers alike through hand feeding fish, stingrays and sharks in our 200,000 gallon salt water tank system. We are glad you took advantage of our photo package. We offer a free print for any encounter with the option to purchase more photos that we take throughout the encounter. Come visit us again soon! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written January 22, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

DebbieC242
Amherst, OH22 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Family
We purchased tickets for shark petting and general admission a couple days in advance, online. Good thing, because the extra encounters sell out fast. Feeding the rays was so fun for all of us. The shark petting was wonderful, but a drawback was they wouldn’t let us take pictures on the feeding platform and it turned out their camera didn’t work! We have no pics of this experience😢The reason for 4 and not 5 stars. All in all a good hands on experience. Would recommend.
Written April 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review DebbieC242, We are glad you enjoyed feeding and interacting with our sharks and stingrays! We are so sorry we had camera issues during your encounter. We do not allow cameras on the platform is for safety purposes. When working with sharks we need your undivided attention. We hope you visit us again and we'll give you all your photos for free! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written April 7, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alicia B
Idaho267 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
We stopped for quick peek to see what the place was like and ended up staying for 2 hours. The touch tanks were the highlight along with watching the staff feed the massive Grouper. The staff/volunteers were very friendly and knowledgeable. It was exciting to see the baby stingrays. We have been to multiple aquariums and while this one was small, it was well managed and reasonably priced. Worth the stop.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review 843aliciak! We appreciate you stopping by and interacting with our animals. Sounds like you had fun watching one of our public feeds with Big George, our 350 pound Goliath Grouper! Our staff love to educate our visitors about the magical marine life that inhabits the waters of the Florida Keys. We hope you visit us again soon and maybe hop in one of our tanks for an immersive encounter! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written February 14, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lauren
New York City, NY20 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Family
We visited the aquarium twice on our visit to Marathon and our toddlers absolutely loved it! I recommend getting the feed pass, our kids loved feeding the turtles, tortoises and sting rays. They got to touch a number of animals like alligators, sting rays and starfish. They also have a really cute snack stand with a sandpit, cornhole and cocktails for mom and dad!
Written October 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review Mobile21764134404, We are so happy your family enjoyed interacting with and learn about our animals! Our touch tanks bring a variety of marine species within arms reach while our marine biologists are happy to help you interact with them and answer any questions you may have. From sharks and stingrays to turtles and alligators there is something for every age group to experience and learn about! Thanks for visiting and we hope to see you again soon! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written October 24, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alyson J
Cashiers, NC12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This is an open air aquarium with a unique Florida vibe. We went over the Christmas holiday. It is small but offers some interesting experiences. The staff is very informative and helpful. I liked the string ray tank. You can opt to swim with them for a fee or just touch them. You can also pet a shark or feed turtles and other animials. If you have a couple of hours free, it is worth stopping by and visiting this attraction.
Written January 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review alysonj349! Aquarium Encounters is an interactive aquarium set in a beautiful natural setting. Our exhibits are covered by large Tikis that shield our guests from the sun and rain. General admission grants you access to our entire facility and includes interaction in our 4 touch tanks, public feedings conducted by marine biologists and guided tours! Our Encounters offer a chance for visitors to get into a couple of our tanks to hand feed stingrays and sharks or stay dry and still get an intimate experience with incredible marine life. Thanks for stopping by, maybe next time you can hop in one of our tanks for a once in a lifetime experience! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written January 22, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

tinkr2
Alafaya, FL156 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This aquarium is small but very fun. There is lots of staff around to answer all your questions. We loved the two main tanks especially the predators. The giant eel was amazing and it was fun to see all the sharks. We had a great time with the stingray tank. it was great to touch them as often as you like. The glass windows made for very fun picture taking.
The highlight for my grandkids were the turtles. It was such a silly thing but for $2 you could buy a solo cut off lettuce pieces to feed to turtles. They were great, all different sizes rocking for food. We did it over and over.
It was lots of fun hands on activities. You could pay to feed sharks but we did not and it was fun to watch. great time for all ages.
Written January 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review tinkr2! Visitors at our aquarium have access to guided tours, public feedings throughout the day and 4 touch tanks all included with general admission! Our staff enjoy sharing their knowledge of our amazing sea creatures with our guests. We are glad you enjoyed interacting with our stingrays and feeding our turtles. Maybe next time you can hop in one of our tanks for an in-water encounter! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written January 4, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Curt y
Hudsonville, MI21 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
I read the reviews prior to going and thought it would be pretty cool. It costs 24.50/person just to get in and then if you want to swim with any fish or anything it is a considerable amount extra. We decided to look around first and then see if we wanted to doin anything. The tanks are some of the smallest I have seen in aquariums in a comparable price range. It is cool that they offer the different encounters but if you have been snorkeling before, you would get a very similar experience in the reef encounter. If I remember right, to do that was 130/person. You can find great snorkeling excursions and even scuba diving for cheaper than that. Staff was friendly and it was clean. I guess I was expecting more. If you’re someone that doesn’t like the ocean but wants the experience, this would be for you. For me, I was disappointed.
Written October 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review 733curty, We are sorry your experience was not satisfactory. Our facility admission is competitively priced with similar attractions in the area. Admission includes access to our entire facility including 4 different touch tanks, viewing of public feeding presentations of various animals as well as guided tours with our biologists. We also offer a variety of discounts on admission. Our Coral Reef Encounter is $95 to snorkel and there are dive options available. This encounter includes hand-feeding stingrays and reef fish in the tank with you and then an exhilarating hand-feeding experience with our sharks, eels and grouper through our large acrylic windows connecting the coral reef tank to the predator reef tank. This is the only facility in the entire continental U.S that offers this safe, face-to-face feeding with with some of the oceans apex predators. These feeding opportunities are only possible in our facility as it is both unsafe and illegal to feed wildlife in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We hope you come see us again and maybe try one of our immersive encounters. Thank you, FKAE Management
Written October 15, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

milwmomof4
Milwaukee, WI72 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Family
It’s a nice little place to view many marine animals of the keys. They had a lot of different “encounters” that cost additional money but we just paid the entrance fee and really enjoyed looking around. There are a number of biologist around that you can ask questions as you walk along. However, we also took the tour that is free to everyone and happens once per hour. Our biologist guide was very knowledgeable and took all our questions with patience and enthusiasm. We watched them feed the giant parrot fish and tarpons. You can pet the sting rays in the tank and some others in the “touch tank”. Fun for 1-2 hours!
Written August 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review milwmomof4, We are so happy your family enjoyed interacting with and learning about our animals! From our 4 different touch tanks to our public feeding presentations and guided tours there is plenty to experience with admission. Our encounters go a step further giving our guests the opportunity to get in the water, snorkel or dive, or feed and interact with our sharks and stingrays from the side of the tanks. We hope you visit us again soon! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written August 8, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mads W
Marathon, FL9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Solo
It’s a fun place for families to go for part of a day. There are lots of touch tanks and fun things for kids to do. It’s a little pricey for what you are getting with admission which is just walking around and seeing a bunch of fish mostly. They do have a cool little alligator and turtle area, and they do a Goliath grouper feeding which is also super cool, but it is definitely a place geared toward families with children, or people coming to swim with sharks and rays.
Written January 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your review madsw000! We are happy you enjoyed our facility. Our admission includes access to four different touch tanks, public feeding presentations and guided tours by our marine biologists. We encourage our visitors to get as hands-on as possible. With feeding opportunities and even more immersive experiences in our encounters you can learn about a variety of marine species while interacting with them. We are glad you got to check out Big George, our 400 pound Goliath Grouper feeding. We hope you visit us again soon! Thank you, FKAE Management
Written January 26, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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