Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium, Houston: Hours, Address, Downtown Aquarium Reviews: 3.5/5

Downtown Aquarium
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Houston's Aquarium features sea life from around the world.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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2,567 reviews
Very good

Kinnelon, NJ13 contributions
Jul 2021
My husband and I were in town with friends for a conference and I decided to plan a trip with lunch for the ladies to attend one day while our husbands were in a meeting. We went into the trip knowing that the aquarium would be small-which it was. We walked through the whole experience (while stopping to read signs and look in tanks), and we were only there for about 30 minutes.

Also, if you buy tickets online you still have to go to will call and exchange the tickets you printed or those on your phone for actual paper tickets. We did not know this and wasted approximately 10 minutes standing in one line before we were redirected to go stand in the will call line for another 20 minutes and then return to the original line.

The true gem we found in our experience was the food at the restaurant. Now I will say it is not the experience you may think-there is just a single tank in the middle of the room and the tables are in a circle around. I have had other experiences where the tables are in the middle and the tank engulfs you. Don't get your hopes up like I did that it would be more amazing.

The drinks and the food offered for adults at the restaurant though were great quality, reasonably priced, and truly delicious! I ABSOLUTELY recommend the shrimp and crab dip- I would have licked the bowl it was so delicious!!! We ate and drank way too much while enjoying the great service provided by our wait staff! Should I return to Houston in the future I would definitely make a reservation to eat at the restaurant again!
Written July 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jamie w
65 contributions
Mar 2021 • Family
Traffics was horrible just trying to turn into the Aquarium. Parking was already full just an hour after opening. We were given directions to an offsite, pay-to-park parking garage. The walk from there was about two blocks however, with little kids, you have to cross three streets. The lines are long outside to get tickets. There’s a line inside which seemingly only exists to solicit the purchase of pictures. No one enforced the wearing of masks. They just put up signage and called it a day. Lines were long. I don’t think they were limiting guests because of covid19 which is weird and unsafe. The place was packed, inside and out! The all-day pass would require you to literally stay all day to wait in all of the lines for the rides! My husband and I switched off with my daughter. I waited in a long line while they rode a ride and then did it all over again. There’s good seating with benches throughout and there are picnic tables all the way at the back in the shade too. Also, they were wiping the Ferris Wheel seats off after each ride and they wipes the rails on the train after each ride as well.
Written March 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mariano G
Cypress, TX1 contribution
Dec 2021
I want to leave a better review for parents cause I feel most are a bit harsh on the place. First of all, this is not Sea World, it is a much smaller attraction and should only be considered as a place for kids. I went on a day which although had plenty of people the place was far from packed...have zero complaints about employees, all were very nice and courteous.
Its true, the inner tour of the place which is the actual aquarium experience is about 30 minutes, can feel cramped if there's a lot of people, but we felt ok, even with our personal choice of mask and covid protocol. The good things is there's plenty of kids activities outside too, including feeding the manta rays, the train ride (our favorite part of the whole place), carousel, etc... The Ferris wheel is also great, but could be more enjoyable at night since it has great views of the Houston skyline... Overall, its a good 2-3 hour activity if you have kids. Only go here if you have kids!
Written January 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

The Pidge
Wayne, NJ471 contributions
Jun 2021
It pains me to speak so negatively about something involving animals but this is a terribly underwhelming aquarium with few positives. In fact it's best attribute is probably the small amusement park outside the aquarium building. I would have taken a ride on the train and Ferris wheel if the small area weren't so crowded.

The aquarium experience began with a handful of cramped, narrow hallways past a few small exhibits and tanks. Because the crowd inside was as heavy as the one outside in the amusements section, the experience was claustrophobic and stressful. Nonetheless I stopped to observe the sea life but unlike other aquariums where educational messages prevail, the signage here gave the names of the animals but little else in the way of information or what everyone can do to benefit wildlife (SeaWorld, this is not).

After a couple hundred feet things looked to be on the verge of getting interesting with a tiger exhibit (never mind a tiger being out of place in an aquarium) but following one beautiful, sleeping feline, another turn led to a compact gift shop overflowing with merchandise and people, signaling the end of the experience. The whole thing took less than ten minutes which was shocking given the large appearance of the building from outside.

It took more time to get in and out of the parking lot. With one lane serving as an entrance, traffic backed up onto the side streets and through a busy intersection. And with one lane serving as an exit (where everyone had to pay the absurd $8.00 parking fee), it took twice as long to get out of the depressing, under-the-highway parking lot than it did to wander through the aquarium.

The hour I spent here was embarrassing- to Landry's, of which I expect more, and to myself for having wasted the time and money.
Written June 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

John H
Florida147 contributions
Dec 2021
Expensive for what it is, which is a very small aquarium with a few carnival rides around it. You can pay for accessing any of the rides individually or as a package, but there's so little to do why bother. The aquarium itself is boring, I've seen better fish assortments in pet shops and in my backyard. Several tanks were missing animals entirely (ex: Mandarin gobies). Several tanks had completely stressed out and/or dying fish (discus tank temp too cold with all fish black bodied and stressed, silver arowana in undersized aquaria, etc.). For some unknown and unexpected reason, there's also tigers. Because tigers will make it all Joe Exotic better to run a glorified roadside attraction?!
Written January 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lisa A
1 contribution
Jul 2021 • Family
Its half outside water park with rides and half inside narrow one way walk thru that is dark and crowded. The outside are more for little kids. Inside aquarium exhibits are unexciting. We’ve been to the New England Aquarium, Chicago Aquarium and Maui Aquarium and this didn’t even come close. Would not recommend.
Written July 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Green Bay, WI83 contributions
Jun 2021 • Family
This is really so small and overpriced that I can’t even believe . We spend 15-20 min and it is done ! I spend 60 dollars for 15-20 min . Just not happy with that . And 8 dollars for parking . If you like something from the gift shop so you can actually feel like you went to something it is another20-30 dollars… so in 30 min we just spend 100 for … what ? Not worthy at all . Thanks, never again .
Written June 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Wendy G
2 contributions
Mar 2020 • Family
I would not waste my money coming to this aquarium. It is super small super fast from start to finish last about ten minutes . Have been to the one in Corpus and San Antonio this rates way at the bottom . Waste of money and they really need to expand . The tanks are very small for the fish displayed even my two kids we had made comments how little space the fish had in the tanks . The Tiger which was not on display. Very disappointed when asked if I could come back later to see it when it was I was told no since I didn’t purchase the wristband . So beware if you buy the city pass this does not include the only other exhibit worth seeing the sharks . You have to purchase separate ticket or upgrade . I think that is really ridiculous considering that the aquarium is so small then to see the sharks it’s extra . Why would you charge extra if that is part of the aquarium. Not complaining and completely understand to charge more for the rides but not the shark exhibit. Might be fun if you have kids five and under only . Other then that do not waste your time like we did .

Disappointed ☹️
Written March 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Maryland373 contributions
Nov 2019
The aquarium is on the small side and the pricing model a bit annoying but understandable considering the size. For the size it can be expensive for what is offered. I feel like this aquarium is mainly geared towards small kids. There are a few rides (6) outside and each ride has a fee sorta like a carnival experience. Think the kiddie section of a theme park.

The staff was friendly and very helpful though if you had questions. While we visited the tiger exhibit was under renovation so we did not see the tigers. There is a separate fee to see the sharks as they are not in the main building of the aquarium. You have to get on a train outside and it carries you into a tunnel like structure where the sharks swim around you.. It's part of a guided tour where you learn about the aquarium while you ride the train. There is also a separate fee to touch the sting rays. We like to visit aquariums so tried it out. Their reef tank has some pretty cool looking fish and corals in it but many of the blue tangs seemed to have lateral line disease or looked to have been rescued. They seemed pretty healthy besides that. There were a good variety of wrasses in the display as well.

The restaurant is a highlight and the food was pretty good. It is part of the Landry's Select Club. So dine and get your points :).
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Wichita Falls, TX55 contributions
Mar 2021 • Family
The aquarium itself is very small in comparison with other aquariums, especially considering the size of Houston! The establishment is very clean and the exhibits are well presented. Not sure why the aquarium has the white bengal tigers and not the zoo, but they were still fun to see and both tigers were fairly active. The train ride around the park was my sons favorite part of the trip, as this is the only place to see the sharks. Mixing trains and sharks overloaded his little brain. The restaurant was very good and the prices weren’t too terribly expensive all things considered. The extra large tank in the restaurant was positioned well and all the tables had great views of the variety of fish, rays and eels swimming inside. Overall it was a fun trip, although it seemed like the aquarium was trying to do too much with their space instead of focusing on being an aquarium.
Written March 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium is open:
  • Sun - Thu 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Fri - Sat 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Downtown Aquarium tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 17 Downtown Aquarium tours on Tripadvisor