Downtown Aquarium
Downtown Aquarium
3.5
10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
About
Downtown Aquarium isn't your ordinary aquarium. Not only does it feature marine animals, but it is also an entertainment complex, with a Ferris wheel, carousel and spectacular restaurant. It's home to around 300 species of marine life and many interesting exhibits. You can view alligators at the Louisiana Swamp, spot a giant octopus at Shipwreck, or encounter piranhas in the Rainforest. While dining at the restaurant, you can even observe scuba divers feeding fish in the floor-to-ceiling fish tank. Tickets are required for the exhibits and individual rides, but there are all-day passes that provide better value. You can save even more with the Houston CityPASS. – Tripadvisor
Duration: More than 3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

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

3.5
3.5 of 5 bubbles2,630 reviews
Excellent
665
Very good
735
Average
687
Poor
307
Terrible
236

The Pidge
Wayne, NJ593 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wendy G
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SashaCT
Hong Kong, China83 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
This venue is a rather unfortunate crossover between an aquarium and an amusement park, awkwardly squeezed next to a highway interchange. As an aquarium, it's quite small, although there are a few nice touches, like the opportunity to pet the stingrays. But, it's cramped with a limited selection of fish, and generally not very inviting. There are also a number of rides (a Ferris wheel, a carousel and a short train ride), as well various forms of low-quality entertainment clearly designed just to get your money. The Ferris wheel mostly offers a view of the nearby highway and the train ride was a complete nightmare. On the day of our visit, there was something obviously wrong with the ride, and a huge line was formed. One of the two trains seems to have broken down and they have been driving the empty cars on the railroad for what I can only imagine were testing purposes. In any case, the wait was extremely long (worse than anything I've experienced in any amusement park), but the staff was completely uninterested in the fact that the crowd (which, naturally, included many small children as well as pregnant women) was getting restless and frustrated. In fact, quite a few staff members seemed like they wanted to be somewhere else. In the end, when the train finally moved, it's first and only stop was the space underneath a shark tank, which was nice (but not quite worth the extremely long wait). The rest of the train ride just took us around the buildings and through the parking lot, and that was it. If you've been to any reputable aquarium, there really is no reason whatsoever to visit this place.
Written June 18, 2022
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.

NicoleDarling
Temple, TX48 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Family
Looking at the prices compared to what you actually get for it, I definitely don’t think it’s worth it. We went because it was included in our CityPASS. What we saw was nice but this is a “for profit” aquarium. Most of them are in tanks too small for them. Their poor bengal tigers hardly have space to live comfortably. The inside area is a decent size but the outside is terribly small. I’m not sure why they have tigers at all as this is supposed to be an AQUARIUM. But also a gift shop, restaurant and carnival??? It’s just a very odd combination of things that don’t fit well together. You have to pay extra for everything as well, they need it to be a more inclusive price.
Written March 9, 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.

Kristine412
Newark, DE343 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
This "aquarium" (I use that term loosely) is not worth the money. If you actually want to see the tank with the large fish you have to pay extra to eat lunch in the restaurant upstairs, pay extra to ride the train through the shark tank or pay extra to pet the sting rays. Anyone noticing a theme? Anything that people actually expect from an aquarium is not included in the general admission price, if you pay for the all day adventure pass then some are 'included' but that's a more expensive ticket so either way you pay. They are more interested in charging people money than actually showing people sea life. We decided to go upstairs and eat and there is a large tank in the restaurant where you can actually see some of the fish that you came to see. If we had known that all of the fish were up there, and it's a separate entrance, we would have just planned to eat there and skipped the downstairs "aquarium". VERY Disappointing!
Written June 21, 2022
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.

Esmond C
1 contribution
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
Houston Aquarium was decent, but rather short and expensive. At the time of writing, self-parking is $15, and the rides are $6 per person. My toddler was somewhat interested in the garden eels and white tiger, but overall there wasn't a lot to do without going on the rides. It was about 1 hour to really look at all the exhibits so for kids and teens, they'd probably finish in 30-45 mins. For the CityPass, the aquarium main exhibit and petting the stingrays is included.

The layout is a bit tricky for a newcomer - the aquarium is split between the amusement park rides outside (ferris wheel, shark train ride, carousel, high drop) and aquarium exhibit + gift shop + restaurant + stingray exhibit. There is a separate entrance in between the aquarium exhibit entrance and the amusement park area entrance that leads directly to the gift shop, restaurant, and stingray exhibit. The gift shop is situated at the end of the aquarium exhibit.

I personally liked the giant catfish, rockfish, and sea anemones.
Written December 6, 2022
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.

Amy S
Elkhart Lake, WI205 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
While my husband and son attended a conference my teenage daughter and I went to this aquarium. We weren’t sure what to expect but we’ve been to amazing aquariums in the past. I think we spent a total of an hour here. It’s very small. There are small amusement rides outside that cost extra. It was so cold and rainy when we visited that we only went on the shark train. That was pretty fun. You will ride a train into a rounded shark tank so there are sharks all around you. (And above you) They also had two white tigers which was fun but....it’s an aquarium?

Expect lots of school groups if you going during the week when school is in session.

Fun way to spend an hour or two but overall it was just ok. Maybe it’s intended for young children.
Written February 15, 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.

martinov10
Green Bay, WI87 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mariano G
Cypress, TX4 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John H
Florida138 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 2,303
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Downtown Aquarium - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

All Houston HotelsHouston Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Houston
All things to do in HoustonZoos & Aquariums in Houston
RestaurantsFlightsVacation RentalsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars