Animals & Exhibits

Main Gallery

Main Gallery

With habitats featuring sharks, stingrays, jellies and more, you can explore the depths of our ocean planet like never before! Discover the beauty and mystery of underwater worlds that house thousands of colorful fish and exotic marine animals. Indulge your sense of adventure by looking through, crawling under and even reaching into our unique displays.

Be daring and touch the back of a docile shark at Shark Encounters. Dip your fingers in the cool water at our Discovery Lab and learn how to hold a crab. Marvel at one of the most feared and misunderstood animals in the ocean at Shark Lagoon. Relax as translucent jellies gently float around you. Watch California sea lions zip by the underwater viewing area then see them demonstrate natural behaviors upstairs at the Foxwoods Marine Theater. Learn the inspiring story of our green sea turtle, Charlotte, and see stingrays swim by in Stingray Bay. Get closer to these calm creatures at the Ray Touch Pool just outside the Main Gallery and feel the sensation of a ray glide below your fingertips or even suckle food right from your hand!

Fish & More

Fish & More

Don’t miss:
•    Coral Reef
•    Loggerhead Turtle
•    Moray Eels and Barracuda
•    Hidden Amazon
•    Fluorescent Corals
•    Covanta Cove
•    Jellies: The Ocean in Motion

African Penguins

African Penguins

The Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit offers above- and below-water viewing for more than 35 resident African penguins. Feeding times vary through the day so check the schedule as you arrive at the Aquarium and stop by during one of our penguin feeding sessions.

There are a couple ways you can help us with our efforts to save the African Penguin during your visit to Mystic Aquarium.
•    Participate in a Penguin Encounter
•    Run, walk or volunteer in October’s Penguin Run/Walk
•    Purchase a print or mug with artwork created by one of our African penguins

The Plight of the Penguins

Did you know that the wild population of the African penguin could go extinct in our lifetime? The population has declined by 70% in the last 10 years alone.

Beluga Whales

Beluga Whales

Visit the largest outdoor beluga whale exhibit in the United States! Our Arctic Coast exhibit is an acre of glacial streams, northern evergreens and crystal blue water.

Watch Juno, Kela and Miki explore this 750,000-gallon exhibit from above and below the water! Witness the gentle nature of these animals at a series of three 20-foot-long underwater viewing windows.  Hear from trainers during a feeding and training session and learn how the belugas’ natural behaviors help them to survive.

Mystic Aquarium is a leader in beluga research, care and behaviors.  Our research team studies belugas here and in their natural habitat to better understand their behaviors and health. Current research focuses on how belugas respond to environmental changes, including human-related factors, which will ultimately contribute to the long-term survival of the species.

Don't miss the feeding sessions!

Don't miss the feeding sessions!

Also joining the belugas in the Arctic Coast exhibit are rescued harbor seals Bristol and Coral.  The two seals joined the exhibit in May and have provided a new underwater viewing experience where you can witness the tranquil movement of the seals when they dive.

Exploration: Wild

Exploration: Wild

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the tropical rainforest. Jump into a rugged JEEP then uncover a researcher’s camp where you’ll find field tools and discover tropical insect specimens. Then, step in to the Arctic where Northern Lights shimmer across the frozen sky, pose with a towering life-sized polar bear and hop on the back of an authentic dog sled. Dive into the open ocean and find safety in a steel shark cage while a great white shark looms overhead. Next, journey to the wetlands and come face-to-face with 6’ American alligators. See the rough and tough side of the Aquarium and meet reptiles from the desert. Get your hands on the chilling side of nature with some creatures that are cold-blooded and seriously cool in Scales & Tails. Feel* the spiny scales of a bearded dragon, the smooth body of a ball python or touch the slick skin of a young American alligator.
*Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, children age 5 and under, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals should not touch reptiles. All people engaging in reptile touch programs should wash/disinfect hands following the contact.

Explore Your World

Explore Your World

Vivid images, hands-on activities and fascinating animals lure you from adventure to another as you tour Earth’s most captivating habitats: Rainforest, Arctic, Wetlands, Desert & Open Oceans.

With over 30 different species, you’ll discover funky features, learn the mystery behind nocturnal species and be thrilled (or chilled) while surrounded by predator frogs in a uniquely designed display. Hold your breath and dive into the center of an aquatic territory then hop on over to see familiar faces of local amphibians. Witness the beginning stages of a frog’s life cycle and learn how you can help protect frogs. With nearly one out of every three species facing the threat of extinction, you’re the key to guarding their future. Fun interactive panels will allow your frog knowledge to expand in leaps and bounds. You’ll learn more than you could imagine about frogs’ adaptations, features, and environments.

Whether you hop, jump, leap or crawl – just be sure to come see frogs!

Foxwoods Marine Theater

Foxwoods Marine Theater

The Aquarium’s resident California sea lions take the stage during daily shows in the Foxwoods Marine Theater. A favorite of all ages, the sea lion show is a truly unique opportunity to experience lions of the sea close up and in action! It’s live theater, so each show is one-of-a-kind!

This engaging show is about 15-20 minutes long. Admission is included with your Aquarium ticket or Membership!

Be sure to check the event board for showtimes when you enter the Aquarium.

Animal Rescue Clinic

Animal Rescue Clinic

We are more than just an Aquarium. Through the efforts of our Animal Rescue Clinic, we provide care, hope and a safe haven for stranded marine animals. On any given day, you can peek in to our Clinic for a glimpse at the hard work and dedicated care that goes in to rehabilitating stranded seals. Each animal admitted to our Clinic receives specialized care with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into their ocean environment.

You’ll see a collection of holding areas that are specially designed for each stage of the rehabilitation process. From their initial admission date to the final days leading up to release, our Animal Rescue Team ensures each seal meets vital milestones throughout their rehabilitation process. So whenever you see a seal swimming or lounging in the largest open pool, know that there may be a seal release in the near future!

Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic has been rescuing marine animals along 1,000 miles of the Northeastern coastline since 1975. Working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and other government agencies, the Animal Rescue Team responds to an average of 30 stranding calls each year while also providing support to other stranding facilities in New England and even as far as California.

Rescuing and rehabilitating stranded marine animals is no small feat and wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of community members like you.

Please consider making a donation to our Animal Rescue Program today to help save lives tomorrow.

If you find a marine mammal or sea turtle:

If you find a marine mammal or sea turtle:
  • Call Mystic Aquarium’s 24-hour hotline: 860.572.5955 ext. 107
  • Do NOT touch the animal.
  • Give the animal plenty of space – crowding may cause it to stress out or act aggressively.
  • Keep pets away from the animal.
  • Do NOT pour water on the animal, feed it or attempt to help it in any way.
  • Be observant and note if the animal has any physical signs of injury or distress.

Seals and Sea Lions

Seals and Sea Lions

Stroll through the winding paths from the Arctic Coast to the rocky shores of the Pribilof Islands at the Pacific Northwest exhibit.  Watch as harbor seals, Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions glide through the water and bask in the sun on the beach.

Be sure to catch one of the feeding and training sessions and hear the amazing stories of some of the rescued residents in this exhibit.

Marsh Trek

Marsh Trek

Hear the click-clack of our boardwalk as you walk through the Marsh Trek. See if you can spot native animals like Eastern painted turtles, American bullfrogs and Mallard ducks. You may even luck out and enjoy a rare visit from a great blue heron!

How many can you find?

How many can you find?

On any sunny day, dozens of frogs and turtles of all sizes take advantage of the warmth.

Birds of the Outback

Birds of the Outback

Visit with the feathered fowl from down under at Birds of the Outback! This seasonal traveling exhibit allows guests to get wildly close to hundreds of colorful free-flying birds.

Your entry fee* provides you with a seed stick to feed these friendly birds. Just hold your hand high and let these pretty birds come to you!

*$3 entry fee (plus Aquarium admission) provides each paying guest entry into the aviary and one (1) seed stick. Additional seed sticks may be purchased at $1 per stick. Birds of the Outback entry is include with value ticket and for members who purchase the 2016 Birds of the Outback member pass. 

Step in to our enclosed 1,200-square-foot aviary where beautiful cockatiels, budgies and Princess parrots fly, sing and may even perch on your arm! You can even hear the mysterious call of the laughing kookaburra.

4-D Theater

4-D Theater

Experience a truly interactive film experience in our 4-D Theater.

Check the info board inside the entrance to find the show time that works for you!

Tickets can be purchased at the Aquarium.  Become a member and enjoy free admission to the 4-D Theater for a full year!
Note: Please use discretion if your child is easily startled or if you have medical conditions related to your back, heart or brain. The 4-D Theater experience contains lighting effects, including strobe lights.  All shows subject to change and availability.

now playing!

now playing!

Your favorite characters from the world’s #1 mobile gaming franchise take on the piggest of all pigs when the Angry Birds’ home is ambushed. Watch out for the pigs’ never-ending bag of tricks as swarms of buzzing bees and massive TNT explosions are brought to life with captivating special effects and eye-popping 3-D.

National Geographic Theater

National Geographic Theater

Wonders of the Arctic

Wonders of the Arctic centers on an ongoing mission to explore and come to terms with the Arctic, and the compelling stories of the many forays into this captivating place. Underlying all these tales is the crucial role that ice plays in the northern environment and the changes that are quickly overtaking the people and animals who have adapted to this land of ice and snow. (Run Time: 42 minutes)

Great White Shark

Misrepresented, maligned and on the verge of extinction, the great white shark in an iconic predator: the creature we love to fear. Great White Shark will explore the great white’s place in our imagination, in our fears and in the reality of its role at the top of the oceanic food chain. (Run Time: 40 minutes)

Mysteries of the Unseen World

Mysteries of the Unseen World transports you to places on this planet you have never been before, to see things that are beyond your normal vision, yet literally right in front of your eyes. This film reveals phenomena unable to be seen with the naked eye, taking you to earthly worlds secreted away in different dimensions of time and scale. (Run Time: 40 minutes)

Sea Monsters, A Prehistoric Adventure

When strange bones are discovered in a muddy Kansas river bank, paleontologists set out to investigate a mystery buried in time. Through photorealistic animation, we travel back to the Late Cretaceous period, when the sea was dominated by giant marine reptiles, some as large as present-day whales. Go back in time to join one of these incredible sea monsters on her journey from the safety of life in the shallows to the center of the action in the most dangerous seas in history. (Run Time: 40 minutes)

Purchase your National Geographic Theater timed tickets at the Box Office located at the Ocean Exploration Center Entrance. Doors open 5 minutes prior to the beginning of each show.

Ticket Information:
Guests: $6
Aquarium Members: $4