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Children's Aquarium Dallas at Fair Park

A Guide to the Children’s Aquarium Dallas

Where under the sea is within your grasp

First opened in 1936 as part of the Texas Centennial Exposition, the Children’s Aquarium Dallas at Fair Park is the oldest such attraction in the state. And after a closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic aquarium reopened in fall 2021 under the new operation of zoOceanarium Group—and with lots of new animals.

Inside the aquarium—which is by far one of our favorite kid-friendly museums in Dallas-Fort Worth—families will see animals and environments that have not been exhibited there before. The number of fish under the aquarium’s care doubled for the 2021 reopening to more than 15,000. Throughout the attraction, associates will be on hand to introduce ambassador animals, engage with families and answer questions about the new animals:

Doctor Fish: Get your hands wet! This new exhibit is located in the entrance lobby. These small Red Garra fish will nibble on the skin cells on guests’ hands. Its like a little manicure! The fish are native to Southeast Asia.

Mahi Mahi: These beautiful and fast-swimming fish are seldom exhibited in aquariums. Look for their beautiful green and aquamarine coloring and their ray fins as they dash around their habitat in Stingray Bay. Also known as Dorado or Common Dolphinfish, they are the fastest growing fish in the ocean. Mahi-mahi are found in temperate, tropical and subtropical waters around the world.

Weedy Sea Dragons: Some wags call these animals “Seahorses with flair!” Look for their leaf-like appendages, designed by nature to help them hide among kelp vegetation. Related to the Seahorse, these fascinating fish are found only in the waters of Southern Australia.

The Fish Draw: A virtual ocean habitat has been created inside the aquarium. Kids can color and name their own fish, scan it, release it into the environment and watch it swim.

Murals: Local artist Steve Hunter from Hunter Creates has painted colorful sea life murals all around the building to highlight many of the animals featured in the Children’s Aquarium’s habitats.

Archer Fish: These little guys are at the center of the Aquarium’s lobby. In their natural habitat, they spit streams of water to knock their food out of the sky and onto the surface for a delicious meal. At the Aquarium, guests will help the Archers by holding food over the habitat. Watch for the water streams. You might get wet!

Swell Sharks: These Sharks appear to glow green in the dark via a natural bioluminescence. They are called Swell Sharks because of their ability to grow to twice their normal size by swallowing water to fend off predators. They are native to the Pacific Ocean.

Bonnethead Sharks: These fascinating sharks are new to the exhibits at the Aquarium. Bonnetheads look like small Hammerhead sharks. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The average Bonnethead will grow to between two and three feet in length. 

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One new activity visitors will notice, too, is the Children’s Aquarium Dallas Mining Company on the front lawn. A water tower and sluice create a mining experience for guests who can pan for a variety of gemstones and fossils. At the Aquarium entrance, a giant Octopus, perfect for pictures, welcomes visitors to the fun.

Children’s Aquarium Dallas tickets

Admission is $13.95 for adults, $9.95 for children ages 3 to 11, and free for children 2 and younger. Discounts are available for seniors and military. Annual memberships are also available. More information is available at online, by calling 469/554-7340, or emailing info@childrensaquarium.com.

Tickets may be purchased in-person at the aquarium, but guests are strongly encouraged to get their tickets ahead of time online at childrensaquarium.com/tickets.

Children’s Aquarium Dallas hours

Come visit the revamped children’s aquarium, open daily from 9am–5pm. Hours may be extended during the State Fair of Texas, returning September 30–October 23, 2022.

Children’s Aquarium Dallas parking

The Children’s Aquarium Dallas at Fair Park is located at 1462 First Ave., Dallas, TX 75210. Enter Gate 6 at Fair Park and you’ll find ample parking near the Aquarium.

About zoOceanarium Group

zoOceanarium Group specializes in developing and operating a new generation of aquarium and zoological facilities that emphasize excellent animal care and wellbeing and that create unique opportunities for people to appreciate and learn about animals through once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

With more than 20 years of successes, zoOceanarium Group offers expertise from concept design through animal collection planning and facility operations and management. Its animal care specialists, designers, project managers and business managers are committed to the care for and conservation of wildlife globally.

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Photo courtesy of Children’s Aquarium Dallas at Fair Park