This is not your average glitzy, modern tour packaged water-based, commercial theme park style attraction. The Key West Aquarium was built way back in Depression Era America. It still carries the charm, friendliness, unpretentiousness and warmth of a small-town establishment.
It is not a huge aquarium yet it features a wide variety of fish including grouper, moray eels, barracuda, tropical fish, tarpon, sharks, parrotfish and much, much more. With more than a 100 species of sea creatures the aquarium is the result of the Federal Government’s 1934 initiative to bring tourist dollars to the Key West area. The Aquarium was a key part of the government’s “America’s Caribbean Island” campaign.
Originally an open-air aquarium, it was the first, largest and finest of its time. There is still much to enjoy and admire in the facility, even today. What is probably unique (I am guessing here) is that the marine life in the aquarium is all native to the waters in and around the Florida Keys area.
The Key West Aquarium is not a large one, like the modern ones. The lack of size brings an intimacy not possible at other facilities. The aquarium also has a Touch Tank where you can get all touchy-feely with some of the sea creatures. You can watch daily shark and turtle feedings. The combination of these factors makes your tour come alive and very personal.
What is probably the most charming and attractive aspect of visiting the Key West Aquarium is its staff. They are knowledgeable, friendly and very informative. These guides are experts, familiar with the nature and personalities of individual creatures and actually care about them. Their stories will enthral and engage the kids.
They can describe and explain the intricate balance and relationships that the creatures have with the Key West marine environment; their habits; their strengths and what helps them survive in their