Las Vegas is home to a lot of things. Entertainment is the capital shareholder of the city and a big attraction to the multitude of visitors coming into the city every day. The hotel industry is one of the biggest on and off the strip, with big resorts like the Wynn and MGM incorporating more than gambling and hotel rooms to keep you and make you a loyalist.
They do massive projects to add pizazz to their image. You will find a massive free show at the Bellagio fountains, an explosive volcano show at the Mirage Hotel, and dancing mermaids at the Silverton Hotel. Yeah, there are mermaids here. Not to mention the mystic Cirque du Soleil shows, which are a must-see while in Vegas.
Best Aquarium in Las Vegas
Back to pizzazz-water shows are some of the magnificent displays you can ever dream of seeing. Water is life, and Vegas have got a lot of it. Gallons of water flow in this marvelous city in the middle of the desert-a miracle indeed.
If you ever wonder what a shark looks like a real up close or a sea turtle, you need to see one. Not in pictures and on cable but real close, like a few centimeters apart. And what better way to experience the sea effect than in an aquarium? Scientists talk of how flowing water and its flora and fauna make our brain release happy hormones and antidepressants. It is, therefore, a good medication rodeo to visit an aquatic life display.
Resorts have gone way above with imagination to construct aquariums that are not only magnificent in design but huge in size. Some of these waters show the majestic sea life that you can only find in the deep waters of the sea. Get to see coral reefs, sharks, fish, turtles, and even mermaids. Who would have known that those childhood fairy tales were true!
1. Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
- Address: 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
- Opening Hours: Daily, 10.00 am-6.00 pm
- Price: From $29.00
- Restrictions: 13+ age restriction-children who are 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent. Jewelry, bracelets, food, and beverages are not permitted in the aquarium. Wear non-skid shoes.
The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is the biggest water display park in all of Vegas. Housing 1.6 million gallons of water in a massive glass construct, the aquarium is undoubtedly an impressive work of art in the middle of the desert.
It contrasts the heated Fahrenheit in the city with the use of air conditioners and water pumps to keep the water at the right temperature as the sea. This is essential for the survival of the more than 2000 animals living there.
The aquarium has huge coral reefs mimicking what you see in the animal documentaries on cable TV to give you a replica feel of the sea. If you have never been scuba diving, this is a perfect opportunity to see what secrets lie down to 4000 meters of the Pacific.
Shark Reef is famous for one thing. Yes, you guessed it right-sharks. The apex predators that eat almost every swimming thing in the sea waters are right here. The menacing carnivorous swim at the Mandalay is full of adrenaline, and you can’t help but appreciate the fact that you are on the other side of the action.
What’s more, the aquarium has exotic fishes and endangered green turtles, a komodo dragon, and the man-eating fish piranha.
Undersea Explorer VR Experience
Technology has amazingly made it possible for you to travel to the Pacific Ocean while still in Vegas. It is amazing how a simple eyepiece can project a realistic sea experience right at the comfort of Mandalay Bay.
A marine biologist takes you on a 360° excursion of the sea, explaining the different organisms you come across. See the humpback whales and their schools and calves in the pacific or the tiger sharks in Bahamas Tiger Beach.
Diving With the Sharks
The shark tunnel at the aquarium has over 100 sharks coming from 15 different species. Some are small, and some big depending on the species but don’t let the size fool you. If any of them get the bite out of you, you may as well say goodbye to your folks. The common sharks are sand tigers, sandbars, and tip reef sharks.
If you fancy more adrenaline-filled activities, why not take a swim in the shark-infested waters? You are armed with a safe chain suit to prevent the odds of you being the afternoon snack for the sharks.
If you prefer the odds of living to be 90% in your favor, shy away from the deep dive and get into the feeding program. The aquarium allows guests to feed the sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays, with the experienced attendant answering questions you may have about the animals.
***Unfortunately, these activities have been suspended temporarily. According to the official website, they will resume soon.***
Shark Reef has gained accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as a center of education and animal conservation. Be among the more than one million annual visitors to this experience of the exotic sea wild right in Sin City.
Note: Be sure to wear non-skid shoes as you may be walking in slippery areas. Food, beverages, jewelry, and bracelets are prohibited for the safety of the animals. You must be comfortable walking on footpaths and stairs. A refund can only be if you cancel 48 hours before starting time indicated on your ticket.
2. The Aquarium, Silverton Casino Hotel
- Address: 3333 Blue Diamond Road, Las Vegas, NV 89139
- Opening Hours: 24/7
- Price: Free
- Restrictions: 5+ rating (underage children will need the company of adults)
117,000 gallons of water is what the aquarium at Silverton packs. This massive construct is home to more than 1000 colorful fishes that inhabit the deep seas in the pacific. They live in a coral environment that makes their conditions match the idealism of the ocean. With three different shark species, you are in for a treat of the sharp teeth water predator.
Visiting this aquarium will make you face what you fear most: death. Sorry, that was dark. But don’t cancel this affair altogether just yet, for you will live to see your grandkids to bring them back here and enjoy the show.
The tank also has stingrays that you can feed at allocated park hours (daily, 1.30 pm-4.30 pm). Watch an interactive feeding program as the scuba divers feed animals in the water explaining the routine to you and answer questions.
Mermaid Swim Free Show
Fairytales are just that, fairy tales. They don’t exist. They are stories told to children of how they seduce sailors in the sea to follow them into the deep. But alas! Welcome to the land of magic at Silverton Hotel Casino, where mermaids are real. Yes, swimming beauties that will charm you with their skill and kisses. The mermaid show is an attraction that has made the hotel one of the most visited in Vegas.
- Opening Hours on Thursday to Saturday: 12.00 pm-8.15 pm
- Opening Hours on Sunday: 10.30 am-6.45 pm
Bring your child for that celebrative tour at the Silverton, and you will be smiling as your kid’s mind gets blown by the incredible water dances and stunts. Most mermaids are former water dancers and professional swimmers, so they are in for a treat. Don’t forget to take a picture of your son at the aquarium, then give it to him as a folder named Jake and the mermaid.
The Mermaid Lounge Live
Grab a bite as you enjoy the live music played every Friday and Saturday from 8.00 pm to 1.00 pm. In the background are two mermaids swimming and doing exciting turns and twirls. You can go up and open the lid to the mermaid aquarium to take pictures and videos during meal times.
This opportunity is only available during meal hours. Meals currently offered include pancakes, turkey club, fried steak, etc. Still in the Mermaid Lounge is a 500-gallon tank that houses jellyfish. It is fitted with LED lights, and it emits a colorful and breathtaking display. Never could you imagine that the most deadly fish can be this beautiful.
Outdoor Aquarium at the Bass Pro Shops
Right outside the Silverton hotel is the Base Shop outdoor freshwater aquarium with a waterfall. The 18,000-gallon aquarium simulates the Red Rock Canyon and has live koi. Three other small aquariums are adjacent to this one and hold trout, channel catfish, carp, and bass. The setup has a flowing channel that mimics the Canyon River with ducks, turtles, bluegills, and sturgeon.
3. The Tank, Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
- Address: 129 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Opening Hours: Daily, 10.00 am-6.00 pm
- Price: $50
- Restrictions: Children may be barred from entering the backstage of the shark tank for safety reasons
The $30 million award-winning pool at the Golden Nugget Casino is one to behold. It has a 200 gallons shark tank, which features five different shark species. They have the great tiger species, which can weigh up to 350 pounds.
The icing to the cake is the slide that runs through the shark tank. Can you imagine sliding down past the menacing 300+ teeth of the white shark? Nerve-racking, right? If you have the guts to push through it, you will have a moment to remember.
You pass through a long slide tube that has a clear section while running through the tank. This gives you a better and up-close view of sharks and the other animals present.
Grab a seat at one of the private cabanas and relax on the waterbeds and cool off the hot sun of Vegas. It is the perfect chill spot for an eventful afternoon for you and your family. If you are feeling more adventurous, get on the guided tour to the behind-the-scenes of the shark tank.
A guide will walk you through the process of feeding the sharks, cleaning the tank, etc. They will explain the safety procedures used in these infested waters too, e.g., wearing chainmail diving suits. And fun topics are on the table-like shark mating.
4. Chart House Restaurant Aquarium, Golden Nugget Hotel
- Address: 129 East Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 4.00 pm-10.00 pm, Friday and Saturday: 4.00 pm-11.00 pm
- Price: Free
- Restrictions: None
It may not be the biggest, but it features a winder build that is incredible to watch. The curved tank in the restaurant allows you to see the aquarium from every chair of the restaurant. Though it is free, you will need to order food or drinks to have a better viewing experience at the restaurant. The best view is at the corner of the main dining room area.
5. The Aquarium, Mirage Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
- Address: 3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
- Opening Hours: Always
- Price: Free
- Restrictions: None
The 200,000-gallon tank located at the front desk of the Mirage hotel features 450 coral fish from 85 species. The tank has pufferfish, triggerfish, angelfish, and tangs. It is cleaned 2-3 times every week to give it that shimmering look and clear waters. This aquarium has received a rating of position seven amongst the best hotel aquariums in 2011 by Sherman’s Travel.
6. The Atlantis Aquarium, Caesars Palace (Forum Shops)
- Address: 3500 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 10.00 am-8.00 pm, Friday to Saturday: 10.00 am-10.00 pm
- Price: Free
- Restrictions: None
Not only is the aquarium free it’s also one of the earliest aquariums to be installed in Las Vegas. The 50000-gallon tank features 300+ colored fish from international waters, e.g., pufferfish, triggerfish, and sharks. The Atlantis aquarium has the theme of the Atlantis city that fell according to history and myth.
The round shape of the tank allows you to explore the tank fully to see all the coral and animal life swimming. The fish are fed twice a day, and you can watch this action from 1.15 pm and 5.15 pm daily. Guided free tours are available at the lower step of the tank at 3.15 pm from Monday to Friday.
Check out this video to see this amazing aquarium:
Related Read: 11 Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Las Vegas
Aquariums are big in Vegas, and you can visit them to get the full aquatic concept of sea life. Enjoy vast pools of water at the Bass shops or the more intricate and involving excitement at the golden nugget. Either way, you will appreciate the value and beauty of the sea for sure. Then there are the mermaids!