Downtown AquariumDowntown Aquarium (credit: CBS)
There are so many wonderful facilities and programs available for families all over Denver. From the Museum of Nature and Science to the Denver Zoo to the Children’s Museum, there are enough programs and activities to keep you and your whole family busy all summer long. If you’ve never been to the Downtown Aquarium, you’re missing out on one of Denver’s most fun and interactive educational exhibits. With a delicious restaurant, a ton of amazing tanks and exhibits, mermaids, a carousel, train and even a 4D theater, there’s a lot to see and do at Denver’s Downtown Aquarium. If you need a little help planning just what to do once you arrive, here are a few special things that the Downtown Aquarium offers, each would be a wonderful addition to your trip to this important Denver institution.
Downtown Aquarium
700 Water St
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 561-4450

Price: $18.99 for adults/$17.99 for seniors/$12.99 for children

Denver’s Downtown Aquarium is the best place in Colorado to see more than 500 different species of animals, an interactive Stingray Reef tank with Stingrays that you can actually touch, and even a mermaid or two. Wander through the many different exhibits to see the various habitats of all these magnificent creatures. Your children will marvel at the many species of marine life, and they’ll love exploring the Coral Lagoon, the Sunken Temple or even the Shipwreck, where exhibits and décor are designed to replicate what an underwater shipwreck looks like. There are a lot of different ways to enjoy the Downtown Aquarium, so grab the whole family and make your plans for a day packed with fun, adventure and even a little education.

SCUBA And Snorkel With The Fish
Time: Call to reserve
Price: $85 per person

One of the very best ways to learn more about the lives of these underwater creatures is to go into the water with them. You can book SCUBA and snorkeling time at the Downtown Aquarium. You’ll be able to feel what it’s actually like to swim with green sea turtles, giant grouper, stingrays, guitar fish and much more. This is one of those rare, exciting events that any under-water adventurer would love. No diving certificate is required, all equipment is provided and the price even includes your own program shirt and your choice of one exhibit admission or free parking. If you’re looking for the most exclusive and exciting way to experience Denver’s Downtown Aquarium, then look no further, because this is it.

Related: A Denver Guide To The Zoo

Mystic Mermaids
Times: Monday-Thursday 11a.m., Friday 11a.m., 1p.m., 7p.m., Saturday 11a.m.-3:45p.m., 7p.m., Sunday 11a.m., 1p.m., 2:30p.m.
Price: Included with admission

Mermaids may be the stuff of mythology and folklore but at Denver’s Downtown Aquarium they are the real thing. Just imagine your child’s eyes lighting up as she sees real mermaids swimming underwater in the Under the Sea Exhibit. The interactive show is wonderfully choreographed to music and is performed daily at several times throughout the day. You can also catch the show from the dining area in the restaurant. Stick around for 30 minutes after the show to get to meet the mermaids in person. If your child loves stories about mythical mermaids, then you simply have to take her to see them live and in person.

Zoologist For A Day
Time: 9a.m.-2p.m. Daily
Price: $65

You’ll find much more than fish at the Downtown Aquarium. In fact, you can check out amphibians, reptiles, birds and even tigers. This program takes you and your family behind the scenes to learn how the trained staff interacts with all the different animals. You’ll learn about the care that goes into each and every animal, from feeding time to play time to training and more. This program is only offered during the daytime and is available for families as well as school groups, but you’ll need to call ahead of time to set this one up. It also includes a Downtown Aquarium shirt and lunch. So spend a day with a zoologist at the Downtown Aquarium and learn all about everything that goes into the care of the many creatures here that live outside of the giant tanks.

Behind The Scenes Tour
Time: Tuesdays-Fridays 1:30p.m.-5p.m.
Price: $250 for up to 15 people

If you’re a big fan of the Aquarium, then you may have some questions about everything that goes in to keeping a place like this running. This tour takes the whole family (plus a few extra friends) behind the scenes as you check out everything from how the water is filtered to the different types of food each fish is fed. You even get to check out the exhibits from a special vantage point high above the rest of the crowd. Tours last approximately one hour and must be booked in advance. This one is a on the pricey side but it’s a wonderful experience for a special family day, a group adventure or even a child’s birthday party.

Behind The Scenes Tour: Otters
Time: 11:30a.m. and 1:30p.m. Daily
Price: $10 per person

For just a few extra dollars, you and the kids can watch the highly trained staff at the Downtown Aquarium interact, train and feed the amazing otters. You’ll get up close with these wonderful creatures as you see how they are fed and what types of food they eat. The Behind the Scenes Tour: Otters program is offered seven days a week, twice a day at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. This is a great option if you’re just looking for a smaller extra to add to your Aquarium visit without breaking the bank.

Related: Top Wild Animal Sanctuaries In Colorado

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at