The ocean is full of mysteries. It’s just too deep that it’s hard for experts to study it. In fact, even with the advancement of our technology today, scientists still haven’t explored even half of the ocean. As a matter of fact, even until today, we’ve only explored five percent of the ocean.

In spite of that, we’ve already learned numerous things about the deep blue sea. Thanks to marine theme parks, learning about the ocean became a lot easier too. Plus, we can even get to have a glimpse of the life under the sea.

For starters, marine theme parks are like the ordinary zoos we’ve grown familiar to. However, this kind of attraction focuses more on featuring marine life. Here, you will not just get fascinated by the kinds of animals that you can get to see under the sea but, like in zoos, you can also get to know the animals better, as well as the environment that they live in, which makes it one of the best attractions to be when you’re traveling with your family.

Because of the technological advances and the public’s interest, which started between the 1970s and 1990s, a lot of cities now put up oceanariums drawing hundreds of families yearly.

Ohio, for instance, is one of the places in the world that draws a lot of visitors – both locals and tourists. Yes, you read it right. Apparently, Ohio isn’t just all about football. While Ohioans are crazy about football, the state also has a lot of attractions to offer to its visitors. One of which are the family-friendly destinations that is has like the aquariums that it houses.

The United States actually has a bunch of oceanariums. Some of the best ones are in Ohio. And if you’re wondering where the best place to take the whole family to is, look no further than Ohio’s marine theme parks. In case you want to explore Ohio’s top aquariums, you’ve come to the right place as we’ve narrowed down the best ones that everyone in the family will surely love.

RELATED: 5 Unique Things to Do in Ohio with Facts About the State to Help You Plan Your Trip

Top Aquariums in Ohio

Ohio is home to a good deal of aquariums. Many of which are unique, from their buildings’ design to the fascinating species that they house. Some are even connected to a zoo. Hence, you can get to owe over big cats, monkeys, and then polar bears and whales in just one day. In addition to that, most of them take a whole new approach to aquariums, making it all the more educational, interesting, and fun.

 If you’re traveling to Ohio soon, here are our highly-suggested ones that you need to see.

1Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Santa Claus diving at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium (Source)

One of the things that sets the Greater Cleveland Aquarium apart from the other oceanariums in Ohio is that it is set within an old historic powerhouse just right in the Cuyahoga River. It’s exposed bricks and ducts being fully incorporated into its building’s design, this attraction is quite unique unlike the more modern constructions.

But aside from that, it also houses exotic ocean species that are featured within the aquarium’s exhibits. Also known simply as Cleveland Aquarium, this site has a tunnel where you can walk through and see fish you didn’t even know existed too.

On top of that, it offers different unique programs. One of which is the Stingray Art Gift Experience where visitors can get to enjoy and learn from the behind-the-scenes look lead by animal care experts. As its name suggests, this activity also lets you see the animals paint and get a chance to hand-feed the stingrays.

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium also lets you dive with sharks and 30 other different species of sea creatures for those who are brave-hearted.

2Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

The towering colorful pagoda during Asian Lantern festival at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (Source)

Also located in Cleveland is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Basically, this attraction focuses more on housing land animals. In fact, it is famous for its simulated rainforest. But Cleveland Metroparks Zoo also houses a small aquarium where you can get to see various fish species, anemone, eels, as well as corals.

Aside from that, another thing to look forward to is the Asian Lantern Festival. Designed for everyone to enjoy, this event lets you see more than 70 large-scaled illuminated displays you’ve never seen before plus over a thousand individual lanterns that will light up the sky. Everyone in the family will also enjoy dynamic walk-through displays, as well as towering tall colorful pagoda.

Visiting this place isn’t just for kids to explore and learn. It is also a place filled with fun and Instagram-worthy sights that you should not miss.

RELATED: A Guide to Experiencing the Best 12 Things to Do in Cleveland for the Whole Family

3Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s adorable polar bears (Source)

Like the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is also one of the unique oceanariums you need to see in Ohio. As its name suggests, this aquarium is connected to a zoo. Hence, you can get to see both land and sea animals such as stingrays, camels, polar bears, and more.

What makes it all the more worth seeing is that it houses manatees, which are a major part of the site’s aquarium. But that’s not it. The attraction is one of the very few establishments that works with the US Fish and Wildlife Service that helps rehabilitate the lovable sea cows to help them return to their natural habitat in Florida. And the best part of it is that you can get to say hello to them face to face.

Another unique thing to love about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is that they can make anyone’s birthday all the more special. Aside from opening its doors to those who want to have a unique birthday celebration inside the zoo and aquarium, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also offers personalized video messages from some of the animals that it houses. You can get greetings from a cheetah, gorilla, elephant, kangaroo, manatee, sloth, and even a penguin. And even if it’s not your birthday, for as low as $40, you can also ask for a personalized video message from them. No matter what the occasion is, this zoo-aquarium will always have something to cheer you up.

4Toledo Zoo

Toledo Zoo’s garden (Source)

You might wonder what a zoo is doing on this list. But apparently, like the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, this place also has an aquarium. Here, you can get to know more than 700 species of both land and sea creatures. Plus, they are all in exhibits with beautiful setting. Like the dry land exhibits, tanks also boasts of striking dramatic landscape and calming colors that make each visit all the more enjoyable to the eyes.

But Toledo Zoo isn’t just about entertaining its visitors. The site also holds various events where everyone in the family can learn as they have fun. One of the shows that you need to watch out for is the site’s educational dive show where everyone can learn more about marine biology in a very entertaining way. The zoo also offers interactive opportunities such as touch tanks where visitors of all ages will enjoy.

On top of that, you can participate in different events that the zoo holds. Just this August, the zoo held a Dart Frog Dash event, a fun run where kids and adults can join.

What probably sets this site apart more from the other zoos and aquariums is that it boasts of a beautiful Instagramable garden. But it’s not your ordinary garden that is only for the eyes and for your Instagram feed. This place also leaves a room for learning. Here, tours are also offered. Lead by the zoo’s horticulture staff members, you can also get to learn more about the plants in the garden. You can even gain more growing tips, best watering practices, and more, which makes it a nice place for those who want to start a gardening project at home.

5Akron Zoo

Akron Zoo’s vets caring for a cute cub (Source)

Akron Zoo is actually largely a land animal facility. But hear us out first. Apparently, it has a small aquarium that houses interesting fish that you need to see, such as the brownbanded bamboo shark, electric ells, walking batfish, and a chain dogfish. In addition to that, the zoo houses adorable penguins.

Aside from the fascinating and adorable animals that it houses, another thing that makes the zoo worth the visit is the unique experiences that they offer. One of which is the behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo’s selected exhibit areas like the penguin building, lion building, komodo building, and more. Here, you can get to have a look at how the animal keepers do their daily duties of preparing diets and enrichment for the animals, as well as cleaning. You can even get to ask the keepers and the tour guide all your curious questions about the animals and even about their tasks in caring for the animals. Through this, everyone in the family will surely get to learn more about caring for the animals.

And if such unique experience isn’t enough, you can even get to experience what it’s like to be a keeper for a day. Through this, you can learn all the aspects of being a keeper of wild animals. You may also help make diets for the animas, clean the exhibits, or just follow the keeper all day and ask all of the questions you’ve always wondered about.

The zoo also offers experience where you can become a zoo veterinarian for a day. You won’t be giving them medicine or performing other crucial medical care. Instead, you will spend some time with the zoo’s veterinarian as they perform check-ups and other medical care that the animals need. So you don’t have to worry if you’re not a licensed vet. Through this, you can get an opportunity to learn more about medical care for the zoo animals of all kinds.

The zoo also lets you experience what it’s like to be a trainer for a day. Aside from getting closer to the animals, you can also have a chance to join the zoo’s education staff as they work together with the animal ambassadors. You may even get to see how they learn tricks.

6Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Flowers in full bloom at Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden (Source)

Like the other zoos and aquariums, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden also houses interesting adorable animals such as white polar bears, manatees, snapping turtles, alligators, and more. But what makes this place all the more worth the visit is that it isn’t just a zoo with an aquarium. It also has a nice botanical garden to offer.

Surrounded by fluttering butterflies, you will surely enjoy the zoo’s colorful garden featuring rainbows of blooms that are surely Instagram worthy. Apart from that, you can also get to enjoy various events that only happens at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical garden. One of which is witnessing the region’s largets tulip display around the middle of April. In addition to that, you can also get to see hundreds of trees and shrubs in full regalia. Magnolias, crabapples, cherries, viburnums, serviceberries, as well as other bulbs and loads of perennials can be seen here too during spring.

On top of that, the zoo boasts of some stunning water displays that kids will love. You and your whole fam can also hop aboard a scenic train ride through the zoo’s grounds for a relaxing tour around the site. Kids and even kids at heart will certainly enjoy the old-fashioned carousel as well. And if that’s not enough, you can also get a chance to enjoy an impressive 4-D movie experience.

7Newport Aquarium

Young visitors making friends with Newport Aquarium’s mermaid (Source)

Newport Aquarium is actually located in Newport, Kentucky, not in Ohio. Hence, you might be wondering what it is doing on this list. However, this aquarium actually sights just right over the border of Ohio, making it hard not to miss when you’re in Ohio too. And that makes it hard to exclude it on this list.

Here, aside from seeing the animals on exhibit, you can get to interact with them more compared to most of the zoos and aquarium. In fact, it is known as one of the most interactive aquariums around. You can even get to have a one-on-one experience with the penguins that Newport Aquarium houses, making the kids’ visit all the more memorable and fun.

On top of that, the aquarium holds several shows that will certainly entertain visitors of all ages. One of the most sought after shows is the aquarium’s mermaid show. You won’t be seeing real mermaids, though. Rather, you will see the aquarium’s staff donning mermaid costumes floating through the tanks that will mesmerize imaginative young visitors.

Of course, the aquarium isn’t just about fun. There are also rooms for learning at the Newport Aquarium Apparently, the site also offers different tours and experiences where kids and even adults can gain more knowledge about the animals that it houses, as well as their habitats. One of the must-try experiences that the aquarium offers is the Shark Talk. In this experience, everyone in the family can get to learn more truths behind some of the myths that plagued sharks. It’s one of the interesting experiences you shouldn’t miss.

There is still a lot of oceanariums and attractions that you need to see in Ohio. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. And if you want to explore more of them, it is highly recommended that you spend a night or more in Ohio to maximize your visit. If you plan to do so, we got your back. Take a look at the unique hotels that you might want to try out.

Unique Hotels in Ohio

Ohio sure has a lot of attractions to offer. In fact, a day won’t suffice if you plan to visit a number of aquariums and other attractions in the state. But don’t worry, Ohio has a good deal of hotels that will make your vacation worth every penny. Take a look at some of them.

Old Vermilion Jailhouse Bed and Breakfast

A look inside Old Vermilion Jailhouse Bed and Breakfast (Source)

Have you ever spend a night at a jailhouse? If you want to try it out, book a night at The Old Vermilion Jailhouse Bed and Breakfast. The Old Vermilion Jailhouse Bed and Breakfast was actually Vermont’s police department. Until in 2003, a local engineer named Markos Paradissis bought it and turned it into an upscale bed and breakfast that you can rent. The place still has its original metal bar doors intact which gives the site some unique vibes. On top of that, the place comes with striped shirts and plastic handcuffs that will make your stay even more unique.

Ravenwood Castle

ravenwood castle ohio
Ravenwood Castle’s Great Hall where you can dine (Source)

Modeled after a 12th-century British fortress, Ravenwood Castle will surely make you feel like you’re in the medieval age. But the only difference is that you can get to enjoy luxurious suites. In fact, Ravenwood Castle’s suites are so luxurious and perfectly-themed that many couples also choose it for their wedding preparation and even honeymoon. It also has a nice ambiance and several amenities that will definitely make your stay more relaxing after a long day of exploring the various aquariums in Ohio.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Why Ravenwood Castle Should be in our Travel Itinerary Plus More Things to Take Note of Before and During Your Stay

Gervasi Vineyard

Beautiful Tuscany-style villas where you can spend the night at the Gervasi Vineyard (Source)

Another unique place to spend the night in is Gervasi Vineyard. Aside from its luxurious rooms and amenities that will make you want to stay forever, the whole place will also make you feel as if you’re not in Ohio. With its exterior and interior giving off some Napa Valley or Tuscany vibe, you might even forget where you actually are.

21c Museum Hotel

A peek inside the beautiful 21c Museum Hotel (Source)

Just by looking at its name, you’ll know that the 21c Museum Hotel is yet another unique accommodation in Ohio that you shouldn’t miss. Aside from the nice comfortable rooms that will provide you a good place to spend the night, which makes this place all the more worth visiting is that it doubles as an art museum too. Here, you may also enjoy the beautiful works from 21st-century artists that the hotel features. And the best part of it is that the place offers docent-led tours for free. It’s not just a hotel that will give you a good night’s sleep but it will also inspire you with the stunning pieces of artwork that it features.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Inside one of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s accommodations (Source)

Yes, you read it right. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium isn’t just a menagerie. Apparently, it also offers good accommodation. And we’re not just talking about a generic hotel look here. At Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s hotel, you can get to enjoy a luxury camping experience. And the best part of it is that you won’t have to worry about your time exploring the zoo because your accommodation is just a stone throw away.

Ohio is such a unique place to be as it’s not just for couples and/or soloists who are looking for a unique travel experience. The state also has a good amount of attractions that are perfect for the whole family like te aquariums scattered around the state. each of them has different experiences, as well as sights, to offer. It’s truly a vacation spot that you don’t want to miss with your loved ones.


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