Plan Your Day at the Long Island Aquarium | 🐠What to Do [Hours, Info, Tips, Data, Guide]


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Rob Marchese | City guides Blogs| tags |

Are you planning to visit or relocate to the Riverhead town of Long Island, New York? If so, one of the must-see destinations is the remarkable Long Island Aquarium. This is one of the best aquariums on Long Island due to its extensive size, world-renowned displays, and quality education programs. Whether you’re diving with the sharks, feeding the stingrays, enjoying a boat ride, or observing the massive coral displays, the Long Island Aquarium is the perfect place to take the family!

This complete guide to visiting the Long Island Aquarium and exhibition center covers absolutely everything you want to know!

Long Island Aquarium General Information

The history of the Long Island Aquarium began in 1995 when the Town of Riverhead purchased the land with the intention of it becoming a rehabilitation project via the Okeanos Foundation of Hampton Bays. As the co-owners and founders of the Long Island Aquarium, the developers James J. Bissett and Joseph M. Petrocelli provided the aquarium’s original cost of $15 million. The facility’s construction took off in the spring of 1999 and was formerly known as Atlantis Marine World up to 2011. Nonetheless, the original facility of The Long Island Aquarium officially opened in the summer of 2000 and is New York’s first large-scale aquarium in nearly 40 years.

Today, the incredibly enthralling Long Island Aquarium expands over 3.2 acres and is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks (IMMPA) & Aquariums, and IMATA. There are over 5,000 individual animals at the Long Island Aquarium representing around 565 species.

Long Island Aquarium has seen millions of visitors in the last two decades, hundreds of thousands each year, and is recognized for several notable accomplishments. One of which is the all-living Coral Reef display at Long Island Aquarium– one of the largest in the entire Western hemisphere. The Long Island Aquarium also holds more than one million gallons of water and is home to one of the largest living insect exhibitions in the nation.

The Long Island Aquarium and exhibition center has even been featured on numerous TV shows such as The Apprentice, Tanked, Sesame Street, and Project Runway Allstars. It’s no secret why Parents Magazine listed the Long Island Aquarium in the top 10 Interactive Aquariums.

Long Island Aquarium Address, Hours, & Directions

Where is Long Island Aquarium and when is it open? Here’s everything you need to know:

The Long Island Aquarium is nestled along the scenic Peconic River in Riverhead. As one of the most fun places to go in Riverhead and the rest of Long Island, The Long Island Aquarium houses an arcade, a bug exhibit, a waterfront, sea lion shows, a marine rescue center, a gift shop, and numerous ethical mammal habitats.

To help you get a feel of the facility’s layout, here’s a map of all the exciting amenities the Long Island Aquarium has to offer:

Regarding the directions to the Long Island Aquarium, once you get on Peconic Avenue, drive to Main Street and take a right. The aquarium is situated at 431 East Main Street on the south side. There will be signs to follow for parking. While there is no dedicated parking lot at Long Island Aquarium, the facility’s parking is part of the Riverhead Parking District. This accounts for free 3-hour municipal parking. There is also a paid parking lot on Ostrander Avenue which has a fee of $12 per vehicle. Additionally, there is an abundance of handicap within the lots around Main Street. The rest of the Aquarium is also fully accessible to visitors with disabilities.

Tickets, Pricing, & Membership

Like any fun day trip, it’s a good idea to know what the costs are before announcing it to the family. Let’s take a look at what to expect for pricing at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center.

How much does the Long Island Aquarium Cost?

The General admission is $42.99 for adults, $31.99 for seniors, $29.99 for children up to 12, and Long Island Aquarium free admission for kids under three years old. Long Island Aquarium and exhibition center tickets are sold online or in person.

You can join the Long Island Aquarium membership to receive free unlimited admission and several 10% discounts at the cafe, gift shop, and select events. Here’s a rundown of membership costs for a single-family:

Additional memberships are available for college students, individuals, seniors, couples, single parents, and grandparents. There are also group sales available here.

What to See & Do at Long Island Aquarium Riverhead – Exhibits & Activities

There are over 100 indoor and outdoor exhibits at Long Island Aquarium and 48 aquatic habitats. The most notable exhibits at the Long Island Aquarium include:

The Coral Reef Display | One of the Top Attractions at the Long Island Aquarium

With over 20,000 gallons of ocean water from Shinnecock Bay, this is one of the largest coral reef displays in the Americas. It features vibrant coral, over 800 types of fish, and a diverse mix of marine life.

Indoor exhibits at Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center

The facility houses dozens of indoor exhibits you and your family will love! A few of them are:

  • Amazon Rainforest
  • Amphibian Alley
  • Critter Corner (snakes)
  • Jellyfish Habitat
  • Seahorses
  • Ray Bay
  • Touch Tank
  • Turtle Bay

Outdoor exhibits at Long Island Aquarium

A few of the most popular exhibits that take place outside include:

  • Ancient Reptile Ruins
  • Creatures of the Night
  • Penguin Pavilion
  • Sea Lion Coliseum

Interactive exhibits at Long Island Aquarium

When you want to feel more included, there are plenty of Long Island Aquarium interactive activities and exhibits to choose from! Check them out below:

  • Watch the incredible Long Island Aquarium sea lion show
    • This is yet another one of the aquarium’s most famed attractions. With a combination of professional trainers and talented sea lions, this show lets you view all their cool tricks right in front of you!
  • Swim with sharks at the Long Island Aquarium via the Shark Dive
    • Get up close and personal with sharks inside the 120,000-gallon Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit.
  • Swim with the mermaid at the Long Island Aquarium
    • For people of all ages, you can enjoy the magical experience of swimming with a real live mermaid in the Shark Reef Lagoon!
  • Interactive Touch Tank
    • This is the perfect opportunity for children and adults to have a feel for the clams, sea stars, hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, and whelks.
  • Atlantis Explorer Tour Boat – Long Island Aquarium
    • This adventure and educational boat tour floats you from the scenic Peconic River to the lovely Flanders Bay.
  • Bug Encounter
    • If you or your child isn’t afraid of critters, this interactive bug encounter allows you to handle and learn about bugs from all over the world.

Dining and Shopping at Long Island Aquarium

You don’t have to worry about going hungry while visiting the aquarium. The Atlantic Cafe in the Long Island Aquarium is the place to go when you’re in need of caffeine. Additionally, you can have group lunches in The Riverfront Room, Riverside Pavilion, and outdoor patio. Your group can receive a discount when you pre-order lunches or ice cream. The Seaside Grill is another great food option that offers a delicious lunch and dinner.

The two gift shops on the aquarium’s premises are the City Treasures Gift Shop which is adjacent to the Main Entrance, and the Enchanted Gifts gift shop within the Butterflies, Bugs & Birds lobby.

Long Island Aquarium Events

A few of the most popular events at the Long Island Aquarium include, but are not limited to:

Fish and Sips at Long Island Aquarium

This fun event is perfect for adults! You’ll get to taste over 20 local wineries and craft beer vendors while enjoying live music, hors d’oeuvres, and great aquatic views from the aquarium.

Long Island Aquarium’s Fishes and Wishes New Year’s Eve Party

If you’re looking for a family-style event to take the whole family, the Fishes & Wishes New Year’s Eve Party is right up your alley! It features a cocktail hour, a DJ, animal encounters, a buffet dinner, crafts, dessert and ice cream bar, and a midnight toast for when the Times Square Ball Drop hits rock bottom!

Planning for Your Visit to the Long Island Aquarium

Here are some planning tips to get the most out of your day at the Riverhead aquarium.

  • Check out the daily events schedule prior to your arrival to ensure you don’t miss out on fun events!
  • It takes about 3 to 5 hours to see everything at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center.
  • Avoid bringing too much or packing heavy– the aquarium does not offer storage for your belongings.
  • Don’t like the massive crowds? The least busy times to visit the Long Island Aquarium are on weekdays after 1:00 pm during the school year.
  • It’s recommended to make reservations to the interactive exhibits prior to arrival. This will prevent you from potentially missing out on the fun due to the exhibit being packed full.
  • Call (934)-451-8024 to plan the ultimate birthday party at the Long Island Aquarium. You can even plan a Long Island Aquarium wedding!

If you are researching aquariums on Long Island because you are moving to the area, Zippboxx is here to give you a smooth and stress-free relocation. For the best moving services on Long Island, reach out to us today at 631-600-0000 or fill out the “Request a Quote” form on this page!


Rob Marchese
about the author, Rob Marchese
Rob Marchese is one of the founders of Zippboxx Moving and Storage. Since the start of the company it's been Rob's mission to change the way the moving industry is perceived.  The number one goal is to make the moving and storage process as stress free as possible for each and every customer. "The way we do this is by honesty, transparency, and providing a high quality of service."
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