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“Really small and expensive”
Review of Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium
Book In Advance
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USD 49.95*
and up
Houston City Tour and Admission to Downtown...
Ranked #72 of 332 things to do in Houston
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Houston's Aquarium features sea life from around the world.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

We decided to stop here during our short trip to Houston. The entry for all events was $21 - most of the Park was closed and the aquarium took 20 mins to walk through. The Ferris wheel was ok as was the shark ride, but would have been better to get out of the train to see the sharks more closely. The tigers looked depressed and it was unclear why they were at an aquarium. Feeding the stingrays was nice, but was odd to see an advertisement for seafood at the exit as we were in a place that is supposed to care for sea life. It was an overpriced tourist trap. I’d avoid it.

5  Thank Jeremy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"ferris wheel"
in 177 reviews
"train ride"
in 200 reviews
"shark tank"
in 93 reviews
"day pass"
in 88 reviews
"nice aquarium"
in 42 reviews
"aquatic life"
in 32 reviews
"feed the stingrays"
in 32 reviews
"small amusement park"
in 26 reviews
"unlimited rides"
in 23 reviews
"carnival games"
in 21 reviews
"houston city pass"
in 31 reviews
"reef"
in 42 reviews
"fishes"
in 46 reviews
"petting"
in 53 reviews
"tunnel"
in 48 reviews
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74 - 78 of 2,189 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2018

Went to this "aquarium" around spring break in the middle of March 2018 with family. You pay around $14 with tax to tour a less than 15-minute aquarium "experience," but not before paying about $7.50 to park, which is simply just not worth it.

First off, you're likely to find yourself in a way too crowded situation, even if you happen to go on the least busiest day of the year due to narrow hallways and tiny exhibits. At best it feels like one of those glorified attraction lines like you would see at Disney Word's Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida where the line to leading to the actual attraction itself is an attraction to keep you amused and entertained while you wait to get on a rollercoaster or thrill ride, but unfortunately, the actual attraction at the end of this aquarium's "line" leads to the gift shop, which isn't a side visit, it's MANDATORY if you want to exit the aquarium because this sorry facility is physically designed to nickel and dime you as much as possible.

The way they get you is the real-life equivalent of videogame microtransactions, you buy the base $14 package but you don't get the full experience unless you shell out extra money for things like the stingray exhibit, the train ride, ferris wheel, the "lighthouse dive" which is a rise and fall outdoor attraction, carousel ,and most importantly, the RESTAURANT.

Yes, the restaurant is the second half of the aquarium, located a floor above the first half, which houses the largest tank in the facility with the best and biggest fish including a few sharks, but you can't freely go and see it. You would need to wait about 30 minutes to an hour to get a table where you're expected to empty your wallet on the premise that the additional "experience" justifies the slightly-inflated prices of the food.

The whole adventure is half-baked, so much so that they sacrifice fish tank space to make room for reptiles, insects, frogs, and snakes, which are known to be far easier to maintain than fish tanks. It saves them money while trying to supplant "passable amusement" to the consumers, who come and pay to see exotic fish, not a miniature zoo.

What? Tigers at an aquarium? Really? Truth be told, one of the largest tanks on the first floor, which should house a flourishing medley of marine life, is allocated to a couple of tigers as a so-called "sanctuary" (the Houston Aquarium's sugar-coated play on words). This "sanctuary" is more of a prison than anything as the exhibit is exclusively an indoor artificial enclosure, meaning no ample cardio exercise space, no sunbathing, and minimal grass and dirt. Half of their time they are displayed for the public and the other half of their time is spent in a 10x10 concrete jail cell. Even human prisoners a treated better as they actually get to go outside and exercise.

The only ones who will enjoy this place are kids with innocent minds, kids who've never been to a real aquarium before, and the kid whose happiness and excitement is easily sated by large animals without yet understanding or caring whether or not the animals themselves are happy.

And the aquarium is betting on those very kids in order to make revenue at the expense and gullibility of the accompanying adult. But at least the children have fun right? That's all that matters isn't it? No, you're just fueling bad business practices.

tl;dr: Nothing special here, cashgrab.

5  Thank Fernando M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

This aquarium was a pretty good one. It had a bit of everything, even though it is smaller. The sting ray part was good for the kids. The train ride was neat. We had the city pass but upgraded for $5 each to get the whole experience. The place seemed clean and well maintained. The restaurant was decent but very noisy - screaming toddlers!!!

Thank 4familytravels4fun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018

I accompanied my daughter on her first grade field trip so it was our first time visiting. My daughter's favorite part was petting and feeding the stingrays. The amusement park outside was decent with a carousel, ferris wheel, train and no gravity drop ride. The concession stand outside had a very limited menu of pretzels, drinks and chips...no nachos or hot dogs, not sure why but there were a lot of upset parents. We received the discounted ticket price as a school but I don't think I would pay full price to take my entire family. Daughter had a great time so that's what is important.

Thank Amy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 April 2018 via mobile

Sorry to start like that, but it's not worth the money nor the time... if you went to Houston zoo, it's more then enough, if you have a city Pass , go there to pass the time. The exhibits are nice and easy to see but it is a small place and you are done in an hour top. And it is a rip off! You want to see sharks? Pay extra, you want to feed sting ray? Pay extra. Want to ride any of the rides? Pay extra... lucky they didn't charged me to see the tiger... ( they have some...) Sorry for those guys... only if you have city pass, do it. If not - don't!

5  Thank kobi s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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