The Mississippi Aquarium is a superb new attraction in Gulfport. The focus is on local waters and their animals. Kids will love touching sea stars and rays in the touch pool. Couples will enjoy walking through the center tunnel and looking for Banner, the sea turtle. The sea otters' antics will amuse the whole family. If you're staying in one of the hotels near the Mississippi Aquarium, you won't want to miss it!
The Mississippi Aquarium creates a wonderful atmosphere to connect with your favorite sea animals. The aquarium opened its doors in 2020. The facilities are modern and crafted to represent different local habitats.
The unique and engaging aquarium design leads visitors to the third floor, where visitors can view majestic rays swimming in the saltwater habitat. Guests are invited to explore the touch tanks filled with anemones, sea urchins, crabs, starfish, and young rays.
From the third level, visitors can take a ramp that slowly spirals downward. This ramp lets visitors immerse themselves in the fascinating swirl tank. Ten thousand tiny pilchards swim in a circular motion, while larger fish swim the opposite way.
Next, visitors can check out the mid-level transparent tunnel. This is a one-of-a-kind feature--fish swim underneath and to the sides, while above, the touch tank creatures crawl along. Visitors will be entranced as sharks, rays, eels, and grouper glide, swoosh, and lurk from all around them. It's as close as you can get to a diving adventure without getting wet.
One of the big stars of the tunnel is Banner, a rescued green sea turtle. Banner was hit by a boat propeller and rescued. He's now living his best life at the aquarium, soaring and swimming through the aquarium while delighting guests.
Finally, the main gallery gives guests a panoramic look at the gorgeous aquarium.
For a more immersive experience, check out SeaTrek. Even non-swimmers and non-divers can enjoy this in-the-water adventure. Visitors will wear a wetsuit and a special weighted helmet. This helmet provides a continuous supply of air and keeps visitor's heads dry. Participants will stand on a ledge and enjoy seeing fish, sharks, and rays inside the aquarium walls.
Outside attractions include dolphins, crocodiles, alligators, otters, and an aviary.
Dolphins have an outdoor pool where visitors can watch them swim and play. The sea otters are the stars of the outside area. They are playful and exuberant; visitors of all ages will be captivated. The outdoor area also features an aviary, where visitors can discuss current events with original tweeters.
Presentations are held throughout the day. In "Close Encounters of the Aquatic Kind," visitors will learn fun facts about the different creatures living at the aquarium. In the "Aviary Chat and Feed," visitors can learn how birds eat and watch an exciting demonstration.
Don't miss the "Educational Dolphin Presentation" where you can learn about these beautiful mammals. In "Croc Talk," visitors can learn the essential and distinctive differences between these two species. Watch a training session and learn more about otters and their habitats in "Otter Chat."
Whether you are a local or staying in one of the hotels near Gulfport Aquarium, you'll love learning more about Mississippi's habitats and creatures. And if you're looking for even more up-close-and-person fun with sea critters, check out the Ocean Adventures Marine Park in Gulfport.