1 Whitehead Street
Key West, Florida 33040
Key West Aquarium
There’s a host of interactive attractions that will keep kids entertained just as much as parents.
You’ll meet moray eels, barracuda, grouper, tropical fish, conch and sea cucumbers with narration by the aquarium’s expert guides. For families with animal-loving kids, this is a must-do.
The Key West Aquarium was a dream of Dr. Van Deusen, a director of the Fairmount Park Aquarium in Philadelphia. It began construction during the Great Depression in 1933 as part of the Works Progress Administration Program which helped to build many of the historic Key West Attractions that inhabit the island today. This provided many jobs to local Key Westers or “Conchs” as they are called today during this hard financial time where jobs were limited and people were in need of income to support their families. The concrete that was used to form the aquarium structure and holding tanks was mixed with sea water from the ocean since fresh water was hard to come by in those days.
Some believe it was more popular than when it opened in 1935. In the 1960s the roof was added to the once open air aquarium to cut down on algae in the exhibits. More modern methods of illuminating the tanks were slowly being developed and with it came the end of the open air aquarium. Today the Aquarium stands as one of the top Key West Florida Attractions and is home to sharks, turtles, stingrays, tropical and other various fish found in the beautiful waters of Key West. It is actively involved in conservation of the delicate eco-system of the Florida Keys.