Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Our Story

Our Mission

With our community and partners, we celebrate our natural wonders and inspire people to make a difference for aquatic life.


Our Vision

To be a destination of choice where all are welcome and motivated to join as a driving force for aquatic life.


Core Values

Core values are the soul of an organization – these qualities that reflect how the organization treats its entire “family” and community; words that express how they wish to be thought of. Core values are traits that the team will commit to living throughout their work life. 

Passion: Our passion for our work keeps us going; it drives us to become even better, exceeding expectations every day.

Transparency: To us, transparency means that all of us share an understanding of our decisions and our actions. We value the trust our organization has placed in us and respect the confidence.

Empathy: Empathy helps us understand others’ feelings and emotions. It helps us embrace another’s point of view no matter how different our backgrounds or our culture, building stronger bonds and leading to better problem solving.

Diversity: We not only recognize our differences, we value them. We’re building a culture of inclusion and believe that our diversity makes us stronger and better.

Collaboration: Collaboration adds value to our work; by working together, we learn from each other and build on our strengths. True collaboration means negotiating, compromising, and most of all valuing another’s point of view.

Our Story

Located in downtown Niagara Falls, NY, the Aquarium of Niagara is less than a mile away from a wonder and is the only aquatic museum within 250 miles in the United States. The Aquarium is home to more than 120 species of animals including rescued/non-releasable marine mammals, penguins, and more than 1,200 fish and invertebrates. Through its living collection and educational programming, the Aquarium serves the community as a nexus for learning through exploration, a cultural destination, and a tourist attraction.

Founded by a small group of chemists and scientists in 1965 as a privately-owned organization, the Aquarium served as an important test site for a new, artificial seawater formula. This technology would become crucial to the success of inland aquariums, which had traditionally transported seawater directly from the nearest ocean. That practice was expensive and inefficient, and the new formula, known as Instant Ocean, would prove to be revolutionary. It is now used at most inland aquariums around the world.

After more than a decade of operating as a for-profit institution, ownership of the Aquarium was transferred to the Sea Research Foundation, a nonprofit, in 1977, and again then to the Niagara Aquarium Foundation in 1994. The Aquarium currently operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and revenue generated from admission and paid programming goes directly back into the care of the animal collection.

In recent years, the Aquarium has made significant improvements to both the facility and its operations. By implementing stringent industry standards and best practices, the Aquarium earned accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2018. This recognition is considered the gold standard of the industry, and accredited institutions are known for providing the highest quality of animal care among zoological facilities.

The Aquarium has also made important strides in its efforts to improve the guest experience, adding exhibits that support the organization’s mission while keeping visitors engaged and intrigued. Since 2018, the Aquarium has invested more than $10 million in capital improvements that can be seen at Penguin Coast, the Aliens of the Sea jellyfish exhibit, and the shark and stingray touch pool, M&T Bank Shark & Ray Bay.

To complement the exhibits, the Aquarium offers a variety of daily scheduled programming. These presentations create opportunities for inspiration through discovery and deliver important conservation messages to more than 200,000 visitors annually.

The Aquarium also serves as the only provider of interactive educational programs and
experiences that feature marine life and aquatic ecosystems in the region. Through the Aquarium’s field trip and outreach programs, the education team delivers hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, English, Math) related experiences to more than 200 groups every year.