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Staff Picks

By working with our animals everyday, the staff at the Aquarium of Niagara can offer a unique perspective on our exhibits.

Take a minute to learn what we think is worth giving a second (or third) look.

a bird sitting on a rock

Penguin Coast

“I would go interact with Jules and Smitty!” – Samantha D.

Did you know the Aquarium welcomed our first penguin chicks in 14 years in April 2020? These young penguins are very playful and curious. Use your hand, a glove, a pamphlet, or other colorful item and wave it near them. They may just come over to play!

Located on the first floor.

jules and smitty-1


“Stop by the cichlid exhibit to watch them dig their tunnels and chase others out of their territory.” – Samantha D.

There are so many different colors and patterns on the fish that live in this exhibit! Pick one and watch it interact with the other fish. Can you make out the different behaviors these fish display? Look for babies! Cichlids are prolific breeders and there are often fry in the exhibit.

Located on the first floor.


Coral Reef

“So many different species co-inhabit the coral reef exhibit and are able to live in harmony… most of the time.” -Alyssa S.

There are 21 different species of coral in this exhibit! Can you count them all? In just a few minutes at this exhibit you can see a lot about life in a coral reef!  Watch as the corals retract their tentacles; see changes in water flow; spy the fish hiding in the coral; and discern various kinds of algae.

Located on the first floor.

underwater view of a coral


“My answer is and always will be the lionfish! They present a lot of topics that aren’t necessarily highlighted all of the time.” – Marissa B.

These beautiful fish are also dangerous! Identify their venomous spines and large mouths that enable them to be a highly invasive species. Look for changes in their fin display to ward off threats, and consider how they are able to float at one level in the water when humans either float or sink.

Located on the first floor.

a close up of a fish

Florida Softshell Turtle

“I would definitely go to the Florida softshell. She is super cute when she sticks her eyes and nose out of the water and looks at you.” – Alexandra L.

This turtle is a fascinating animal to watch! You may see her swimming and foraging through the sand, using her snorkel nose to breathe while the rest of her remains submerged, or sleeping on a rock with her head pulled in as far as she can get it in!

Located on the second floor.

a close up of an animal

Blind Cave Fish

“My favorite place to visit is the cave fish… their story is so unique!” – Lakeema I.

Look closely at these fish and you’ll see the empty sockets where their eyes would be! This species has evolved to thrive in their dark environment, and are often studied by evolution scientists as powerful subjects! See if you can make out the extra sensitive lateral line they have running from behind their eye socket to the base of their tail.

Located on the second floor.

a close up of a fish

Upside Down Jellyfish

“I usually check out this ‘garden’ of jellies that defy what people know about these animals.” – Katherine J.

This species has oral arms with photosynthetic tissue. You can identify these arms because they are a darker color and stick up above the other tentacles. You may even see some jellies laying on the wall or see some small fish, called blennies, hiding among the rocks.

Located on the second floor.