When I was a kid I went through the ‘I want to be a marine biologist’ phase. Someone once told me, “You are who you are when you were seven,” so you can imagine I’d be like a kid in a candy store at the Long Island Aquarium [431 East Main Street Riverhead NY 11901]. It’s a large and diverse space with so much to see, plan on spending a few hours. In the fish department there is a lot going on! So many fantastic colors, variety (the cowfish is always my favorite), and if seeing everything from behind the glass isn’t quite enough…sign up for a shark dive!
For something interactive, but a bit less extreme, try out petting a ray in the touch tank.
Slimy, yet satisfying. The fish inside are fantastic. Actually, there are more outside. Check out the koi pond and all of the beautiful sights in the fresh air.
In a wonderfully exciting moment, saw my first penguins here! What magical silly creatures.
If you are a serious penguin lover you can get up close and personal by booking a penguin encounter. Make sure to catch a sea lion show, those guys are always a great time.
There are more aquatic creatures and a few random surprises. Sure you have alligators and otters, but also some monkeys and lizards!
If you read the informational signs around the grounds you may find one stating that there are native lizards in New York. When I visited last summer, I had just seen my first five lined skink in the wild on a hike. One last stop at the aquarium for not so aquatic creatures, but something I was super eager for: the butterfly room!
I love these places where the butterflies fly free and you are engaged in an I Spy hunt to find them all. There are tons of butterflies with brilliant colors and patterns.
Also, a few birds, bugs, and exhibits.
It was really a top notch experience. If you are hungry after all of this fun and looking for a nearby dinner spot, look no further than right next door! Jerry & the Mermaid [469 E Main St Riverhead, NY 11901] keeps with the theme of the day, right next to the water serving up really fresh…seafood. I got the pignoli nut crusted grouper and Jeff went for the local mako with tomatoes, roasted peppers, and a mozzarella crust.Couldn’t think of a better ending to the day!