The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is a newly-opened 120,000 square foot aquarium and educational facility featuring some of our most favorite creatures from the ocean and local rivers. The development of the aquarium was led by St. Louis’s own Lodging Hospitality Management, and in late 2017 construction of the facility was awarded to the California-based McCarthy Building Company. A highly-anticipated addition to the Downtown St. Louis experience, the aquarium officially opened to the public on Christmas Day in 2019.
St. Louis Aquarium Foundation Mission
With more than 13,000 animals spanning 44 exhibits, the aquarium is a perfect place to unwind, learn, and enjoy nature. The aquarium’s mission is to “connect all people with aquatic life through transformative, immersive experiences, building a community that cares and acts to protect water and the life it sustains”. The aquarium inspires our youth through educational programs and offers STEM-based resources to local teachers and their students.
Located in the aquarium entryway, this stunning clock display is home to many freshwater discus fishes.
The St. Louis Aquarium Foundation, a non-profit partner to the Aquarium, strives to connect the public with our waterways and serves as a steward for water conservation. The foundation’s core initiatives are to provide access and free admission to 25,000 undeserved youth annually, to deliver STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based educational programs to teachers and students, to promote water conservation, and to engage the community through volunteer opportunities.
Guest Experience Associates & Interactive Displays
Throughout the aquarium visitors will find interactive and informational displays in addition to cheerful employees eager to share their knowledge. Through these resources, the aquarium hopes to instill the importance of preserving our water and aquatic life to our community and its visitors.
An aquarium employee describes yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders to a group of visitors.
A red-eared slider leads the bale towards the interactive feeding station.
What is Union Station?
St. Louis Union Station is a decommissioned train station that was operational from 1894-1978. At its opening, Union Station was the largest train station in the world, serving as many as 100,000 travelers per day during its peak years in the 1940s. The 1950s would introduce air travel, driving the railroad industry towards bankruptcy. With the demand for passenger train travel sharply declining, the last train left Union Station in 1978.
Developers renovated Union Station into a hotel and bustling shopping district in the 1980s. After a brief decline in the early 2000s, Union Station was once again reinvented into a multi-purpose entertainment complex. Today, Union Station aims to balance the modern world with the nostalgia of the past by preserving its elegant architectural features and highlighting early 1900s themes in its newer establishments.
The United States Government officially recognized Union Station as a National Historic Landmark in 1970, preserving its legacy as a titan in American railroad history.
A vivid laser light show sparks the imagination of visitors as they enter the aquarium.
St. Louis Aquarium Galleries
The aquarium offers six specific viewing galleries featuring different animals from our rivers and oceans:
- Confluence Gallery
- Global Rivers
- Changing Rivers
- Ocean Shore
- Shark Canyon
- The Deep
Below are images from a few of the aquarium’s exhibits.