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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 Entrance


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.

St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station Entrance Clock Aquarium

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.

Large format wall display Informational mural about ecosystemsAquarium Guest Services Associate

An aquarium employee describes yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders to a group of visitors.

St. Louis Aquarium Turtles

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.

St. Louis Aquarium Entrance

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.

Shark Canyon Gallery

at St. Louis Aquarium

A 250,000 gallon habitat home to Lesser Devil Rays, Zebra Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, and its newest resident, Tsunami the Sea Turtle.

St. Louis Aquarium Shark Canyon

The largest viewing gallery at the St. Louis Aquarium is located inside Shark Canyon. Shark Canyon is a 250,000 gallon marine aquarium home to many different species of fish, various sharks and rays, and the aquarium’s newest member, Tsunami the Sea Turtle. I last visited the aquarium just a few days prior to Tsunami’s arrival, so I will look forward to seeing him on my next visit.

In 2017, Tsunami was tragically struck by a boat in his native habitat along the Atlantic coast. Tsunami was treated at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and after much rehabilitation, he will make his new home in Shark Canyon.

Learn more about rescue turtle Tsunami: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsLCOmCkPZ0

Explore the Deep

Mythical and Mysterious

Take a dive into the deep ocean to be mesmerized by Jellyfish, Leafy Sea Dragons and more.

The deep sea exhibit at any aquarium is usually one of my most favorites. Dark and full of wonder, the deep sea exhibit features various anemones, the popular Moon Jellyfish, Sea Nettles, Leafy Sea Dragons and more.

More images of the St. Louis Aquarium exhibits

St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station Entrance

Conclusion

 

The St. Louis Aquarium is an enriching, fantastic addition to the Downtown St. Louis experience. Though smaller than larger aquariums like Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium or Springfield’s Wonders of Wildlife, the St. Louis Aquarium has a lot to offer to the community.

With a mission for outreach and education, multiple viewing galleries, and a location near several other family-friendly attractions, the St. Louis Aquarium is a welcome amenity to the Downtown St. Louis attraction lineup.


Additional Resources

 

To learn more about the St. Louis Aquarium, visit https://www.stlouisaquarium.com.

To learn more about St. Louis Union Station, visit https://www.stlouisunionstation.com.

To learn more about the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation, visit https://www.stlaquariumfoundation.org.

 

Looking for another aquatic adventure? Learn more about the incredibly immersive Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri: https://lindsayblum.com/gallery/wonders-of-wildlife-national-museum-aquarium/


Technical: Fujifilm x100v

Sources: City of St. Louis Government, St. Louis Union Station, St. Louis Aquarium Foundation

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