I’m an aquarium guy. I’ve been keeping saltwater aquariums off and on for the last 30 years. But I gave it up when we moved to Las Vegas. We’ve been traveling quite a bit and I figured it would be just too difficult to maintain an aquarium if we weren’t around all the time.
So imagine how happy I was to discover that Las Vegas is home to some of the best and biggest aquariums in the country! You’re definitely going to want to check out one or more of these tanks when visiting Las Vegas.
What are the best aquariums in Las Vegas? The best aquariums in Las Vegas are:
- Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
- The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel
- The Tank at the Golden Nugget
- SeaQuest Las Vegas
- Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
- Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Aquarium Tank
- The Atlantis Aquarium at The Forum Shops
- The Aquarium at the Mirage
- Chart House Aquarium Restaurant and Bar
- Zappos Nap Room Aquarium
Las Vegas is home to some incredible displays of fresh and saltwater aquariums. They’re big and spectacular for sure, and just like Las Vegas, they’ll full of pizzaz! Keep reading to see the top 10 aquariums in Sin City.
Table of Contents
- 1 Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
- 2 The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel
- 3 The Tank – Shark Tank Swimming Pool at the Golden Nugget
- 4 SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium
- 5 Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
- 6 Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Aquarium
- 7 The Atlantis Aquarium – The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
- 8 Top Aquariums in Las Vegas FAQ
- 9 The Aquarium at the Mirage Casino
- 10 Las Vegas Aquarium Map
- 11 The Chart House Aquarium Restaurant and Bar Las Vegas
- 12 Zappos Las Vegas Nap Room Aquarium
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
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Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is probably the most well known of the aquariums in the city. True to form, this Las Vegas aquarium is themed as an ancient temple that is slowly sinking into the sea.
You’ll enter the temple above ground. This area is home to dangerous animal predators in exhibits ranging from Golden Crocodiles to Komodo dragons to snakes. As you continue walking and start to sink beneath the water level you’ll encounter turtles and schools of man-eating Piranha.
Finally, you’ll enter the underwater shark tunnel where you’ll be surrounded by over 100 sharks. Fifteen different shark species in total along with exotic fish, stingrays and other creatures of the deep.
The Shark Reef Aquarium first opened its doors in June of 2000. The entire hotel and casino were designed around the idea of this massive 1.6 million gallon aquarium which is comprised of 14 exhibits, including a touch pool, and contains over 2,000 animals in all.
Shark Reef also offers guests the opportunity to book different animal encounters which include up close and personal interactions. In these VIP tours, you’ll have a chance to be able to feed the stingrays, sea turtles and sharks. They even offer the option of being able to scuba dive with the sharks. Yikes!
Shark Reef has over 1 million visitors each year and in 2003 became Nevada’s first animal facility to gain accreditation by the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The aquarium not only provides education and entertainment, its cutting edge facilities also provides conservation and research programs.
Shark Reef is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 8 pm Sunday thru Thursday and 10 am to 10 pm Friday & Saturday. (See map below for location) Tickets can be purchased up to 1 hour before closing. You can check current ticket prices at vegas.com here.
The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel
Love, love, love this one! As an aquarium enthusiast, I could sit and watch The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel for hours. A beautiful 117,000 gallon reef aquarium can make you feel as if you’re on a tropical vacation instead of the middle of the Mojave Desert.
The tank houses thousands of colorful fish as well as three different species of sharks and stingrays. The marine biologists on staff at the hotel host daily feeding shows at 1:30 and 4:30 from inside the aquarium. These biologists use full facemask scuba gear and are able to communicate with guests during the feeding giving information about each animal as well as answering questions.
Honestly, all that is cool enough but there’s even more! Several times a day, Thursdays through Sundays, you can watch real live mermaids swimming in the tank with the fish! Before and after the Mermaid Swims (on Saturdays and Sundays) your kids can actually have lunch with one of the Mermaids.
Mermaid Swim Show Schedule
A mermaid swims every 15 min between these times.
|Noon – 1:15pm||Noon – 1:15pm||Noon – 1:15pm||10:30am – 1:10pm|
|2:00 – 3:15pm||2:00 – 3:15pm||2:00 – 3:15pm||2:00 – 3:15pm|
|5:00 – 8:15pm||5:00 – 8:15pm||5:00 – 8:15pm||5:00 – 6:45pm|
In addition to the main tank, the Silverton Hotel (website) also has an area known as the Mermaid Lounge where you’ll find two 500 gallon jellyfish aquariums.
I saved the best part for last. The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel is a completely free attraction and has been listed as one of the Best Free Attractions in Las Vegas! I’d definitely have to agree with that!
The Aquarium is part of the Silverton Hotel and it’s open 7 days a week. (See map below for location and directions).
The Tank – Shark Tank Swimming Pool at the Golden Nugget
This killer design is known as “The Tank” at the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas. It’s a three-story 200,000 gallon shark aquarium with a waterslide running through the middle of the tank.
This is a seriously cool, $30 million dollar aquarium and pool complex. At the top, it looks like a waterslide you’d find at any waterpark but as you rush down the slide the sides turn clear as you enter the shark tank. Suddenly you’re surrounded on all sides by huge fish and even bigger sharks! Now that’s my definition of fun!
If waterslides aren’t your thing then you may be happier sitting poolside in a comfy lounge chair or swanky cabana just watching these predators swim silently in their massive tank. There’s also a nice waterfall and a bar to complete the luxury vibe.
The best seats in the house are the lounge chairs that are half-submerged in the pool. They’ll keep you cool in the hot desert sun and give you the best view of the aquarium.
The hotel also offers an opportunity to take a guided tour through their behind the scenes shark facility. One of their marine biologists will show you the inner workings of the shark tank. You’ll also get to experience feeding time! They even give you a sharks tooth to take home as a souvenir.
Even if you don’t want to go down the waterslide or sit by the pool, the award-winning shark aquarium can be viewed from one of the Golden Nuggets nearby restaurants.
Pool hours are seasonal from May 3rd to August 25th 9am – 7pm and from August 25th to November 17th 9am -6pm. After that the pool is closed until early February. (See map below for the location of the Golden Nugget)
SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium
When you discover SeaQuest Las Vegas you’ll find yourself fully immersed in nature. Perfect for children and families, SeaQuest is a fully interactive attraction that walks you through several of the most important habitats on our planet.
The thing I really like about many of the aquariums here are that they are large open top aquariums sitting on the floor so you’re able to view the tank inhabitants from the top as well as from the sides.
Also, there are several opportunities to interact with the animals. There is a large stingray tank where you’re able to feed the hungry stingrays as well as give them a gentle pet. There is also an interesting touch tank full of starfish that the kids will really enjoy. You’ll even have the chance to touch a shark!
In addition, there are many other tanks full of colorful tropical ocean fish, brackish water fish and freshwater fish.
From the desert to the rainforest as well as our earth’s massive oceans, SeaQuest covers much more animal life than just the creatures found in the sea. You’ll have the chance to view, feed and interact with many other types of animals, such as turtles, toucans, parrots, snakes and other critters.
Approximately 1200 animals encompassing 300 different species call SeaQuest home.
SeaQuest is located a couple of miles off the Las Vegas Strip in the Boulevard Mall (see map below for location). They are open M – F from 10am to 9pm and on Sundays from 11am to 7pm.
Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is a zoo-like oasis of wildlife in the desert. Featuring big cats such as white tigers, panthers, leopards and white lions as well as Bottlenose Dolphins.
The white tigers and the rest of the cats are amazing but it’s the Bottlenosed Dolphins habitat that put this attraction on our best aquarium list.
You can watch the dolphins play, swim and eat from a submerged viewing area. There is also a dolphin show where the dolphins can show off their skills but the real fun to be had here are the VIP dolphin tours.
Have you ever wanted to swim with dolphins? Well here’s your chance! The first VIP tour is called “Dolphin Trainer 101”. Here you’ll not only learn how to interact with the dolphins but train and swim with them as well.
The next tour is called “Painting with the Dolphins”. You’ll get to hold a canvas while a dolphin with a paintbrush paints you a pretty souvenir picture.
Finally, you can have a VIP tour of the dolphin habitat and meet a bottlenose dolphin up close.
Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is a fun place to spend an afternoon with the kids and if swimming with a dolphin is on your bucket list then this is a perfect opportunity and the only place you can swim with dolphins in Las Vegas.
The habitat opened in 1990 and is focused on conservation, education and scientific research. The garden and habitat is located near the Mirage Hotel (See map for exact location). Hours are daily from 10am to 7pm.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Aquarium
Right next door to The Aquarium at Silverton Hotel (see above) is the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Las Vegas. This is a huge Bass Pro Shops flagship store full of anything and everything related to outdoor activities.
While the store itself is a worthwhile stop if you’re into the great outdoors, it’s the 40,000 gallon freshwater aquarium right in the middle of the store that I come to see.
The aquarium is fed by a large waterfall tumbling down the canyon rocks, reminiscent of Red Rock Canyon just outside of Vegas. The tank features large specimens of trout, bass, channel catfish and carp.
This Bass Pro Shops location also features another aquarium containing additional trout. You can find it over by the Fly Shop.
The aquarium is a free attraction and makes for a great outing. Bass Pro Shops Las Vegas is open Monday – Saturday from 9am to 9pm. (See map below for location)
(If you’re into fishing then you’ll want to know about the best fishing spots in and around Las Vegas. Check out our article here to find out)
The Atlantis Aquarium – The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
The Atlantis Aquarium is the first big fish aquarium I ever saw in Las Vegas. The first time I saw it was long before we moved here. Wendy and I were newlyweds and by then she was more than aware of my love of saltwater fish tanks. She’d spent more time in Las Vegas over the years than I had and the first time we were in Vegas together she insisted on showing me this tank. I was not disappointed!
The Atlantis Aquarium is a 50,000 gallon saltwater aquarium located in the middle of the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. There are over 300 large and colorful fish swimming their way around the tank. The fish species include pufferfish, triggerfish, tangs, sharks and rays as well as many more.
The tank is round which I really enjoy because you can walk completely around it and see the aquarium from every angle. Also, the tropical fish are able to continuously swim without swimming to one end of the tank turning around and swimming to the other end like most rectangular aquariums.
Twice a day at 1:15pm and again at 5:15pm a diver enters the tank and you can watch them feed the fish which is really fun to see. There is also a free guided tour of the aquarium facilities located below the tank Monday thru Fridays at 3:15pm.
Right next to the aquarium is the Fall of Atlantis Fountain Show. This is an impressive 7 minute show with talking animatronic characters, flames, special effects and even a dragon. The show plays at the top of every hour starting at 11am.
Both the Atlantis Aquarium and show are completely free attractions located at the Forum Shops Mall at Caesars Palace. (See map for exact location)
Top Aquariums in Las Vegas FAQ
|Shark Reef at|
|Sun-Thur 10am – 8pm|
Fri & Sat 10am – 10pm
at the Silverton
|Saltwater||Open 7 days a week||Free||117,000|
|The Tank at|
May 3rd – Aug 25th
(9 am – 7 pm)
Aug 25th – Nov 17th
(9am – 6 pm)
|Mon-Fri 10am – 9pm|
Sundays 11am – 7pm
|Siegfried & Roy’s|
and Habitat at
|Saltwater||Open daily from|
10am – 7pm
|Bass Pro Shops|
|Fresh||Mon-Sat 9am – 9pm||Free||40,000|
|The Atlantis |
Aquarium at the
|Saltwater||Daily from |
10am – 11pm
|The Aquarium at|
Mirage Las Vegas
|Chart House |
11:30am – 11pm
11:30am – 11:30m
11:30am – 10:30pm
Happy Hour M – F
4pm – 6pm
9am, 11am, 3pm
11am & 1pm
The Aquarium at the Mirage Casino
The Aquarium at the Mirage Las Vegas is a one of a kind tropical saltwater tank that spans the entire length of the rather large check-in desk in the lobby. This 20,000 gallon aquarium is home to over 400 fish from tropical oceans around the world. Including pufferfish, angelfish, butterflyfish and even a large moray eel.
The interior of the aquarium is designed to look like a tropical coral reef but the Mirage purposely chose not to use any living coral in order to help preserve the fragile coral reefs in the world’s oceans.
The tank itself is approximately 53 feet long, six feet from back to front and 8 feet tall. The acrylic used to build the aquarium is 4 inches thick.
The tank gets cleaned several times a week and if you’re there in the early morning hours you may see the aquarists at the Mirage suited up and scuba diving through the aquarium cleaning the corals and acrylic.
The aquarium at the Mirage was rated 7th in the world for best hotel aquarium in 2011. The Mirage aquarium really is an eye-catcher and it’s probably the most seen aquarium in Las Vegas. The aquarium can be viewed 24/7 but is best viewed during the day and evening when the tanks lights are on. (See map below for location).
Check out our Visitor Resource Guide to find discount rooms at the Mirage.
Las Vegas Aquarium Map
The Chart House Aquarium Restaurant and Bar Las Vegas
If you’ve heard about the “restaurant with an aquarium” in Las Vegas this is the place! The Chart House is an upscale restaurant with an aquarium at the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas.
The aquarium is a 75,000 gallon tank housing a variety of tropical marine fish. The aquarium can be seen behind the bar as you walk past the restaurant and although it’s a spectacular view, I didn’t realize for the longest time that the majority of the aquarium is only viewable from around the corner in the main dining room.
The aquarium is a curved tank that bows its way into the restaurant. While every seat in the house has a great view of the swimming fish, there are a select few number of tables that are right against the glass and have an amazing view. It’s like you’re eating in an underwater tropical paradise.
The aquarium is free to view as you pass by but you’ll want to have dinner or happy hour drinks for the full experience.
The Chart House aquarium restaurant is open Mon – Thurs from 11:30am to 11pm, Fri – Sat 11:30am to 11:30pm and Sunday’s from 11:30am till 10:30pm. Happy hours are M – F 4pm to 6pm. (See map for location).
Zappos Las Vegas Nap Room Aquarium
The aquarium at the new Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas is not the biggest aquarium on this list. At only 3,500 gallons it’s actually puny compared to all of the others I’ve told you about. Having said that, however, in my opinion, this is one of the most cool aquariums in Las Vegas.
Zappos has built an entire nap room for its 1,500 employees. I love naps! Zappos is a company that believes in the productivity benefits of employees taking a 20-minute nap. So while it would be cool enough if Zappos built a nap room with an aquarium in it, that’s not all they did.
They had the guys from the Animal Planet show “Tanked” (a local Las Vegas company) come in and build a custom 25-foot saltwater aquarium that I like to call the “Ultimate Nap Experience”. They call it “Sleeping with the Fishes”.
The nap room consists of several reclining massage chairs that are each fitted into an alcove that is built entirely from acrylic. As you recline back you’re staring up at the aquarium as it arches over you. Colorful tropical fish are swimming to the right of you, the left of you and above you as you doze off to sleep.
Unfortunately, the only way to get a nap in the aquarium nap room is to become an employee of Zappos (where do I sign up?) but you can check out the aquarium itself by taking a 90 minute guided tour of Zappos HQ.
Tours are available Monday thru Thursdays: 9am, 11am and 3pm. Also on Fridays at 11am and 1pm. (See map for location).
Now you know about all the best and biggest aquariums in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Is Mandalay Bay Aquarium free for hotel guests? No, the Mandalay Bay Aquarium is not free for guests. The Shark Reef exhibit is a paid attraction although they do offer discounts for Nevada residents.
How long does it take to go through the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay? Most visitors to Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay spend between 45 min to 1 hour in the exhibit. You are able to stay as long as you like during the hours of operation but once you leave you cannot return.