Review: Diving into the St. Louis Aquarium


The St. Louis Aquarium is located at Union Station along with the Mirror Maze, Ropes Course, Mini Golf, and Ferris Wheel. It was developed as part of the city's effort to breathe life back into the old train station.

Tabitha Bevan, Radical Reviewer

On Dec. 25, the St. Louis Aquarium opened at Union Station. With the other well-received attractions recently developed in the area, such as the St. Louis Ferris Wheel and the ropes course, expectations were high. However, with individual adult tickets priced at $25 and children’s tickets priced at $18, the aquarium, with its impressive array of exhibits, didn’t meet the hype.

The aquarium is open seven days a week from 9 a.m to 5 p.m Sunday through Thursday, and 9 a.m to 8 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays.When I arrived at 9:30 a.m. on ??????, the line was already extremely long. It took almost half an hour to get to the front of the line, where I was told that general admission tickets had sold out for the day, and if I wanted to see the attraction, I would have to purchase an annual pass. The aquarium sells 6,000 general admission tickets a day, which can be purchased online or in person. To avoid paying $55 for an annual pass, I would highly suggest purchasing tickets online. 

The tickets run on 15-minute time slots; every 15 minutes, a new wave of people are sent into the aquarium in an effort to minimize crowding. However, in my experience, the aquarium still felt cramped and stuffy. This could be due to the fact that it has only been open for a month, and the newness hasn’t worn off yet. Once the aquarium has been operating for a while, I’d expect the number of people visiting to decrease. 

In terms of the variety of animals, the St. Louis Aquarium hits the mark. There are six galleries to walk through: Navigate the Confluence, Traverse the Global Rivers, Travel the Changing Rivers, Splash into the Ocean Shore, Delve into Shark Canyon, and Explore the Deep. Included within these showcases are stingrays, gray reef sharks, jellyfish, octopus, sea otters, and of course, a plethora of fish. In total, there are 44 exhibits with 257 species and 13,000 animals. 

My favorite exhibit was Shark Canyon, as this is where the 250,000-gallon shark tank is located. The window extends over the ceiling, allowing the fish and sharks to swim above you. There is also comfortable seating in this area, so it is easy to sit back and enjoy the display. 

Additionally, the aquarium is very child-friendly. There are several touch pools and interactive stations, such as a ‘steam water’ table that demonstrates how water shapes the land. An area is roped off for showcases, and when I visited, a baby tortoise was being displayed. This was a popular attraction amongst the kids. 

I took my time looking at each exhibit and tried out most of the interactive features; however, I still ended up spending only about an hour at the aquarium, not including my 30-minute wait. Although the displays were well designed, child-friendly, and diverse, I don’t think the $25 price point and long wait time is worth it, especially with the St. Louis Zoo already available, which is free and can take a family hours to get through. Overall, I’d rate the St. Louis Aquarium a 6/10.