Tampa, FL

Two Florida Aquariums Make Top 10 Best in the US List by Popular Vote

Uncovering Florida

Cover photo for illustrative purposes only.Photo byRachel Claire | Pexels

Voters have showed their love for Florida once again, crowning not one, but two locations as some of the best aquatic worlds in the entire country. Even better? One of Florida's aquariums came out as being a fan fave not once, but twice.

Following the nomination of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and The Florida Aquarium in Tampa back in February, both watery worlds made a short-list of 20 leading aquarium-locations across the country. The short-list was put together by a panel of experts with USA Today's Best 10 Editorial Team.

Once on the short-list, voters were able to cast their line for their favorite fish-museums once per day through the first week of March in the hopes of seeing a win. The polls closed on Monday, March 6, resulting in a Top 10 List of 2023's Best Aquarium, as decided by public popular vote.

While neither Florida aquarium managed to take the top spot, it was close for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium — which proudly secured a 2nd place win. Most well known for being the home of Winter the Dolphin, Best 10 Expert, Nikky J., shared her reasoning for adding Clearwater's Aquarium to the short-list.

"I love this place because they focus on rescue, rehab, and release of aquatic animals." said Nikki, "Plus, it's a fun place to hang out with the family for a few hours!"

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa wasn't far behind though, settling comfortably in 8th place. It just beat out Kentucky's Newport Aquarium, but fell shy of the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut's 7th slotting.

Taking the crown as number one for a fifth year, and its 4th consecutive, was the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield Missouri.

The location features 1.5 miles of immersive galleries, 4 dimensional dioramas, and a 1.5-million-gallon aquarium tank, as well as a unique collection of historic boats used by fishing legends and celebs like Jimmy Buffet, Ernest Hemingway, and Zane Gray, that you won't see anywhere else.

Their 1.5-million-gallon tank is also home to 35,000 different aquatic animals, representing over 800 varieties of species, including zebra sharks, sea turtles, freshwater sport fish, and many more.

But there must be many that have a lot of love for the Tampa location. Another list by Attractions of America rounded up the 25 best aquariums of 2023, with The Florida Aquarium ranking similarly, at number 10.

The full list of Top 10 Best Aquariums for 2023 by USA Today as voted on by you is listed below:

  1. Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium — Springfield, Missouri
  2. Clearwater Marine Aquarium — Clearwater, Florida
  3. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies — Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  4. Adventure Aquarium — Camden, New Jersey
  5. Audubon Aquarium — New Orleans, Louisiana
  6. Texas State Aquarium — Corpus Christi, Texas
  7. Mystic Aquarium — Mystic, Connecticut
  8. The Florida Aquarium — Tampa, Florida
  9. Newport Aquarium — Newport, Kentucky
  10. Tennessee Aquarium — Chatanooga, Tennessee

Did your favorite aquarium make the list? Let us know in the comments!

Article by Rachael Volpe

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