The Reiman Aquarium in Discovery World is the largest aquarium in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee area is home to several aquariums that kids and families will enjoy exploring. From state of the art aquariums like the one you’ll find at Discovery World, to mom and pop shops that are well-kept secrets, here’s a list of the best aquariums in metro Milwaukee.
1. Reiman Aquarium at Discovery World
500 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Milwaukee’s premier science museum, Discovery World, is home to the Reiman Aquarium, the largest aquarium in Wisconsin. Situated along the shore of Lake Michigan, there’s no better place to learn about sea life in the Midwest. You’ll find fish and sea creatures from around the world including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the rivers of the Amazon Basin, African Rift Lakes, and the Great Lakes.
Visitors can pet stingrays and sturgeon. Photo: Instagram, @msshelleyrae
Visitors can pet stingrays and sturgeon, plus meet turtles, a ball python, poison dart frogs, and more. The aquarium is full of interactive technology that helps visitors to learn more.
Kids will love looking through the clear floor to find fish beneath their feet. And, don’t miss the aquarium tunnel that immerses visitors in a completely unique view of the fish.
The immersive aquarium tunnel is a highlight of the visit. Photo: Instagram, @megaronincheez
Discovery World is also home to the Kohl’s Design It Lab, the S.V. Denis Sullivan ship, Wind Leaves, dozens of science and technology exhibits, a gift shop, and more.
2. Milwaukee County Zoo Aquatic & Reptile Center
10001 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Peek into the 28,000-gallon Pacific Coast Marine Aquarium at the Zoo.
The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to a huge collection of fish, reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians. You’ll find them in the Aquatic and Reptile Center. Peek into their 28,000-gallon Pacific Coast Marine Aquarium or the 30-species Lake Wisconsin exhibit.
Interested in venomous lizards? Don’t miss the Gila monster, a venemous lizard that spends up to 95 percent of its time in underground burrows.
During the warm months, check out the Zoo’s Oceans of Fun Seal and Sea Lion Show, offered daily. The shows are family-friendly, and offer the opportunity to touch, feed, and interact with the animals.
3. Racine Zoo Discovery Center
2131 N Main St, Racine, WI 53402
This small, charming zoo is home to a hundred different species of animals, and it’s perfect for young children who are having a first-time zoo experience. It’s located right along the shores of Lake Michigan, so you can make it a full day trip with a stop at nearby North Beach.
The Benstead Discovery Center is located near the Zoo entrance across from the Zootique Gift Shop. You’ll find reptiles and amphibians from around the world, plus an aquarium and a bat exhibit.
4. Mom & Pop Shops
There are many aquarium stores in metro Milwaukee, but these shops rise above the rest, known for their great customer service and selection. Peruse their selection of tropical fish, marine fish, pond fish, pond plants, glass aquariums, and more. Check their Facebook Page for the most up-to-date information on hours.
Aquarium shops are a great place to learn about fish. The Fish Factory is one local store you can visit.
3485 N 124th St, Brookfield, WI 53005
Fun Fact: There are over 3,000 gallons of water in their Brookfield showroom.
3550 S 108th St, Greenfield, WI 53228
Aquatics Unlimited features over 12,000 square feet of tropical fish and aquariums, more than 350 display tanks, over 12,000 gallons of freshwater, and over 3,000 gallons of saltwater.
The Fish Factory
9218 W Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53227
5. Aquarium Day Trips
Within a one to two hour drive, Milwaukee residents have easy access to these nearby aquariums:
Henry Vilas Zoo
702 S Randall Ave, Madison, WI 53715
Henry Vilas Zoo is a free admission zoo in Madison, WI. The Discovery Center and Herpetarium is home to reptiles, amphibians, and fish. (Don’t miss the green anaconda, the largest snake species in the world, or the Aldabra tortoise, the largest tortoise species on the planet!) In the Discovery center, you can use microscopes and magnifying lenses to view the fine details of feathers, scales, and eggs. The Discovery Center and Herpetarium is located on the south side of the zoo near the Bridge Gate entrance.
1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
The Shedd Aquarium is a must-visit for Midwest families.
Shedd Aquarium, founded in 1924, welcomes nearly 2 million guests from around the United States and the world. Shedd’s exhibits dive deep into coral reefs and flooded rainforests, the cool Great Lakes, the warm waves of the Caribbean and beyond. They offer special animal encounters and behind-the-scenes experiences, plus immersive 4-D films.
Love fish and aquariums? Join the Milwaukee Aquarium Society.
You may also be interested in Zoo & Petting Farms in Metro Milwaukee.