Looking for something exciting to do with the family? How about a visit to the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station? Board a train at Union Station and travel along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers all the way to the ocean.
The aquarium is split into six different galleries. Your first stop will be the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers exhibit. There you will find fish common to the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, like the largemouth bass and the paddlefish.
Then you’ll journey to rivers in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. See if you can spot either the red bellied piranha, a native of South America, or the colorful dyeing dart frog, which is found in both South America and Africa.
The next gallery is a two-story habitat featuring Thatcher, Sawyer, and Finn, who are three North American river otters. Watch them swim in the water on the first floor or sleep in their den on the second floor. You will also meet Tommy, an animated otter, who will answer your questions about life as a North American river otter.
Interested in learning more about otters? Check out “North American River Otter” by Ellen Lawrence.
Make sure to stop and feed the turtles on your way to the next gallery! After feeding the turtles, visit the ocean shore exhibit. Here you can touch a chocolate chip sea star, a blood shrimp, or a pencil urchin. You will definitely want to stop at the stingray table, where you can touch stingrays as they swim by; they may even splash you!
Also in this gallery is Lord Stanley the blue lobster. Lord Stanley was donated to the aquarium by Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar on Cape Cod after the St. Louis Blues’ hockey team beat the Boston Bruins for the 2019 Stanley Cup.
You can learn more about crustaceans like Lord Stanley in Daniel Gilpin’s book “Lobsters, Crabs & Other Crustaceans.”
The penultimate gallery is a 250,000-gallon exhibit full of sharks, rays, grouper, sardines, and many other aquatic friends. Watch the thousands of inhabitants swim by and even swim above you, as you journey to the last part of the aquarium.
The last gallery takes you into the dark depths of the ocean. Here you will find moon jellies, Atlantic Sea nettles, leafy sea dragons, and a giant Pacific octopus.
Twig C. George’s book “Jellies: The Life of Jellyfish” can answer all your questions about jellyfish.
When you have left the aquarium, Union Station provides many more activities for families including the St. Louis Wheel, the carousel, a mini golf course, a rope course, a mirror maze, and a Fire & Light show.
When your day is complete, you can check out other aquarium adventures like “Curious George Goes to the Aquarium”.