Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey (Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Jim.henderson)
Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey | Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Jim.henderson

The Adventure Aquarium, nestled along the picturesque Delaware River Camden Waterfront in Camden, New Jersey, is a captivating destination for both education and entertainment. Originally established in 1992, is now home to approximately 8,000 remarkable aquatic creatures inhabiting semi-aquatic, freshwater, and marine environments. Spanning a vast area with a total tank volume exceeding 2 million US gallons and a sprawling public floor space of 200,000 square feet, this aquarium offers an immersive experience like no other.

Shark at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey (Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Laya Gerlock)
Shark at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey | Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Laya Gerlock

South Building

The existing structure, known as the South Building, continues to showcase native Atlantic specimens in smaller tanks along with the awe-inspiring Ocean Tank on the first floor. In 2000, it introduced the Conservation, Outreach, and Outreach Lab, known as COOL, which follows the adventures of Dr. Marina del Mar, a fictitious marine biologist. Dr. Marina del Mar’s Ocean Base Atlantic laboratory is responsible for curating the animals, displays, and information within the building, featuring an array of aquatic life from the Indo-Pacific, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, Central and South American regions. Notably, the exhibit called Irazu River Falls, now known as Piranha Falls since 2017, was added as part of a renovation. This 30-foot-tall tropical waterfall tank complements the 50-foot-tall coral reef tank designed within the original building.

Within the South Building, visitors can also enjoy the Adventure Theatre, a 154-seat auditorium showcasing 4D-ride films. This theater provides a unique cinematic experience with 3D films enhanced by environmental effects like water spray, wind gusts, and seat motion.

The South Building has undergone significant changes over the years, including the addition of new touch exhibits in 2007, featuring species like moon jellies, northern lobsters, and pink shrimp. Although some touch tanks were removed during a 2012 renovation, the second-floor space was transformed into a Kids Zone, catering to younger children and featuring a small play area.

Penguin Island

The Adventure Aquarium is home to African penguins in its outdoor exhibit, Penguin Island, which originally opened in 1998. In 2017, the enclosure underwent refurbishment to create a more natural environment for these charming birds, complete with heated rock fixtures and a 17,000-gallon saltwater tank.

Penguin Island at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey (Photo Credit: Flickr - Jyoshiki)
Penguin Island at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey | Photo Credit: Flickr – Jyoshiki

The aquarium also welcomed eight Australian blue penguins in 2016, housing them in an exhibit called Little Blue Beach. These penguins originated from the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, and found their way to the Adventure Aquarium after a journey that included a stop at the Bronx Zoo. Their exhibit includes a 415-square-foot space and a 9,230-gallon, 3-foot-deep saltwater pool.

In 2017, the aquarium adopted a newly hatched loggerhead sea turtle named Darwin, rehabilitating it for eventual release into the wild. The turtle was successfully released in the fall of that year.

North Building

The rectangular expansion known as the North Building adds depth to the aquarium’s offerings. It houses three unique exhibits, a food service area, main entry atrium, gift shop, casual dining restaurant, and the CURRENTS banquet ballroom.

One of the standout exhibits, the “West African River Experience,” is home to Nile hippopotamuses, Button and Genny. These hippos were sent from The Walt Disney Company’s Animal Kingdom theme park and have the potential to live well into their 50s.

Hippos at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey (Photo Credit: Flickr - John Donges)
Hippos at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey | Photo Credit: Flickr – John Donges

Additional exhibits within the North Building include the Jules Verne Gallery, featuring captivating creatures like Japanese spider crabs, sea dragons, jellies, and a giant Pacific octopus. The Shark Realm, on the other hand, offers thrilling encounters with sand tiger, sandbar, and nurse sharks through multiple floor-to-ceiling windows and a 40-foot shark tunnel suspended in the massive 550,000-U.S.-gallon tank. For the adventurous, the Shark and Ray Encounter program allows guests to snorkel alongside these magnificent creatures in a controlled environment.

An architectural marvel, the Shark Bridge, an 81-foot-long V-shaped suspension bridge, offers visitors an unparalleled view.

The Adventure Aquarium is located at 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey.

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