Salt Marsh Aquarium
This 1,000-gallon aquarium with a window more than 14 feet long opens onto a section of coastal salt marsh. Natural debris covers the floor, which is also dotted with oyster and clam shells. Visitors observe juvenile redfish, killifishes and other fish in this habitat, along with blue crabs and hermit crabs in a replica of their natural habitat.
Coastal Bay Aquarium
At the Coastal Bay Aquarium, species such as redfish, black drum and flounder cruise over an oyster reef bottom. The 2,200-gallon exhibit represents an important feature of the Texas coast -- its bay or estuary systems.
Coral Reef Aquarium
This 250-gallon exhibit features corals, invertebrates and fish and is a favorite among visitors. Observant visitors will notice sea stars, sea cucumbers and tiny hermit crabs living among the leather, cup and star corals.
A 5,000-gallon jetty exhibit fills the back wall of the center. Granite blocks and boulders re-create a man-made jetty that is the aquarium's background. Barnacles, periwinkle and other shelled animals encrust wooden pilings and southern flounder cruise across the bottom. Finfish, like Atlantic spadefish, snook, permit, scorpionfish, Atlantic croaker and spotted seatrout can be found among the boulders.
Artificial Reef Aquarium
As visitors approach the 5,000-gallon artificial reef aquarium, they will be amazed by the multi-colored sponges, corals and bryozoans and oysters attached to legs of a miniaturized replica of an offshore oil and gas production platform. Hiding among the legs of the platform are fishes such as rock hinds, eels and groupers. Fish swimming nearby include snapper, grunt and jacks.
Texas has been involved in placing artificial reefs since the late 1940’s to provide more fishing opportunities. Objects such as oyster shell, tires, automobiles, construction rubble, clay pipe barges ships and drilling rigs have been employed. In the mid-1980’s the Rigs to Reef Program was created as an avenue through which obsolete production platforms could be left in the marine environment as artificial reefs.
Tropical Fish Aquarium
Opposite the larger Artificial Reef aquarium, is a colorful and eye-catching exhibit of fish from tropical waters. This small 200- gallon aquarium displays tropical fish from the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can enjoy viewing damsels, hawkfish, urchins and tangs..
Offshore Gulf of Mexico Aquarium
The centerpiece of the educational exhibits, a 50,000-gallon aquarium, allows visitors to view large Gulf of Mexico marine animals. Within Gulf of Mexico waters live many species that can be viewed in the Sea Center Gulf tank, including bonnethead sharks, large red drum, gray snapper, Atlantic spadefish, green moray eel and tarpon.