Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-5:30pm; Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm during summer; Sat-Sun, 10am-7pm during summer
F, Q at W. 8th St.-New York Aquarium; D, F, N, Q at Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.
$13, $10 seniors, $9 children 2-12, free for children under 3
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Since its 1896 opening, the city's only aquarium—and the oldest in continuous operation nationwide—has grown from 150 to 8,000 specimens and moved from a modest home in Battery Park to 14 seaside acres in Coney Island. An affiliate of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the aquarium furthers the study and preservation of nautical life through events and classes, laboratory research, and special, often interactive, exhibitions. Animals are generally placed in replicas of their natural habitats: Sea otters and black-footed penguins swim amid the rocks, trees and choppy waves typical of the Pacific Northwest; nurse, white tip, sand tiger and sand bars sharks swim a 90,000-gallon tank. For visitors looking for something a little less natural, the rascally California sea lions perform three or four shows daily at the outdoor, 1600-seat Aquatheater. A 2002 addition entitled "Alien Stingers" showcases the less-than-beloved jellyfish in surprisingly beautiful shades. As for those elusive mermaids, you'll have to wait for Coney Island's annual summer parade.Weddings
Here, couples can say “I do” outdoors, surrounded by walruses, penguins, and Willie the sea otter, followed by a candlelit reception in a room walled on one side by a 150,000-gallon coral garden. The rental fee is $7,500, 100 percent of which goes to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Parties must start after closing (4:30 P.M.), but can go on long into the night.