By Julie Tristan
You can go under the sea and rivers at the brand new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station! The aquarium opened on Christmas Day and it’s a place where you can interact with 13,000+ sea animals along with exploring life in the ocean.
When you first walk in there’s a huge screen that shows videos of animals in the ocean and it’s a spot perfect for a family picture! Then you’ll enter the grand lobby featuring a large clock fish tank which is meant to look like the back of the Union Station clock.
“Featuring discus fish which are about dinner plate size, real colorful fish fresh water and then it’s enhanced by this LED 4K screen. There’s different shows and settings and the idea is that you are in Union Station in a magical space,” says Justin Stichter, PGAV Destinations.
After the show you board the Missouri Pacific Line train which is a virtual reality experience. The train has 4K screens on the sides and the roof so it will make you think you are on a ride when you don’t really leave the station. This train experience is for you and 60 of your friends. The train can fly, swim and will take you back in time to 1894 when Union Station was first constructed.
“The seats give a little bit of motion but the train actually stays here the entire time,” says Chris Davis, ZoOceranarium Group, Operator of the St. Louis Aquarium.
The train takes you to the Missouri Confluence, the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Here you can explore fish that swim beside and beneath you. You’ll see everything from catfish to paddle fish to a long-nose gar.
You’ll travel the river-ways of South America, Africa and Southeast Asia where you meet some river “monsters” like the piranhas. There’s even doctor fish where you can immerse your hands in the water and they’ll nibble off the dead skin. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt it just feels like a small tickle.
The interactive exhibit featuring the river otters, a sleepy sloth and a curious owl is also a popular feature with families.
There are interactive kiosks along the way where guests are invited to participate in a scavenger hunt. That’s also where you’ll find an interactive fish tank featuring virtual fish so you can learn about all of the fish you see in each tank.
Shark Canyon is a 250,000 gallon fish tank which is the largest in the aquarium. It features 80 sharks and rays gliding around thousands of schooling sardines.
The new St. Louis Aquarium is a 120,000 square foot attraction with 44 exhibits that you can explore 365 day a year! It’s a good idea to get tickets online because many days have been sold out already!