Once known as Denver's Ocean Journey Aquarium, this public aquarium was purchased in 2003 by Laundry's Restaurants. It was reopened in July of 2005 as Downtown Aquarium, and today features a re-designed entertainment complex that houses over 500 different marine species in over one million gallons of underwater exhibits. Since it is owned by a restaurant company, the Downtown Aquarium also features a unique dining experience for visitors.
The aquarium's exhibits are separated by habitat instead of by species to help visitors see these animals interact as they would naturally. One of the most popular exhibits is the North American habitat, as it features animals that call the United States home. This feature encourages conservation to make sure that these creatures continue to live in the United States for generations to come.
The aquarium also has a number of exhibits that features creatures who love reefs. The coral lagoon shows a simulated area that would be protected from harsh waves by a barrier reef. There's also a shipwreck exhibit and a sunken temple, which many species call home. Other exhibits have species that live both in and out of the water. The beach includes animals that thrive in shallow water or along rocky or sandy bottoms, which the wharf-dwelling creatures have adapted to changing tides and currents.
Many visitors also enjoy the rainforest-inspired exhibit, which simulate the seasonal flooding of rivers. Another rainforest exhibit shows a mangrove environment, where ocean meets the mouth of a river, giving a unique environment to animals that thrive there. Of course, in addition to all of these habitats, there are also tanks which represent the open sea and can be home to larger species.
Landry's Downtown Aquarium focuses on education, providing children and families with a number of programs that can teach them more about marine life. Some of these programs include a behind the scenes tour, an overnight stay at the aquarium and the chance to be a marine biologist for a day. They also have special camps, programs for schools, and workshops for teachers who want to learn more.
The dining at the Downtown Aquarium attracts many visitors who would otherwise pass this location by. The Aquarium Restaurant, which offers both seafood and other meal choices, provides seating around a 150,000-gallon aquarium, so guests are face-to-face with stingrays, sawfish, and other sea creatures while eating. They also serve guests at the Dive Lounge, which is an upscale bar for adults-only that features Happy Hour every weekday and has drink specials every day. They're available for catering and the restaurant and lounge can both be rented out for special events, making this a great Denver location for a banquet or meeting.
Landry's Downtown Aquarium offers group tours or you can walk through the space on your own. The can also accommodate larger groups, like schools. Their exhibits are open from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM every Sunday through Thursday, with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant opens daily at 11:00 AM. For more information, interested guests can call the aquarium at 303-561-4450 to learn more.