You’ll find a lot more than memories of Cleveland’s industrialized past along the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Instead, you’ll discover an attraction that draws fans both big and small – The Greater Cleveland Aquarium.
The aquarium is located inside The Powerhouse, a late 19th century brick landmark that generated electric power for Cleveland’s streetcar lines. Renovations for the aquarium, which opened in 2012, made the most of incorporating the building’s historic features.
Saltwater animals and glow-in-the-dark jellyfish now live in parts of two former smokestacks. The building’s old coal tunnel houses exhibits and giant steel girders frame a touch pool where the brave can stroke stingrays as they glide by.
The aquarium features 5,000 creatures, including everything from Great Lake perch (which you can also find at fish fries all around town) to more exotic lionfish, sea anemones, crustaceans and sea horses.
A 230,000-gallon SeaTube is home to sharks, stingrays, moray eels and salt-water fish, which swim above and alongside visitors. This very-cool, walk-through tunnel stretches for 175 feet.
Interaction is a priority here – and it shows. You won’t find robotized exhibits where visitors push an ambiguous button and hear a voiceover description of what they may or may not see in the tank. Instead, passionate aquarium employees mingle with guests, sharing interesting facts, leading hands-on demonstrations and answering important questions like, “Ew, what is that thing?!”
The aquarium also offers plenty of extras for visitors who really want to get wet. There are behind-the-scenes tours and feeding opportunities. And, for those visitors who are certified divers, they can book time to actually swim with the sharks. Cool photo opp pretty much guaranteed, right?
The aquarium also offers overnight stays for families several times a year for those who’d like to purposely “sleep with the fishes.”