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The Florida Aquarium 

Among the many world-class attractions with easy reach of us here at the Westshore Grand is one huge celebration of underwater marvels: the Florida Aquarium!

Whether it’s our voluminous freshwater springs and sparkling lakes, our unique subtropical swamps and marshlands, or the biologically profuse waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, our neck of the woods is just about the perfect place to explore aquatic life and ecosystems. And that’s just what the Florida Aquarium promises: an introduction for visitors young and old to the magic—and fragility—of the liquid realm.

Exhibits at the Florida Aquarium

The general layout of the aquarium is structured around the regional water cycle, evoking the journey one droplet issued from an inland spring takes en route to the fathoms of the Gulf. Get to know alligators, river otters, roseate spoonbills, mangroves, and even the notorious invasive Burmese python on the Wetlands Trail; pet a stingray and lock eyes with a goggle-eyed goliath grouper in the Bays & Beaches exhibit; and step inside an indoor coral reef prowled by moray eels, sand tiger sharks, great barracudas, and sea turtles—to name a few of the installations depicting local waters.

The Florida Aquarium’s lens isn’t restricted to the Sunshine State, though: In Dragons Down Under, you’ll be astonished by the intricate, miniature beauty of sea dragons, seahorses, and pipefish from Australasian (and local) depths, while Journey to Madagascar shows off some of the most unique critters in the world from that Indian Ocean island—from ring-tailed lemurs and Madagascar tortoises to geckoes, chameleons, and those delightful hissing cockroaches.

Other Aquarium Attractions

Besides the exhibits themselves, the Florida Aquarium runs a whole host of visitor experiences: among them behind-the-scenes looks at penguin feeding and care, hands-on interactions with the facility’s Animal Ambassadors, and 75-minute catamaran cruises in search of wild dolphins.

Upcoming Events at the Florida Aquarium: Saint Nick, etc.

And keep an eye on the Florida Aquarium calendar, too, because the place regularly holds special events. In the near term, Santa Claus will be swinging by on Saturdays during the holiday season (November 25 and December 2, 9, 16, and 23) for photos and maybe a little diving, while on December 23 the Florida Aquarium’s catamaran, Bay Spirit II, will ferry guests along the dazzling (literally) Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Boat Parade of Lights.

Peer Underwater (While Staying Dry) During Your Next Westshore Grand Getaway!

When you avail yourself of Starwood Tribute Portfolio hospitality at the Westshore Grand, you’re just a short drive or public-transit ride away from the Florida Aquarium, so don’t miss out on meeting the feathered, finned, and scaly denizens calling this regional treasure home!

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