Key West Aquarium

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Key West Aquarium
Key West Aquarium.jpg
Front of the aquarium
Date opened 1934
Location Key West, Florida, United States
Coordinates 24°33′33″N 81°48′26″W / 24.5590437°N 81.8073156°W / 24.5590437; -81.8073156Coordinates: 24°33′33″N 81°48′26″W / 24.5590437°N 81.8073156°W / 24.5590437; -81.8073156

The Key West Aquarium is the only public aquarium in Key West, Florida, United States. It is located at 1 Whitehead Street and is marked by Historic Marker 52.


Inside the aquarium

Built between 1932 and 1934, the Key West Aquarium is one of Florida's oldest aquariums. Original admission was 15 cents for adults and 5 cents for children.[1]

The aquarium was conceived by Dr. Robert Van Deusen, the Director of the Fairmount Park Aquarium in Philadelphia.[2] The aquarium was originally an open air aquarium, one of the first and largest at the time.

During the Great Depression, Key West turned over its charter to the federal government due to the economic disaster that hit the island. The federal government believed Key West's weather and location, would make it an ideal tourist destination. The Works Project Administration (WPA) was sent in and built the tourist attraction.[2]


The aquarium is home to exhibits on alligators, atlantic shores, jellyfish, shark feedings, sea turtle conservation, and a touch tank.[3]

Relevance in pop culture[edit]

James Merrill wrote about the Key West Aquarium in his poem Key West Aquarium: The Sawfish.[4]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "key west aquarium Archives - Key West Shipwreck Museum". Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  2. ^ a b "Marker Details - Key West Historic Markers Project". Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  3. ^ "Key West Aquarium Exhibits". Key West Aquarium. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  4. ^ Materer, Timothy (2008-06-13). "James Merrill's Late Poetry: AIDS and the "Stripping Process"". Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory. 64 (2): 123–145. doi:10.1353/arq.0.0005. ISSN 1558-9595.