431 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 208 - 9200
Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
DescriptionThe Long Island Aquarium is located at 431 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY. There is no parking lot adjacent to the building. A municipal lot with three handicapped spaces is located across the street. If that doesn't work you can drop passengers off in front of the building and park in the dedicated parking lots about a block away (look for the signs).
Cobblestones take one to the street level, double door entrance. The aquarium is fully accessible, with plenty of room to move around. The upper level can be accessed by stairs or elevator. The outdoor areas are paved or stone. A ramp gets one easily to the Sea Lion Coliseum, where you will find dedicated wheelchair and handicapped seating in the front row.There are many benches and seats around the venue.
Multi-stall, handicapped accessible restrooms, with baby-changing stations, are located on the main level.
The cafe offers a variety of snacks and more. Both indoor and outdoor seating are easily accessible.
- Terrain: flat
Places to rest: bench outside of main entrance
Paths and walkways: paved and cobblestone
Doors: double doors
Number of floors: 2
Ramps: Sea Lion Coliseum
Steps and staircases: stairs to second floor
Width of aisles: roomy galleries
Places to sit: some seating on each floor
Location of restrooms: main floor
Type of restroom: multi-stall, handicapped accessible, with baby-changing station
Ease of entry and exit: OK
Baby changing station: yes
Available food services: ** cafe on main level
Friendliness of staff: pleasant and helpful
Notes: * There is no parking lot adjacent to the Aquarium. Three handicapped spaces are located in small municipal lot across the street Otherwise, drop passengers off and park in dedicated Aquarium lot about two blocks away.** Cafe offers indoor and easily accessible outdoor seating, plus a picnic area with tables and chairs.
The Long Island Aquarium is located on Main Street in Riverhead, Long Island. As the website states it “takes visitors on a magical journey through a wide range of exhibits that bring undersea wonders to life.”
The aquarium is open daily. We decided to go on a Thursday when the admission is half price for seniors (from October to May). Driving down Main Street in Riverhead, one cannot miss the big blue building with the pillars, seal pond and large rocks. Quite impressive!
On a weekday, when there are no crowds, parking is readily available in the municipal lot across the street with three designated handicapped spaces. When crowds arrive, additional parking is located a block away. If needed, passengers can be let out in front of the building. There is a flat cobblestone walkway leading to two sets of double glass doors, a small entry way, and another two sets of double doors opening into the large interior of the aquarium.
The entire aquarium is wheelchair accessible. Everyone can feed the fish from the wooden bridge overlooking the fish ponds. Wandering around the spacious interior we found tanks filled with beautiful fish, coral, and of course big, scary sharks. The Lost City Shark Exhibit is a 120,000 gallon tank filled with sharks and supported by pillars engraved with stories and pictures depicting the myth of the City of Atlantis. The Aquarium “blends science and nature with myth to create an informative and entertaining environment for visitors of all ages.” (website) Looking at the many tanks, including the Western Hemisphere’s largest all-living Coral Reef display, we were mesmerized by the beauty of it all. The colors looked like they were painted and it was fascinating to see the sea creatures up close. A staircase or elevator can take one to the second story to view the shark tank from above.
There are attractions outside the building as well. We had a lot of fun with an adorable African penguin at the Penguin Pavilion. He came right up to the glass in front of us and whenever we moved our fingers on the glass, he would follow with his head. This was as up close and personal as we have ever gotten with a penguin. After this experience we walked over to the Sea Lion Coliseum to watch the show. There is a ramp to the theater and the front row has dedicated wheelchair and handicapped seating. The show was most enjoyable, with “Bunker” the star, showing off her tricks.
Some exhibits are seasonal and others are open only on weekends. There are also experiences offered at additional charges. Make sure to check the website. There are many places to sit, both inside and out.
Multi-stall, handicapped accessible restrooms, with baby-changing stations are located on the main level.
We looked at the cafe, which offers a variety of snacks and more. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a picnic area.
Inside the building, on the other side of the entrance, we found an exhibition hall housing birds and butterflies. Being inside is like being in a hot, humid rain-forest. The inhabitants are gorgeous, but you have to be careful not to leave with a butterfly on your shoulder.
As we were leaving we came upon the touch tank where we found a number of families with little ones touching the sting rays. It is quite a large tank with many fish so that everyone can easily get a touch!
Of course, no visit would be complete without a stop at one of the two gift shops, which of course, we did.
As always, we at Destination Accessible, advise you to check a venue’s website, www.longislandaquarium.com, when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”