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Open Sea

Out to sea and on the go—life's in constant motion in the open ocean. Welcome to the Aquarium's largest exhibit, a place where tuna speed past, sardines swarm in huge, glittering schools, and sea turtles swim lazily across the 90-foot window. Nearby, colorful puffins await their next meal, and brilliant jellies pulse through the water.

Exhibit Highlights

You're watching video highlights of daily activity in this exhibit.

In this Exhibit

Scalloped hammerhead shark

With that wide, thick head shaped like a double-headed hammer, it's easy to identify a hammerhead shark. The shark's eyes and nostrils are located at the extreme ends of its head, which may give it added lift and let it make sharper turns than other sharks.

Green sea turtle

Sea turtles travel far, riding currents across the ocean. Females return to the same beach each year, using magnetic clues as a map, and lay close to 100 eggs each. She then buries them under a sandy blanket and returns to the sea.

Tufted puffin

Its bright colors have earned the tufted puffin the nickname, "parrot of the sea," but this beautiful bird is at home on land as well. In early spring, its beak and feet turn a vibrant orange in preparation for breeding season.

Pelagic stingray

Unlike other rays, which spend most of their time buried on the sandy seafloor, pelagic stingrays spend their time in open waters. They are distinguished by their diamond-shaped bodies with rounded snouts and streamlined eyes that don't protrude from their bodies. Pelagic rays are dark purplish above and purplish to gray underneath. This coloration makes the rays harder for predators to see from above, as their dark backs blend with dark waters below, making these rays almost "disappear" from view.

Crystal jelly

Graceful and nearly transparent, these jellies have long, delicate tentacles. They can expand their mouths when feeding to swallow jellies more than half their size. When disturbed, they give off a green-blue glow under special lighting because of more than 100 tiny, light-producing organs surrounding their outer bell. They're harvested for their luminescent aequorin, used in neurological and biological experiments to detect calcium.

More Open Sea Animals

Cool Facts

  • This exhibit was designed with sharks in mind—the hourglass shape gives our large sharks plenty of room to glide and turn. Gliding helps sharks get rid of metabolic wastes in muscle tissue.
  • Giant sea bass can reach 500 pounds but are so gentle they like to have their chins scratched by divers during feedings.
  • This exhibit holds 350,000 gallons of water and the acrylic windows are three to four inches thick.

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