Despite being landlocked, Minnesota offers views of some of nature’s most beautiful and mysterious creatures. From the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium to the Minnesota Zoo & Aquarium, you have the chance to get up close and personal with marine life you, otherwise, would never have encountered.

Photo Credit: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium
Mall of America
120 E. Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 883-0202

Located in Bloomington’s Mall of America, the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium is a year-round attraction. Besides the more adventurous options of snorkeling along side stingrays and sharks, getting married underwater, the aquarium offers exhibits, specials, and even birthday celebration packages for children, including infants and toddlers.

Sharks After Dark

Teens, adults and children can enjoy complimentary nacho bar snacks and dance to live DJ music after dark, starting at 9 p.m. until midnight. Specialty drinks are available on the Sky Deck along with four-hour unlimited Sky Deck game card, all included with admission fee of $22, or $15 for seniors if it’s the first Monday of the month.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Minnesota

Great Lakes Aquarium
353 Harbor Drive
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 740-FISH (3474)

Located on the waterfront, Great Lakes Aquarium opened a new exhibit in 2014 called “Shipwrecks Alive!” This new exhibit invites museum visitors to explore the world of sunken ships and the impact on marine life and underwater habitats in different parts of the world. In addition to special exhibits, the aquarium maintains daily scheduled programs. Educational programs are available to adults, children and teachers. Adults who are SCUBA certified can become SCUBA volunteers. Children and teens can learn to SCUBA dive through arrangements between the aquarium and the state’s school administrators. For couples, the Great Lakes Aquarium is a great location for weddings.

Shipwrecks Alive! Exhibit

Shipwrecks Alive! is open every Monday until October 26, 2015; during November and December, the exhibit is open Mondays and Tuesdays. Watch sea mammals fill their plates on the coral reef and observe their strategies for food gathering. The exhibit showcases three different parts of the world – Lake Superior, the South Pacific, and the Mediterranean Sea –  and how marine life can transform shipwrecks into unique habitats and eco-systems for their survival.

(credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Minnesota Zoo & Aquarium
13000 Zoo Blvd.
Apple Valley, MN 55124
(952) 431-9200
(800) 366.7811: Toll Free

The Minnesota Zoo & Aquarium is a great place where aquatic life intermingles with land-roving animals. Visitors can watch a bear training demo, or they can observe the serenity of sea turtles and other aquatic mammals in their coral reef habitat. Many coral reef and other marine species, such as the sea turtle, are on the endangered list. But visitors are invited to sponsor a sea turtle and learn more about marine life conservation.

Tropical Reef Dive Show

During your visit to the Minnesota Zoo & aquarium, be sure to make time for the tropical reef dive show. Patrons can watch the aquarium staff scuba dive and swim among sharks and other fish and marine life you would find among coral reefs. For optimal viewing, the dive takes place in tanks with floor-to-ceiling glass barriers. Shows are daily, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Linda Cameron has written home design, home improvement and lifestyle articles for The Boston Globe and City Shopper Magazine. She has related interests in the building industry, travel, real estate and financing. She is a contributor to Examiner, House Spot, Techsling and Behance, covering topics on career, people, businesses, education and technology.