ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Visit to the Long Island Riverhead Aquarium & Foundation

Updated on May 25, 2018
Catherine Stolfi profile image

Catherine is an independent research consultant at NASA Langley with degrees in English, Biology, and Environmental Science (M.S.).

Japanese Snow Monkeys
Japanese Snow Monkeys | Source
California Sea Lion
California Sea Lion | Source
Shark Cage
Shark Cage | Source

It was a sunny, cold winter day and I found myself at the crowded Long Island Aquarium and exhibition center in, Riverhead, NY where there was plenty to do, see and interact with on this cold weekend day. You wouldn’t think that an indoor/outdoor aquarium is the place to visit in the middle of the winter season but it’s actually a great time to see all the exhibits with less crowds and the animals native to colder environments feel more like home. Towards the end of the winter in March and April, the foundation that works within the aquarium hosts seal cruises.

You can start your time at the aquarium by making your way to either the Touch Tank to your left or by walking over the wooden bridge under the Sand Shark Lagoon to your right from the entrance. Looking to either side of the lagoon, you’ll see a mini panorama of Long Island from the bluffs and rocky beaches of the north shore to the dunes and salt marshes of the South. The bridge is the walkway that leads to the rest of the aquarium, after crossing it you make your way to the indoor view tanks. Here, you’ll see electric eels, piranhas, puffer fish, seahorses and tropical schooling fish.

Turn the corner to reach the centerpiece of this tank room, the Shark Tank designed after the ruins of the Lost City of Atlantis. Ominous looking Sand Tiger Sharks, bottom-dwelling Nurse Sharks and a massive Queensland grouper all reside here. You’ll also find “Jaws,” a 300-lb. loggerhead sea turtle as well as those visitors brave enough to jump in the shark tank cage. This extreme adventure shark dive puts you face to face with the shark species in their 120,000-gallon tank. For a fee, they provide all the necessary diving gear along with a shark lesson and photograph of your dive.

We knew it was time to brave the cold weather and head outside for the outdoor exhibits. You’ll find the outdoor animals in their natural environment in this cold climate, finding Snow Monkeys, Sea Otters and Penguins feeling right at home. Even though most regular outdoor activities are closed, such as the snorkeling adventure and Koi pond, the aquarium still kept to the scheduled feeding times for the Sea Lions in their sea lion stadium-seating pavilion. It was a shorter show than their regular warm weather 45-minute Sea Lion Show, with just a few feeding tricks and jumps from the intelligent and playful California Sean Lions.

Penguins 360 View
Penguins 360 View | Source
Tropical Fish
Tropical Fish | Source
Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle | Source

Head over to the Ancient Reptile Ruins to find crocodiles, turtles and green iguanas in this small exhibit building separate from the main room. Around the corner in the Lost Temple of Atlantis is the Japanese Snow Monkeys, which is native to the mountain forests of Japan. They can survive freezing temperatures, are highly intelligent and you can find them soaking in the “natural” hot springs in this exhibition area.

You can get up close and personal at the Penguin exhibit where those short enough to crawl down into the 360 degree viewing bubble, can find themselves surrounded by the African penguin on all sides of you. If you get hungry, have a snack at their cafeteria for some various fried food options.

The rescue center at the aquarium is home to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, an educational center where those interested in the rescue efforts taking place on Long Island for its resident animals and sea life can learn about it. The foundation is a not-for-profit dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of seals, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and porpoises, all endangered species facing the threat of extinction. You can donate, adopt a seal or just learn about these efforts at the center.

The Riverhead Foundation also hosts annual seal cruises towards the end of the inter season in March and April. They sail from Freeport, Long Island to view winter harbor seal populations throughout Hempstead Bay. They try to make the winter trek as comfortable as possible for the travelers with a heated cabin and warm beverages available.

Even though it’s the middle of winter doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the shores, animals and wildlife of Long Island. Put on those gloves, scarf and winter hat and head out east for a great day out.

Photos above were taking during my visit.

For more information on the aquarium and the Riverhead foundation, please visit Long Island Aquarium- Riverhead, NY, Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation

More in Nature, Animals & Conservation

Marine Turtles: Few Survivors in their Natural Lifecycle, but Endangered due to Anthropogenic Interference

Illegal Ivory Trade on the Rise in Africa; Poaching for Elephant Tusks

Natural Pet Food for a Healthier Pet



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)