New York Aquarium in New York City
The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896. Since 1957, it has been located on the boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The aquarium is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as part of its integrated system of four zoos and one aquarium, most notably the Bronx Zoo. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The facility occupies 14 acres and boasts over 350 species of aquatic wildlife. Its mission is to raise public awareness about issues facing the ocean and its inhabitants with special exhibits, public events and research. At the Aquarium’s Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences (OLMS), several studies were conducted investigating such topics as dolphin cognition, satellite tagging of sharks, and coral reefs.
The New York Aquarium opened on December 10, 1896, at Castle Garden in Battery Park. Its first director was the respected fish expert, Dr. Tarleton Hoffman Bean (1895–1898). On October 31, 1902, the Aquarium was adopted into the care of what was then the New York Zoological Society. At the time, the Aquarium housed only 150 specimens of wildlife. Over time, its most famous director, the distinguished zoologist Charles Haskins Townsend, enlarged the collections considerably, and the Aquarium attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Early in October 1941, the Aquarium at Battery Park was controversially closed based on claims of NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses that the proposed construction of a tunnel from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn might undermine Castle Clinton's foundation. Many of the Aquarium’s sea creatures were temporarily housed at the Bronx Zoo until the new aquarium was built after World War II. On June 6, 1957, the Aquarium opened its doors at its new location in Coney Island, Brooklyn.