Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Greater Cleveland Aquarium: World’s Longest Underwater “Sea Tube”

Cleveland Aquarium

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Over Memorial Day, we drove to Cleveland, and remarkably, only had to separate the kids once during the drive. The invisible line I painted down the middle of the back seat lasted nearly 8 hours before it was infiltrated. I consider that time frame a good ROI on the invisible paint.

We were pleasantly surprised by all there is to do in Cleveland. We visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, of course, and the delightfully quirky world’s largest rubber stamp. Another stop on our itinerary was the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, a new attraction and home to the World’s Longest Underwater “Sea Tube.”

Okay, what was so cool about it?

The Sea Tube is the main attraction in this aquarium, which itself is relatively small (the world’s largest aquarium is in Atlanta, GA).  There is only one floor of exhibits, and it took us less than two hours to make our way through the themed galleries, including: Ohio Lakes & Rivers; Exotic Freshwater; Florida Keys; Tropical Reef, and Weird & Wonderful.

For young children, the manageable size is a definite advantage. Many of the tanks were positioned low to the ground, as well, so little ones get a great view. I can imagine they go through a lot of window cleaner with all those wee noses pressed up against the glass!

Cleveland aquarium

Bet they purchase their Windex at Costco!

Walking through the clear, 145-foot long tunnel was almost an Alice in Wonderland experience. It felt like we had been shrunk and were walking under a household fish tank. A nice, well-kept tank with plenty of exotic species. Not the murky tank which sits in our living room, inhabited by our two white County Fair goldfish: “Goldie,” and his blind life partner, “Fishie.”

Sea Tube

World's Longest Underwater "Sea Tube!"

The tube travels the length of the Shark Tank, home to 15 species of sharks in a shipwreck set.  While we were there, workers in dive gear were cleaning the inside of the tube, which greatly entertained The Girl. Bonus: they waved to her, making her giggle.

Another highlight of our visit was the giant Coastal Touch Tank. You know I’m a bit germaphobic. My worst nightmares are usually set in a petting zoo. But this exhibit was spotless. It didn’t even smell, like some of these tanks can. A stepstool was conveniently provided for small kids, and The Girl didn’t hesitate. She passed on the offer to touch a sting ray, choosing instead a few different shelled creatures: a helmet crab, slipper lobster, and starfish.

touch tank

Go ahead honey. Mommy is ready with the antibacterial wipes, gel, and spray.

The aquarium’s location, set within the historic Powerhouse building, provides a lot of architectural interest. It’s located in the West Bank of the Flats, a grittier neighborhood, off the beaten path. Because of the building’s historic status, the 70,000-square-foot aquarium couldn’t make many structural changes. They worked well with the brick walls and thick wooden beams. You’ll find small aquariums set within brick arches, and even at the bottom of the old steaming chimney.

fish tank

Look up! It’s a tank of Spiny Lobsters set at the bottom of the Powerhouse’s former steaming chimney.

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list): 

Entertaining, especially if you love aquariums, but this relatively small attraction is mostly a passive experience.

Hey you! Go BIG!

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

2000 Sycamore Street, Cleveland, 216-862-8803


  1. Mike said,
    July 19, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    I LOVE those aquarium tubes. Can’t imagine that Cleveland is on our short list of places we’ll soon visit, but when we do, I will add this location to our list of spots to see. Thanks for the post.

  2. maq203 said,
    July 20, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    I love the whole concept of your site and adore checking in to see what your family is up to. Keep the oversized posts coming!

  3. Tour Explora said,
    July 24, 2012 @ 12:32 am

    Very great Sea World/ Very like to visit there one day

  4. July 24, 2012 @ 3:47 am

    The little girl did look she had the greatest time. I once brought my family to AQWA, and we all had a great time. It’s good to educate the kids to different animals, to see them in person rather than just on books. My nephew was amazed by the grey nurse shark, and I was like “that’s one hell of a fish”. O_O

  5. Lily said,
    July 25, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    Wow, this is awesome !!!

  6. Zoe French said,
    July 26, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    This aquarium looks like so much fun–and quite the learning experience! It must be so cool to be surrounded by water and sharks in that tube!

  7. August 1, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    I love wavepools. That sky ledge tho. HECK NO hahah. I would be so scared. Love this blog too btw 😀

  8. Adam Sommer said,
    August 3, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

    Wow, I did not realize that Cleveland had an aquarium! Looks amazing…I’ll have to add it to my list of places to go!

  9. Dorothy said,
    August 3, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    Hi Traci, What a neat thing, a tubal vacation. Thanks for all the great photos & info. Love Dorothy

  10. Kali Slotnick said,
    August 27, 2012 @ 2:14 am

    Hey, that’s me in that wetsuit! =) I love my job, haha.

    Make sure you all check out and “like” the Greater Cleveland Aquarium’s facebook page for updates on special events, offers, and other neat tidbits. We are always changing our exhibits around to keep things fresh for our annual pass holders, and just recently we have added two species of jellyfish, an amazing octopus, and adorable little cuttlefish to our collection!

    • Traci Suppa said,
      August 27, 2012 @ 8:32 am

      Thanks for checking in, Kali! You have the BEST job!

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  2. May 15, 2013 @ 5:09 am

    […] We have also found that “second-tier” cities, meaning the places that aren’t at the top of everone’s list, are eager for visitors and priced accordingly. We’ve had great trips to places like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio. […]