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Due to the remote location of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, about 115 miles offshore, most people will never get a chance to see it. So how can we get people interested enough to care about preserving it? One way is to share the wonders of the sanctuary through exhibits and messaging at aquariums and zoos.

Following is an alphabetical listing of some of our zoo and aquarium partners. We encourage you to visit them!

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Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens

Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens, located in Galveston, TX, is the closest aquarium to the sanctuary offices. In May 2017, the aquarium held a grand re-opening following two years of renovations, including a small Flower Garden Banks exhibit.

View of the Flower Garden Banks exhibit in the Aquarium at Moody Gardens

The new exhibit can be viewed from the public area leading to the Caribbean tunnel exhibit, and also from a behind-the-scenes meeting/event area.

Also included in the renovation is a large oil/gas platform exhibit, for which the sanctuary provided images and inspiration for several creature models now on display.

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Cameron Park Zoo

Cameron Park Zoo, located in Waco, TX, is the only zoo facility that currently houses a Flower Garden Banks exhibit.

This 50,000-gallon exhibit is part of the Brazos River Country Exhibit, which opened in July 2005. It features a journey up the Brazos River from the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors to the exhibit get a chance to see the reef and part of the watershed that impacts it.

View of the Flower Gardens exhibit at Cameron Park Zoo.

An interactive sanctuary kiosk was installed in the exhibit area in 2010 to enhance the visitor experience. We have also provided continuing education opportunities for zoo staff and visitors over the past several years.

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Children's Aquarium at Fair Park

The Children's Aquarium at Fair Park is located in Dallas, TX at the state fairgrounds near the Cotton Bowl.

Aquairum with tropical fish and artificial corals.

This small aquarium, associated with the Dallas Zoo, was originally built in 1936, but was give a complete overhaul in 2009-2010. The current design includes a saltwater wing that introduces visitors to nearshore and offshore animals as well as a variety of habitats, including the Flower Garden Banks sanctuary.

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Tennessee Aquarium

Tennessee Aquarium, located in Chattanooga, TN, opened a $30 million Ocean Journey building in April 2005. The centerpiece of this expansion is an immense replica of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. (Photo: Joyce & Frank Burek)

View of the Secret Reef exhibit at Tennessee Aquarium.

This 618,000-gallon saltwater exhibit, the Secret Reef, gives visitors a realistic view of the huge, boulder coral formations that form the reef structure at East and West Flower Garden Banks, as well as the abundant wildlife that depend on them.

Aquarium staff worked closely with the sanctuary to ensure the accuracy of the exhibit and its accompanying information. Several of the aquarium staff also visited the sanctuary in August 2004 for an informational workshop and a first hand look. The sanctuary still participates in occasional continuing education activities with aquarium staff, volunteers, and members.


This video takes a look through just one of 33 viewing panels into the exhibit. A variety of tropical fishes, southern stingrays, and sandbar sharks swim by the window as the video progresses. (Video Length - 0:31)

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Texas State Aquarium

Texas State Aquarium, located in Corpus Christi, TX, has had a Flower Gardens exhibit since it opened in 1990, before Flower Garden Banks even became a sanctuary! This 40,000-gallon exhibit showcases the coral reefs of the sanctuary and a variety of fishes. Guests can also enjoy daily Diver in the Water presentations.

Flower Garden Banks exhibit area at the Texas State Aquarium.

Sanctuary staff worked with the aquarium from 2009-2011 to update the exhibit area. Videos now provide short presentations about Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, the National Marine Sanctuary System, coral reefs, coral spawning, deepwater habitats, and sharks and rays, in both English and Spanish.

In addition, exhibit graphics were replaced, new fish ID videos were installed, and new display elements were added. Upgrades to the exhibit lighting and dive equipment were also added to make the Diver in the Water presentations even more effective.

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