01/19/2013 07:38 am ET Updated Mar 21, 2013

7 Amazing American Aquariums For Families

Every year, millions of us come face-to-face with stingrays, squid, and sharks -- and we do it without ever leaving dry land. Aquariums are much more than just over-sized fish tanks, offering a wonderful opportunity for us to discover an underwater world and view aquatic creatures up close.

It's not surprising that the best aquariums also tend to be the most kid-friendly, providing a fun environment that fosters discovery through hands-on exhibits to spark interest and kindle a life-long appreciation for conservation. Here are seven of America's best aquariums for families:

--Dave Parfitt of Adventures by Daddy contributed this to

7 Amazing American Aquariums for Families