The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is scaling up with its new Great Maya Reef exhibit, following a recent, $1-million overhaul of the facility. Interactive displays, 47 species of aquatic critters and a 30-foot-long underwater tunnel immerse visitors in a sub-sea adventure while combining the ecological diversity of the Yucatan Peninsula with the history of the ancient Mayans. Silvery sheets of false pilchards greet guests from a 5,000-gallon tank before they dive deep below the 130,000-gallon main display.
The submerged tunnel allows a near 360-degree view: Stand eye-to-eye with stingrays; watch schools of yellow snapper swim overhead. Reefs rise above the tunnel, giving the impression visitors are gliding through an underwater canyon. King Copan awaits at the end, providing both a history lesson and a home for a green moray eel.