About this Project

Texas State Aquarium will celebrate its grand opening of the Caribbean Journey on May 13, 2017.

The Texas State Aquarium’s Caribbean Journey is bringing the sights and sounds of the Yucatan Peninsula to the shores of South Texas. At 71,000 square feet, Caribbean Journey will more than double the Aquarium’s indoor exhibit space, guiding our guests on an adventure through the tropical forests, coastal lagoons, and coral reefs to come face-to-face with sharks, flamingos, bats, tropical fish, and other exotic species.

Caribbean Journey will inspire and educate our guests and further the Aquarium’s mission to engage people with animals, inspire conservation for our seas, and support wildlife conservation. With Caribbean Journey nearing completion, the Aquarium is in position to become a global leader in fostering support for the conservation of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Caribbean Journey is a project more than 30 years in the making, having been our founders’ vision since even before the Aquarium opened in 1990. With this vision about to become a reality, we have launched Campaign Caribbean to complete the final phases of this project with the support of our community and partners.


Sign up to be a Caribbean Journey Insider

Fields marked with a * are required.


Here’s what you can expect when Caribbean Journey opens on May 13, 2017:

New Facilities and Exhibits

  • 71,000 square feet of additional exhibit space
  • 400,000-gallon H-E-B Caribbean Sea shark habitat
  • Scenic event space for weddings, parties, and corporate gatherings in the Skyline Venue
  • Top floor view of the Corpus Christi Bayfront
  • Whataburger 100-seat 4D Theater – the only one in South Texas
  • Hands-on experiences and interactive exhibits
  • Conservation and wildlife rehabilitation programs
  • New Flint Hills Resources Center for Excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education

Reserve your Caribbean Journey event today


Exotic Species

  • Reef sharks
  • Caribbean flamingos
  • Vampire bats
  • Jamaican fruit bats
  • Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth
  • Brazilian agoutis
  • Keel-billed toucans
  • Macaws
  • Boa constrictors
  • Poison dart frogs
  • Scarlet ibises
  • Morolet’s crocodiles
  • …and more

Meet new Caribbean species on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


Economic Boost 

  • $69 million estimated overall economic impact
  • 725 jobs
  • $20 million in salaries
  • $10 million in hotel room sales
  • $5 million generated for local taxing districts

Learn more about the economic impact


The Mayan Ruins in Caribbean Journey’s jungle.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere, located in Mexico’s Eastern Yucatan Peninsula.

Sneak Peek

Upon entering Caribbean Journey, you will be immediately immersed in the vibrant sights and sounds of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve, an incredibly biodiverse region in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Sian-Ka’an contains lush rainforests, coastal lagoons, coral reefs brimming with life, and underground rivers called cenotes, all of which will be faithfully recreated in Caribbean Journey.

You will begin your journey in the tropical forest and traverse through several types of habitats, exploring cenotes, caves, lagoons, and even ancient Mayan ruins before diving into the Caribbean Sea. On your adventure, you’ll have up-close encounters with exotic Caribbean species, including sharks, bats, tropical birds, flamingos, tropical fish, and even a sloth.

You’ll feel as if they’ve been magically transported to the Yucatan Peninsula, and will leave not only in awe at your experience but with a greater appreciation of our seas and the need to preserve them for future generations.

Take a virtual walk through Caribbean Journey.


(click to enlarge) (click to enlarge) (click to enlarge)
The Karst Pool in Caribbean Journey’s jungle exhibit, which will hold crocodiles. The jungle exhibit of Caribbean Journey, featuring a touch pool, Mayan Ruins, and an overlook into the reef exhibits below. The H-E-B Caribbean Sea Shark Overlook, where guests can see sharks swimming below.
(click to enlarge) (click to enlarge)
The 68-foot display window of the H-E-B Caribbean Sea Shark exhibit, featuring reef sharks and a replica shipwreck. The coral reef and Blue Hole exhibits, featuring tropical Caribbean fish and other species.
Follow Our Progress

Caribbean Journey’s construction is now in its final phases. In July 2016, we reached a major milestone by installing the 152-foot diameter skylight which will provide natural sunlight to the tropical lowland forest exhibit. Construction crews have finished adding many realistic touches to transform the space into the Yucatan Peninsula’s jungle, including tropical plants, coral, stonework, and the Mayan Ruins.  Read below to see the latest updates, take a live look at the construction site, and hear from our staff on the latest developments.


Latest Updates

  • 85% complete
  • Mosaic installed in entryway
  • Coral work and stonework completed
  • Exhibits filled with seawater
  • Adding tropical plants and trees
  • Acclimating terrestrial and aquatic animals to their new home

COO Jesse Gilbert describes the latest updates to Caribbean Journey:



Construction Cam:

Take a live look at Caribbean Journey’s construction!


Construction Photos:


The Mayan Ruins in Caribbean Journey’s jungle.


    Become a Caribbean Journey Insider

    Get the latest news on Caribbean Journey, delivered straight to your inbox. Our Caribbean Journey Insiders are among the first to know about the progress of Caribbean Journey.

    Sign up below to be an Insider!


    Fields marked with a * are required.
    How You Can Help

    Everyone has an opportunity to be a part of this incredible new expansion. Our supporters help us make Caribbean Journey a place where families can come to learn, bond, and discover together. In recognition of their generosity, our supporters can leave their permanent mark on Caribbean Journey, learn about the latest developments, and even receive invitations to exclusive Caribbean Journey events and tours. Read on to see how you can help and what you’ll receive in return.


    Become a Founder

    We are kicking off the Caribbean Journey Founder’s Campaign and hope you will join us!  Caribbean Journey Founders are those individuals or businesses who make a $1,000 or above contribution to the new Caribbean Journey expansion.  Contributors at this level will be permanently recognized on the Caribbean Journey Founder’s Wall.

    Contact Courtney McLain to see how else you can help:

    Courtney McLain
    VP Development