About Us

Blue and red aquarium building and grounds in summertime.

The mission of Great Lakes Aquarium (GLA) is “to engage and inspire, encouraging stewardship of wildlife and water.” GLA is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.

The Aquarium began as a dream in 1989 when Lake Superior Center incorporated as an organization devoted to freshwater education. Great Lakes Aquarium opened its doors on the Duluth waterfront in 2000 and has been growing and changing ever since. The Aquarium features animals and habitats found within the Great Lakes Basin as well as animals from other freshwater ecosystems such as the Amazon River. It also features global galleries designed to interpret marine (saltwater) animals and habitat. The Aquarium is home to North America’s largest sturgeon touchpool and several marine touchpools.

Great Lakes Aquarium provides on-site and outreach educational programming to learners of all ages. Daily interpretive programs give guests the opportunity to learn more about resident animals while watching them eat, play or interact with our staff. In addition, classes and formal programming engage more than 10,000 pre-K-12 grade students each year. Teacher workshops and visiting speakers provide enriching experiences for adults.

The Aquarium may also be rented for receptions, proms and other special events.