Coney Island is since 1896 the home of the New York Aquarium. This aquarium is the oldest aquarium in the United States that has been operating continuously. It was initially located in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan but it has been moved on the boardwalk in Coney Island ever since 1957. The place is managed by Wildlife Conservation Society and it is an integrating part of the system of four zoos managed by this society and among which counts the Bronx Zoo. Moreover, the New York Aquarium is accredited by the AZA or Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The first director of the New York Aquarium was a fish specialist, namely Dr. Hoffman Bea who managed the place until 1898. In 1902 the aquarium was taken over by the New York Zoological Society on a time when it hosted about 150 species of wildlife. The collection was however enlarged by the zoologist Townsend who dedicated his work to this purpose. As a result, the aquarium quickly became the main attraction in the island. The only moment when the aquarium was closed was in 1941 when the building of a tunnel that would connect Manhattan to Brooklyn threatened the foundation of the Castle Garden and as a result it had to be moved on the Coney Island.
The attraction is spread over 14 acres. It is the home of over 350 species of aquatic wildlife and its mission has been to raise the publicâs awareness regarding the multiple issues that the ocean faces. Moreover, the society managing it organizes special exhibits and public research as well as research. Some of the studies conducted as part of the research projects carried out by the Aquarium Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences were constructed around topics such as dolphin recognition, coral reefs or satellite tagging of sharks. The aquarium is still popular among the visitors of the Coney Island resort.