16 Ocean Books for Kids and Camden’s Beautiful Adventure Aquarium
One of our favorite local kid activities is going to the aquarium. We adore Adventure Aquarium, located across the bridge in New Jersey. Our children love to see hippos, fish, stingrays, and penguins. But this wouldn’t be our blog if we didn’t bring a little reading to the table. So, we’ve compiled our favorite ocean books for kids to enhance your trip. Whether you are planning a visit to Adventure Aquarium specifically, or an aquarium in general, we are sure that your children will love the ocean books below.
To head right to the Ocean Books for Kids list, click here.
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It’s so hard to decide where to start with Adventure Aquarium. There are multiple sections to review – the main ones being, Hippo Haven, The Shark Tunnel, and Stingray Beach Club in addition to the various smaller tanks and exhibits. Let’s start with Stingray Beach Club.
Stingray Beach Club
Stingray Beach Club is a giant touch tank filled with swimming sting rays. A few dozen of these spectacular creatures swim about happy to be pet by visitors. All of their barbs have been removed, so there is no threat of injury and apparently the stingrays quite like to be pet. It’s a quick stop, but gorgeously decorated!
Next up, the Shark Tunnel is amazing! As you walk through the tunnel, you are surrounded by sharks, sea turtles, and fish swimming around and above you. Standing in front of the wall of glass, face to face with deadly creatures inspires awe in everyone who experiences it. The sharks glide all around, seemly calm and at ease, minus the lines of teeth you can see peaking out. After going through the tunnel, you have an option to walk OVER it on the Shark Walk (a cable and netting open air experience) – if you dare.
Love sharks? Check out this list of shark books for kids.
Looking to get face to face with another set of deadly creatures? Head over to Hippo Haven! This incredible spot to come nose to nose with 2 Hippos. If you are lucky, you might even get a chance to see feedings. Watching those giant jaws crush whole heads of lettuce is pretty incredible. Our little ones love to spend time at this spot.
Adventure Aquarium is $29.99 for adults and $21.99 for children. It opens at 9:30 daily, staying open until 4 or 5 depending on the day of the week and season. For more information or to buy tickets, head to AdventureAquarium.com.
Ocean Books for Kids
The list below features some of our absolute favorite ocean books for kids. These books are perfect to bring to an aquarium, a day at the beach, or just for reading at bedtime. You’ll find a mix of fiction and non-fiction picture books sure to delight your favorite little reader.
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating
Discover the story of a woman who dared to dive, defy, and inspire. This is Shark Lady.
Learning about sharks: Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn’t think women should be scientists.
Sharks are beautiful: Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. Like Jack and the Beanstalk but under the sea, Eugenie dove down to discover a world of wonder beneath the water’s surface. She earned the name Shark Lady with her many discoveries about these beautiful creatures. Through her accomplishments, this star girl of the sea taught the world that sharks should be admired, not feared, and that women can do anything they set their minds to.
This is our favorite on the list of ocean books for kids.
Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan
From the creators of the gorgeous bestseller The Night Gardener comes a stunning new picture book about a young boy who sets sail to find a place his grandfather told him about…the spot where the ocean meets the sky.
It’s a good day for sailing.
Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.
Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!
Flotsam by David Weisner
A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam–anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep. A day at the beach is the springboard into a wildly imaginative exploration of the mysteries of the deep, and of the qualities that enable us to witness these wonders and delight in them.
Ocean: a Photicular book by Dan Kainen
A New York Times bestseller, Ocean is like being on a dive. Using Photicular technology, each image is like a 3-D movie on the page, delivering a rich, fluid visual experience. Open the book, and the reader is swept into the magic of an underwater world, face-to-face with a floating Yellow-Banded Sweetlips; with a glow-in-the-dark Deep-Sea Anglerfish; with a Sea Horse swaying in balletic motion; with a Sand Tiger Shark gliding along the ocean floor, its gaze haunting, its hook-toothed mouth gulping open and closed.
Yellow Kayak by Nina Laden
A child and his beloved best friend go on a grand sea adventure in this magical picture book by the author and artist who created If I Had a Little Dream.
You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend’s unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and you best friend at your side.
Dude! by Aaron Reynolds
Dude! You have to read this book.
It’s totally about this platypus and this beaver who are friends. They want to go surfing but dude, there’s this shark who’s in the ocean, too.
But don’t worry. This shark approaches and you’ll never guess what happens.
Kirkus Reviews named this one of their “BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2018” for a good laugh
Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Deep in the water,
Mr. Fish swims about
With his fish face stuck
In a permanent pout.
Can his pals cheer him up?
Will his pout ever end?
Is there something he can learn
From an unexpected friend?
Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny.
Aqualicious by Victoria Kann
Pinkalicious and her family go on a trip to the beach for a day of sun, fun, and sandcastles! The day gets even more exciting when Pinkalicious finds a mini-mermaid named Aqua while she’s collecting shells. Aqua wants to find her way home, and Pinkalicious and Peter decide to help—after they show her all of the pinkamazing things to do at the seashore!
Pearl by Molly Idle
Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Molly Idle dazzles with an original mermaid tale about how small, persistent actions can achieve great things.
Sometimes the tiniest light can shine the brightest! Like the other mermaids of the deep, Pearl longs to care for the endless beaches, coral reefs, and towering kelp forests of her vast ocean world. So when her mother asks her to tend to a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. It takes all her patience and determination to discover how even the littlest mermaid can transform the world.
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing.
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne
Once upon a time in France, a baby was born under the summer sun. His parents named him Jacques. As he grew, Jacques fell in love with the sea. He dreamed of breathing beneath the waves and swimming as gracefully as a fish. In fact, he longed to become a manfish. Jacques Cousteau grew up to become a champion of the seas and one of the best-known oceanographers in the world. In this lovely biography, poetic text and gorgeous paintings come together to create a portrait of Cousteau that is as magical as it is inspiring.
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
Kevin Sherry’s unabashed squid may be the biggest thing in this catalog, but he’s not too big for even the littlest kids to love. As the hubristic squid goes about bragging, babies and toddlers will get an eyeful of undersea life—from shrimp and jellyfish to turtles and more. With its snappy text and bright, bold artwork, this winning modern classic is guaranteed to have even the youngest of readers grabbing at pages and laughing along.
Layer by Layer: Under the Sea By Anne Rooney
Layer by Layer: Under the Sea explores the natural treasures hidden beneath the waves: fierce sharks, colorful fish, scuttling crustaceans, and other creatures that call the ocean home. Six interactive layered scenes with atmospheric sounds show a variety of ocean animals, with multiple layers for readers to peel away. As each layer is revealed, kids can follow the movements of the animals through the transforming scenes. On the final layer, a surprise completes the scene.
Wish for the Fish: All about Sea Creatures by Bonnie Worth
The Cat in the Hat, Sally, and Dick take an undersea voyage aboard the S.S. Undersea Glubber! Traveling down from the Sunny Zone to the Dark Zone to the Trench at the bottom, Captain Cat and his crew get up close and personal with the different life forms found at each level of the ocean. Along the way, they meet sharks, jellyfish, dolphins, manatees, whales, and sea cucumbers, to name just a few!
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs: The Story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation
All it takes is one: one coral gamete to start a colony, one person to make a difference, one idea to change the world. The ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world’s coral reefs—with hammer and glue, and grafts of newly grown coral—are the living legacy of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation.
Deep in the Ocean by Lucie Brunellière
A scientific team has boarded the submarine Oceanos to explore the ocean’s depths. Suddenly, it gets caught in a violent storm, causing it to drift thousands of miles off-course. From the glittering surface of the sea to the darkness of the abyss, Deep in the Ocean takes readers on a bewitching journey through fascinating waters—some warm, colorful, and crowded with sea creatures, others mysterious and turbulent. Six colors of ink (including neon pink and metallic silver) are used throughout, and a free downloadable soundtrack allows readers to feel even more fully immersed in this beautiful underwater world.