It just opened last weekend at the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The Hudson Valley Aquarium is spectacular! The 3 million gallon tank takes up the entire area where "center court" used to be and it cascades out 200 feet to the north and south of that. This makes the Poughkeepsie Galleria not only a great shopping location, but now it's home to one of the premiere aquariums in the Northeast!

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It rivals the New York Aquarium at Coney Island! There are some sting rays, hammerhead sharks and even a giant sea turtle named Conan that you can see in the photo above. There are otters swimming in shallow pools and they also have a portion of the aquarium reserved for 6 Beluga Whales. Here is a great video on these creatures.

The Hudson Valley Aquarium is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and it will bring millions in tourist dollars to Dutchess County. Most of it can be seen for no charge, but you do need to buy a ticket to get up close to the aquarium and experience all of it's exhibits. HOWEVER - THIS COMING WEEKEND IS FREE FOR ALL residents of Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Columbia Counties. You have got to check this place out!  It is fun and educational for the entire family.