Coral Reef

The Coral Reef exhibit brings the unparalleled beauty of the Caribbean's coral reefs to South Texas.

Replicating the features of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef off the coast of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the Coral Reef exhibit gives an immersive look at these incredible ecosystems and the colorful fish that call them home. An overlook in the jungle level gives an advance look at the coral reef from above, hinting at the astonishing environment that waits below the surface.

But in the underwater view, the full splendor of the Coral Reef truly unfolds. Fish of every possible color and pattern dance and dart in the crystal-clear water, hiding among vibrant and strangely-shaped coral. Angelfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, grunts, and other brilliantly-colored species can also be found in this undersea paradise. Marvel at this underwater landscape and the colorful fish within as they feed, swim, and coexist. Soak in the sights and feel transported to real coral reefs of the Caribbean.

The Coral Reef shows guests these complex but fragile ecosystems in a new light, giving them a better appreciation of why it’s so important to protect these incredible underwater worlds.

Animals in this Exhibit

  • Queen Angelfish


    This vibrant fish is found in warmer waters of the Atlantic ocean. In the wild it feed most on sponges, but its diet can also include jellyfish, corals, plankton, and algae.

  • Banded Butterflyfish


    The banded butterflyfish is a carnivore, feeding on reef inhabitants such as tube worms, anemones, corals, and occasionally crustaceans.

  • Rock beauty


    The rock beauty’s appearance allows it to blend it with the rocks and rubble of the coral reefs where they live. Young specimens are always female and have the capacity to change into males when they get older.

  • French grunt


    The French grunt is generally covered in bright yellow stripes against a silver background, with their fins being colored in a bright yellow shade.

  • Sergeant major


    This species gets it name from the five black bars along its side, which resemble the isignia of the sergeant major military rank. Adult males can change color to a blueish hue while guarding their nesting sites.

  • Blue Parrotfish


    The parrotfish's large beak used to scrape algae and other organisms from rocks and hard coral.