Eastern Shores

We welcome you to this brand new exhibit featuring animals from America's eastern coast!

Open Thursdays - Sundays from 10 am - 1 pm.

Eastern Shores Exhibit

Eastern Shores is a new touch pool experience featuring diverse species like horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spider crabs, knobbed whelks, channeled whelks, purple urchins, sheepshead minnows, and killifish.

The habitat shares the footprint of BHA's former, decade-old Tidepool exhibit, but is rebuilt with accessibility and increased animal wellbeing in mind. Where it was once necessary to stand and step up to see the animals, the pool surface is now lower and accessible to guests of all ages and mobilities.

A message from Aquarium & Conservatory Director Michelle Coley:
"We are so excited that members of our community will get to see their local aquarium in a new way, meet some new animals, gain some new learning experiences, and build a stronger connection to marine life on the other side of the country while learning about how to preserve and protect these amazing places in the world. We want our community to know we are committed to providing opportunities for learning, exploration, and connection - and that we are always working to strive for the best possible welfare for our animals."

Read the full press release here.


Why did you choose east coast theming?
We chose the Eastern Shore theme for a few reasons. Firstly, we wanted to offer guests more opportunities for interaction with a variety of animals while providing an environment that gives the animals choice and control. They can choose to interact with guests by being in the front or retreat to the back of the touch display for a break. Secondly, we aimed to represent a mostly underrepresented coastal community that highlight areas that families from South Dakota might travel to for vacations, such as Florida and North Carolina.
Can I touch the animals in the exhibit?
Our exhibit has two parts: a touch experience and a holding/viewing area where you can see more of the touch animals as they take breaks from guest interactions, along with some small species of fish.

Among the species represented are horseshoe crabs, knobbed whelks, channeled whelks, spider crabs, sea stars, purple urchins, sheepshead minnows, and killifish. With the guidance of BHA staff, guests will be able to touch the horseshoe crabs, knobbed whelks, and channeled whelks. While it's okay to gently touch a spider crab, please remember that these animals can pinch.

As always, only a gentle two-finger touch is allowed.
Why did you replace the Tidepool exhibit?
The decision to update the decade-ole Tidepool exhibit was largely due to its age and because the animals on display had to be isolated in acrylic boxes due to some being predatory, which limited their interaction and welfare. We aimed to improve the welfare of the animals and provide a more dynamic and accessible viewing experience for guests.
Aquarium Website


The Aquarium at the Butterfly House & Aquarium displays hundreds of different species of fishes and corals in over 10,000 gallons of aquariums.