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Touch A-Ray Bay

Make a new friend and reach out to a ray as they glide through this tropical lagoon.

What Will You Discover?

Come face-to-face with weedy scorpionfish, spotted garden eels, and more awesome species as they dart in, out, and around thriving habitats.

Round Stingray Round Stingray

Round Stingray

With a preference for sandy shallow areas, the round stingray is a common sight for beachgoers, especially in southern California. Named for its nearly circular body shape, this stingray actually has a small caudal fin at the end of its tail rather than the whiplike tail of many other stingray species.

Conservation Status

Least Concern


Eastern Pacific Ocean


Worms, crustaceans, mollusks, fish

Did You Know?

Stingrays are a group of species named for the venomous serrated spine located on their tail. Although stingrays do not attack people, the tail spines can cause painful wounds if stepped on. When wading in shallow water at the beach, be sure to shuffle your feet to prevent an accidental encounter with a hidden stingray.

Southern Stingray Southern Stingray

Southern Stingray

Found on reef-adjacent sandy bottoms, seagrass beds and lagoons, the southern stingray is typically buried in the sand during the day, preferring to forage at night. While buried, this ray uses holes behind the eyes called spiracles to draw in clean water above the sand and pump it across the gills on the underside of the body.

Conservation Status

Near Threatened


Mollusks, worms, crustaceans, fish


Western Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea

Did You Know?

Like all sharks and rays, southern stingrays use electroreceptive pores in their skin known as ampullae of Lorenzini to locate buried prey items by sensing the faint electric fields emitted by living things. Once buried prey is identified, the ray will use jets of water from their mouth and a digging motion with their fins to excavate and consume its prey.

Swirling Pinstripe backdrop

Woah! The Aquarium sounds like alotl fun! But what are you doing all the way down here with the axolotls – some of the most secretive salamanders in the world?!

Did you know the Great Smoky Mountains are considered the Salamander Capital of the World? Salamanders are abundant in the Smokies and outnumber human visitors on even the park’s busiest days!