‘If I Could Give Zero Stars, I Would’—Here’s What Visitors Had to Say After Visiting SeaQuest Aquariums

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SeaQuest aquariums—which are owned by Vince Covino—are plagued by issues: animal deaths, legal violations, injuries to employees and members of the public from direct contact with animals, and customer reviews that’ll make your jaw drop (and not in a good way). So if you’ve ever considered visiting a SeaQuest location or any other Covino-operated aquarium, do yourself and animals a favor: Learn from these TripAdvisor and Yelp reviewers.

SeaQuest Folsom 

A visitor at SeaQuest Folsom in California said that a toucan appeared to have bitten their own tail off—which isnt an uncommon behavior for animals suffering from severe psychological distress: 

“Being here made me sad. The fish are all crammed in tanks. The snakes and the mammals are in way too small of enclosures. Theres old snakeskin in snake cages, the toucan cage [is] covered in poop. It doesnt look like cleaning is a priority. The water the fish are in is green. Its so sad. The toucan has no tail and [their] feathers are all messed up. Probably from biting [themselves] due to being stressed out. By the time we left I was upset and physically ill for what I experienced. Looking into these animals eyes was disturbing.”

Another visitor apparently saw an employee hit an otter with a broom: 

“This place smells the animals look tortured and starved. I’m not a fan of this place. Took my family and we ran out of there. … We will never go back. Also we saw an employee wack an otter with a broom. … If you love animals you will hate this place.”

seaquest otters are suffering

SeaQuest Fort Worth

One reviewer who visited SeaQuest Fort Worth in Texas urged others never to visit the crummy shopping mall aquarium: 

“Nearly every enclosure is too small and has little stimulation for the animals. They allow guests to feed animals freely, which is terrible for maintaining proper diets. Most of the “interactive” enclosures had no handlers, which just puts the animals in danger. The entire place is on the first floor of a mall which means most of these animals will live and die without seeing even a ray of natural sunlight. It’s an awful excuse of a money grab with little to say in the name of conversation. Please spend your money elsewhere. We need to do better.”

Over on Yelp, another SeaQuest Fort Worth visitor admitted feeling “ashamed for supporting this place.” Sasha A. wrote, “This place was depressing, run down, and inhumane.”

tortoise at a seaquest aquarium

SeaQuest Las Vegas

At SeaQuest Las Vegas in Nevada, a visitor was horrified by the stench of “rotting fish” and the utter lack of any natural sunlight or fresh air: 

“I would give them zero stars if I could. This was the saddest excuse for an animal experience I have ever seen. The animals looked miserable and crowded. The place smelled like a fish store. They are ALL about making money. Any excuse to charge you for something they took. Exploitation is the only word that came to mind. There was this horrible bird exhibit that put rowdy children in an enclosed room with birds who just wanted to get away from them in addition to the tiny clouded stingray tank they let people swim in that was hardly big enough for the stingrays alone. I went here without doing my research so I looked into them after and found alot of similar feelings to the ones I had,” Lisa warned on Yelp.

stingway at seaquest aquarium

Another review said it was the worst place they’d ever seen:  

“On top of the dirt and stench, the noise from all the screaming children indoors clearly has the animals terrified, almost all of them were hiding in whatever measly hiding spot they could find.” 

SeaQuest Littleton

A visitor at SeaQuest Littleton in Colorado said she had left the facility in tears after seeing how miserable the animals appeared to be: 

“Horribly Sad. I left crying: This “attraction” was so SAD. There are many animals [who] should be housed in outdoor environments, such as bunnies and wallabies, however they are kept in dog cages where children are allowed entry to disturb them all day long. This is not good for the animals and could potentially be dangerous for the children! The place stunk to high heaven, it was dark, dirty, full of people running around yelling and talking loudly, which [echoes] inside the building. The animals appear stressed, and it’s easy to see. I do not recommend it for anyone unless you are simply heartless and don’t really care about the well being of animals.”

Another guest at the location alleged that a wallaby had been forced into the petting area despite apparently having a leg injury: 

“I only got whiffs of unending sadness (and fish) here. Wallaby had a leg injury but was still in the petting arena. All the animals look stressed from all the relentless petting and careless feeding. I feel one day, they’re going to make a documentary about this place.”

capybara at SeaQuest aquarium

SeaQuest Lynchburg 

At SeaQuest Lynchburg in Virginia, one guest was heartbroken after seeing animals imprisoned in tiny enclosures:  

“All of the farmland in Lynchburg and they have to put this in a big concrete mall. The enclosures were WAY too small for the animals, it broke my heart. The pigs were constantly slipping on the concrete floor with their hooves. The tortoise was constantly pacing back and forth. The enclosure for the kangaroo area looked to be less than 200 square. And it was poorly lit with no natural light. If these places cannot provide adequate space for the animals they need to be shut down.”

SeaQuest Roseville 

One reviewer likened Minnesotas SeaQuest Roseville to a horrifying basement: 

“From the minute I walked into this establishment, I was HORRIFIED by the pens these animals were displayed on,” Sabrina K. posted on Yelp. “To start, the Capybara’s pen was tinier than a handicap stall and not even half of it had grass the other was concrete. … The displays looked like they havent been cleaned for 5 years even though this place has been open for a month. Then you go downstairs to the actual aquarium …. I felt that I walked into someone’s basement. There were tanks everywhere … Kids could stick their fingers wherever they want and could possibly hurt the animals. There was no one on most of the fish sites to assist kids or tell them how to touch/feed these creatures. It was appalling. The stingrays were scratch up clearly from nails, and the tank was so dirty I had to stand and look over the wall to see anything. … I would NEVER bring my children to see how these animals were treated, and I will never WASTE my money on this place. Do yourself a favor and save yourself the time.”

Another visitor called it “Minnesota’s version of Tiger King:  

“Animal abuse is not for our entertainment. Period. Shame on owners that would profit from a disgusting display of neglect. I will not be going to this hap hazard zoo ever again. I felt guilty being part of this. Never again.” 

SeaQuest Stonecrest 

One review of SeaQuest Stonecrest in Georgia called for the facility to send the animals to a proper sanctuary—which is what PETA has long been saying: 

“These poor animals. They are over fed and some are under fed. Fish tanks are extremely dirty. The animals are over stimulated by way too many people allowed to come in. Someone should really shut this place down and give these animals to an outdoor sanctuary.” 

SeaQuest Trumbull

One visitor at SeaQuest Trumbull in Connecticut vowed never to support the business again, noting that animals were confined to inadequate enclosures under fluorescent lights and left vulnerable to poking, prodding guests: 

“I left SeaQuest disheartened and angry. The FARM animals will never see the light of day, only fluorescent lights. There were plastic containers floating with the ducks. The chickens have zero defense against a grabby guest. I was shocked to see that not a single staff member was monitoring who touched what animal. SHOCKED the barriers to these animals isn’t more protective for THEM. The pig is in a dark enclosure with what looked like it would be a small heat lamp? Pigs need natural sunlight for natural vitamin absorption. The wallabies were the saddest thing. None of these animals live in an environment that simulates their natural habitat, this is a somehow legal, bootleg circus with poor health standards for the animals. There were water buckets catching water from the leaky ceiling. I experienced an unattended 9/10 year old slamming his hands on the parakeet netting then running to the others to do the same. This place is not safe for the animals, let alone does it provide for a healthy environment. It’s expensive, it smells, and I am left saddened that this exists. I’ll never support it again.”

Another reviewer explicitly gave SeaQuest zero stars after allegedly seeing dead animals in its enclosures: 

“ZERO STARS,” Kelly B. began her Yelp review. “It was just sad to walk through seeing dirty tanks and dead animals, luckily my daughter is too young to understand what she was looking at. Very expensive for what it is. All the land animals are surrounded by plastic, weird to see sloths, an animal that lives … in trees, in a small cage with no vegetation. I refused to buy anything from gift shop because I did not want to give any more money to this company.”

a sloth in a cage at a SeaQuest aquarium

SeaQuest Utah

A visitor at SeaQuest Utah put the facility on blast after witnessing “pure animal extortion and abuse: 

“The animals did nothing more than check the feeding areas, waiting for handouts. The tiny enclosures left little room for enrichment and seemed to be designed for the customer rather than the animals. Im curious if there is any sort of unbiased, qualified animal welfare specialist overseeing the operations and enclosure design. There is no chance Ill ever visit another SeaQuest again and I can guarantee that I will steer everyone I know away. How can you control the salt content, pH level, and other contaminants in water with so many hands inserted into the tank all day? How do you manage the [animals’] nutrition properly if youre not measuring who gets what and how much? How many animals die from stress, illness, and improper care? 

koi at a seaquest aquarium
Koi and turtles forced to share a crowded tank at a SeaQuest aquarium.


SeaQuest Woodbridge 

A guest at SeaQuest Woodbridge in New Jersey said she saw a dead seahorse and a bird whose tail was apparently “banged up:  

“Please do not go here. My husband and i stopped in to take a break from shopping and were HORRIFIED of the conditions of the animals,” warned one shopper on TripAdvisor. “My heart broke for every animal (with no shelter to hide from the public) being grabbed at with no employee in sight. We saw a dead seahorse, the iguanas being grabbed and trying to be held by VERY infant children, the ducks enclosure water was extremely murky, the Silky Chicken enclosure is a very small dog house on top of a high lifted platform and the poor Scarlet Macaw’s tail was completely banged up due to being held in a too small cage and the poor thing was sitting like a stone—not moving at all. It looked terrified and uncomfortable. Horrible experience all together. I spoke with the front desk after our walk through and the girl said ‘we are still making improvements’. I highly doubt that. We have not been back and i tell everyone i know to STAY AWAY!!”

iguana in an enclosure at a SeaQuest aquarium

Another review alleged that animals were forced to sit in their own filth:  

“This place is disgusting and absolutely cruel to the animals being held. The animals look malnourished and are forced to sit in their own filth. The cages and tanks are extremely small and not compatible at all with the types of animals being held in them. It’s horrible how these animals are being kept. Do not bring your kids here! The owners of this place should be ashamed.”

Mary S. “immediately got a bad feeling when walking in” to the San Antonio Aquarium in Texas, which is operated by Ammon Covino, Vince’s brother.

“The place SMELLS horrible and the animal areas were not clean at all! Especially the poor sting ray areas,” Mary elaborated on Yelp. “You could literally pet fish? How and why would you let children pet fish? Overall it was horrible I felt really bad for all the animals.”

A dismal kangaroo enclosure at the San Antonio Aquarium

“Go here if you want to see a sad excuse of an aquarium,” another reviewer wrote. “You enter into an area that is like a mini prison for small land animals. Enclosures are tiny and disgustingly dirty. No sound proofing … but many of the jailed animals there have sensitive hearing … Pay enough money and you can touch everything there. (Sloths/lemurs/other random tortured animal) The animals look visibly miserable. … This place solely wants to make money extorting the animals in a cruel way.”

At the Austin Aquarium in Texas, operated by Ammon Covino, animals reportedly “barely have enough room to live.”

One TripAdvisor review titled “Animal Cruelty” pointed out the minuscule tanks that the animals are forced to exist in: “This place was horrible. The animals are suffering,” Jaime F. said. “Many of them [are in] really bad conditions.”

An eel inside a vase in a tank at the Austin Aquarium

The Reviews Are In—and SeaQuest Is Out

You don’t need to visit a SeaQuest location or any other Covino-operated aquarium to know that doing so will make you feel “guilty for supporting a clear neglect of exotic animals.” The slew of scathing reviews above should be more than enough to persuade anyone to steer clear. So save your money (and your dignity) and spend your time speaking up for the animals imprisoned at these hellholes, instead:

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