Amazon River Forest

Discover an Amazon tributary in three distinct stages of seasonal flooding.

A One-of-a-Kind Habitat

Amazon River Forest portrays an Amazon tributary at the beginning of its seasonal flooding into the surrounding forest. During this time, rivers overflow their banks, and water rises 10 to 40 vertical feet, creating a unique, seasonal habitat for an incredible diversity of animals, including turtles, dwarf caimans, catfish, stingrays and more.


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Wet and Dry Season in the River Forest

Within the exhibit, two smaller displays portray identical slices of the river forest: one in the peak rainy season and the other in the peak dry season. The rainy season display is completely underwater and home to different fishes. The dry season display is humid but much less wet for the mostly terrestrial animals inside.

Featured Animals Discover Life in an Amazon Tributary

Learn more about the residents of Amazon River Forest.

Giant South American River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa)

The giant South American river turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world.

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Giant Waxy Tree Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)

Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus)

White-Blotched River Stingray (Potamotrygon leopoldi)

Catch a Glimpse

Enjoy a tranquil view of our Amazon River Forest exhibit. See a variety of turtles, stingrays, catfish and more swimming around.

"Biodiversity can be defined as the number and varieties of organisms and the biological interactions between them. It measures the richness of life within a given area, and flooded forests are one of the most biodiverse habitats on earth," said Ken Howell, the exhibit's curator.

Target-Trained Stingrays

Did you know stingrays can be target-trained? Each white-blotched river stingray is trained to swim toward either a target slapped on the water's surface or a station for their meals. Target training helps Aquarium staff observe the stingrays daily, perform health exams and guarantee everyone takes their multivitamin.

To keep the stingrays and other creatures visible to guests, staff members regularly clean the glass along the exhibit. Cleaning the outside of the glass removes smudges and cleaning the inside gets rid of algae buildup. Once a week, a staff member will put on mini scuba gear and get up close and personal with the animals to give the inside of the glass a good scrub.

Looking Bright

Lighting is crucial for any exhibit, but especially for one full of plants and reptiles. The lights not only make the exhibit engaging for guests, but they also help the plants and reptiles thrive. We use specialized lighting, like LEDS and UV-producing bulbs, to foster plant growth and provide basking spots for turtles.

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