Walk into a room surrounded by patrolling sharks, stroll among coral reefs, and visit a rainforest on the roof of one of the best aquariums in the country. Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes, set in a 120-foot-tall glass cube at the front of the aquarium, takes visitors to the floor of an Australian river gorge. In this immersion exhibit, wander past tanks filled with death adders, pythons, archer fish, and barramundi, while kookaburras, parrots, and lorikeets fly overhead -- 1,800 animals, as well as plants native to Australia. On a cold day, skip right to the top of the aquarium and bask in the tropical heat that envelops the brightly colored birds, the shy iguana, and the sloth who reside on this level. (It's best any day to come straight here when the aquarium opens and the animals are most active.) Although you simply walk in front of most exhibits, you walk inside the doughnut-shaped coral reef and shark tanks, getting up close to these exotic creatures. At feeding time in the coral reef, the divers always draw a crowd. In 2013, Blacktip Reef, a sensational recreation of an Indo-Pacific underwater habitat, with dozens of sharks and other creatures, opened. As with Animal Planet Australia it can, and should, be viewed from above and below. 4-D Immersion Theatre shows 3-D movies, with added sensory effect, throughout the day. Tip: Crowds are huge in summer. Beat the crush by purchasing timed tickets in advance, either in person or through the aquarium's website. Nonpeak visiting hours are weekday mornings, Fridays when the aquarium stays open until 8pm, and any day after 3pm.