The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, publicly operated institution located in Tampa, Florida, United States. It is a large scale, 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m) aquarium and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The facility is home to more than 20,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida and all over the world. The facility is located in the Channel District of Downtown Tampa. The Florida Aquarium opened in March 1995 as a privately funded entity, and became a public-private partnership when the city of Tampa assumed responsibility for its debt in 1999.