I am looking for a GREAT vacation spot with a plethora of marine animals. Any suggestions?

Many Caribbean destinations will get your wish fulfilled. I’m not sure what is your definition of ‘ok price’. As a beginner Diver, you can try the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bonaire. There are many other destinations, you can check these 3 out to see if it suits your budget. When you search for these destinations, read about their weather patterns through the year. Pick the time of the year when the water is calm, no storms, minimum rain.
happy Scuba Diving