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10 Spectacular Aquariums Around the World You Must Visit

By Edited Apr 27, 2016 4 8

The depths of our oceans are filled with awe inspiring wonders and amazing creatures. Most of us will never have the opportunity to travel in the deep waters that cover the greater part of our planet. Fortunatelly, you don't have to be a marine explorer to experience the aquatic world first hand. Why not visit one of the world's most spectacular aquariums? Here's a list with ten amazing aquariums and oceanariums all over the world you'd love to check out. So, get ready to put some new pins on your maps!

1.Monterey Bay Aquarium, California, United States

Monterey Bay Aquarium, California, U.S.A.
Credit: "Back view of Monterey Bay Aquarium", by Meij.kobayashi, public domain image

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. There are numerous exhibits here and you'll have the opportunity to admire 35,000 sea creatures belonging to approximatelly 600 different species. Sealife on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, wolf eels, whales, hammerhead sharks, bluefin and yellowfin tuna, octopi and sea sardines. In addition, this is one of the few places were you can get a glimspe of some ocean sunfish.

In the Ocean's East Wing, the enormous centerpiece (water capacity:1,3 million liters (0,33 million gallons) is the home of the incredible Kelp Forest Exhibit.Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. In the Open Sea Galleries, there is another huge tank that features one of the world's largest single-pane windows. Fresh ocean water from the bay is supplied into the tanks non stop.

A diver in the Kelp Tank at Monterey Bay Aquarium
Credit: "Diver in kelp tank at Monterey Bay Aquarium", by Fred Hsu, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The aquarium does some very important marine research and conservation projects which include white sharks, sea otters and Pacific tuna. Visitors at the aquarium can take part in animal feedings and enjoy various tours and educational programs.

2. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, United States

Male Whale Shark at Georgia Aquarium
Credit: "Whale shark in the viewing theatre", by Zack Wolf, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5.
This is without doudt one of the largest aquariums in the world. It's the home of more than 100,000 marine creatures from 500 different species. The breath taking Ocean Voyager houses four manta rays and several whale sharks. This is actually the only aquarium outside of Asia to host this particular shark. You can admire this amazing species in their massive tank through the largest acrylic panel in North America.

The Georgia explorer presents animals unique to the Georgia region, such as the rare loggerhead sea turtle and lionfish. The River Scout hosts fascinating animals from the rivers of Africa and South America. The Tropical Diver features a great variety of tropical fish from the Indo Pacific. You will also find amazing displays of penguins, dolphins and other interestinganimals.

The aquarium's research and rescue projects include the rescue of the Southern Sea otters, the rehabilitation of sea turtles and research on whale sharks. There are many fun events, educational programs and videos to enjoy.

3. L'Oceanogràfic, Valencia, Spain

 L'Oceanografic in Valencia
Credit: L'Oceanogràfic, main entrance, by David Iliff, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Oceanographic is housed at the heart of the City of Arts and Sciences, in Valencia, Spain. The building has a unique futuristic architectural style. This is the largest complex of its type in Europe, covering 110,000 square metres (1,200,000 sq ft) and having a water capacity of 42,000,000 litres (11,000,000 gallons).

A beluga in l'Oceanogràfic.
Credit: "A beluga in l'Oceanogràfic", by Carquinyol (uploaded by Lobo), licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Oceanographic is the home of more than 45,000 marine animals of 500 different species. Here, you have the opportunity to observe sharks, penguins, dolphins, sea lions, walruses and beluga whales, along with many other mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. There are five underwater towers, each seperated into two levels. All the major ecosystems of the planet are presented here: the Mediterranean habitats, the polar oceans, the islands, the tropical seas, the temperate sea and the Red Sea. 

There is also an amazing delphinarium, beautiful gardens with more than 80 different species of plants and an underwater auditorium where visitors can watch divers feed the animals. There are also three restaurants in the complex, the most famous one is the “Underwater Restaurant” where you can dine surrounded by a large aquarium.

4. The Deep, Hull, England

The Deep in Hull, England at Night.
Credit: "The Deep, Hull at night", by Skyrider 2688, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This is another unique looking aquarium, a biomorphic structrure, resembling a whale rising from the ocean. The Deep in Hull, England is “the world's only submarium”. Its tanks contain thousands of sealife specimens, including seven different species of shark, rays, northern Europe's only pair of green sawfish, coral, turtles, jellyfish, frogs, penguins and insects.

The exhibits are arranged in chronological order and visitors can find out a lot about the story of the world's oceans. The amazing displays include the Lagoon of Tropical Light and the Endless Oceans. The latter features Europe's deepest viewing tunnel that reaches 9 metres (30 ft). There are audiovisual presentations and hands-on interactive displays. You can even learn to operate an underwater diving vessel!

The Deep is a charitable public aquarium as well as a centre for marine research. Its goal is to raise public awareness and educate people about conservation issues worldwide.

5.Turkuazoo, Instabul, Turkey

Catfish in Turkuazoo, Istanbul, Turkey
Credit: "Catfish in Turkuazoo, Istanbul, Turkey" by Dzhingarova on flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Turkuazoo opened in 2009 and it is Turkey's first giant aquarium. It is located inside the Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall and it is also the centre of marine research and conservation in the area. It features an exciting 90m long underwater tunnel, the Marinescape SeaTube. There is a large number of marine creatures here (about 25,000). Among them you can find 2.5-metre-long tiger sharks, giant stingrays and groupers, piranhas and octopi. If you are the couragous type, you can also dive in and swim side by side with the sharks.

There are 43 really amazing exhibits in this aquarium, the largest of which holds 4,5 million litres of water. Some of the incredible areas you can visit are the rainforest habitat, and the flooded forest, the wetland habitat and the tropical sea zones. There are dive and feeding shows thourghout the day. There are also fun activities for kids.

6.uShaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa

A blacktip shark at uShaka Sea World
Credit: "A blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) in UShaka Sea World" by Amada44, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

uShaka Sea World is the biggest aquarium on the African continent. It is part of the large marine theme park called uShaka Marine World that opened its doors for visitors in 2004.The underground aquarium is designed around five shipwrecks, with its entrance through the "Phantom Ship" above ground. Its amazingly unique design earned an award for "Outstanding Achievement in thematic creative design" by the Themed Entertainment Association[5]There are some wonderful restaurants, including the “Cargo Hold” (it has a a wall sized shark aquarium visible from most of the dining areas) and the “Upper Deck”.

This fascinating aquarium is home to species such as ragged-tooth sharks, spinner sharks, hammerhead sharks, and local catsharks. There are other local species like eagle rays, honeycomb and geometric morays, local gamefish, and large fish species including giant groupers, potato bass, kingfish, and cobia. There are fun shows with dolphins and seals, as well as ray and shark feedings. In addition, there are some more adventurous activities like snorkeling in the lagoon in the company of 1500 fish, shark cave diving and walking on the aquarium floor with an ocean diver!

7.Dubai Mall Aquarium, Dubai, U.A.E.

Dubai Mall Aquarium: Divers
Credit: "Dubai Mall Aquarium" by Shahroozporia, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This huge aquarium tank is the centerpiece of one of the largest shopping malls in the world. More than 33,000 marine creatures (representing about 85 different species) live in it, and, among them, there are about 400 sharks and rays! Other popular residents include enormous groupers and large schools of pelagic fish.

The massive tank features one of the world's largest acrylic panels. The panel measures 8.3 by 32.88 meter (27 by 108 feet) and is 75 centimeters (30 inches) thick. It can withstand the pressure of the 10 million litres of water used in the aquarium. Moreover, the acrylic walkthrough tunnel offers visitors unique close encounter experiences with the incredible aquatic residents.

In the Dubai Mall Aquarium you can walk along the Rainforest, Rocky Shore and Living Ocean environments at the Underwater Zoo. You can also go cage snorkeling, get close and personal with sharks, rays and fish (you wear a special suit for that, of course) and even take diving lessons. For those who prefer a less wild experience, there is also a glass-bottom boat ride. 

8.Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Shanghai China

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
Credit: "Shanghai Ocean Aquarium" by Peter17, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This is one of the largest aquariums in Asia. It includes an impressive 120-meter (390 ft) tunnel that takes visitors along an amazing aquatic journey through a coastal reef, open ocean, a kelp cave, shark cove and a coral reef. 

There are nine different thematic zones for the five continents and four oceans. More than 450 species are represented, including some really rare and endangered aquatic animals from the Yangtze River such as the the Yangtze alligator and the Chinese giant salamander. Other famous rarities of this aquarium are the Chinese water dragons and Antarctic penguins. The fascinating exhibits and iteractive programs provide both entertainment and education for every visitor.

9.Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Credit:"Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium" by Hideyuki Kamon(flickr), licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located within the Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa, Japan. The aquarium is made up of four floors and the a descending manner of the design imitates the deep sea. There are tanks containing deep sea creatures, sharks, 80 species of coral and a variety of tropical fish. The main tank, called the Kuroshio Sea, is covered with a massive acrylic glass panel (one of the largest in the world). 

This is one of the few aquariums that keep whale sharks in captivity and it is currently trying to breed them. There are also manta rays and many species of tropical fish. There are dives and other fun activities. You can also watch two different dolphin shows close to the aquarium. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium has come to attract millions of visitors from all over the world.

10.Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Sydney, Australia


Sharks at the Sydney Aquarium
Credit:"Shark Display" by Dylerpillar (Flickr originally) licensed under CC BY 2.0
Last but not least, a wonderful aquarium situated in Darling Harbour, near the centre of Sydney. Over 12,000 specimens of Australian sealife constitute the impressive collection you can admire here. There are several themed areas featuring a variety of marine creatures. Some of the exhibits house some really dangerous characters such as sharks, stonefish, the blue-ring octopus, pufferfish, moray eels, surgeonfish and stingrays. 

In the Open Oceanarium, you can walk through undrwater tunnels surrounded by large sharks and stingrays gliding over your head. You will surely be amazed when you have the chance to see The Great Barrier Reef oceanarium with its colourful reef fish. Another very interesting exhibit is the Mermaid Lagoon, the home of two dugongs. There is also the “Shark Explorer”, a glass-bottom boat that glides over the Great Barrier Reef. The best part of the ride: you get to feed the reef sharks!



Mar 3, 2015 12:03pm
cool article! I especially like the video footage, it's really awe inspiring to visit aquariums!
Mar 3, 2015 10:14pm
Thanks, SparkyStar. I'm glad you liked it! It was fun to write, too!
Mar 3, 2015 11:40pm
Great article! I was in Okinawa a few years back, and had no idea they had such an awesome aquarium.
Mar 3, 2015 11:45pm
Hi HLesley, I really appreciate your comment. These aquariums are all worth visiting.
Apr 12, 2015 9:39am
The two structures alone, the one in Valencia and the one in Hull, would make them both worth visiting. Good piece. Thumb.
Apr 12, 2015 12:49pm
Thanks Vic for the comment and the rating. I believe that both buildings are trully inspired architecturally speaking.
Apr 13, 2015 10:15am
I love aquariums. I've been to Monterey Bay many times, and it is incredible. Almost as good in California are the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, and the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco.
Apr 14, 2015 10:49am
Thank you for the comment TanoCalvenoa! I find aquariums very peaceful. There are many which are worth-mentioning.
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  1. "10 Largest Aquariums in the World." www.touropia.com. 21/01/2014. 19/02/2015 <Web >
  2. "Monterey Bay Aquarium." www.en.wikipedia.org. 9/02/2015. 19/02/2015 <Web >
  3. Staff Writers "10 Largest, Most Extreme, All-Around Best Aquariums In The World." www.opishposh.com. 19/02/2015 <Web >
  4. "Georgia Aquarium." www.en.wikipedia.com. 18/02/2015. 19/02/2015 <Web >
  5. "uShaka Marine World." www.en.wikipedia.com. 24/12/2014. 19/02/2015 <Web >

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