Oceanário de Lisboa

Located on the exhibition ground of last century’s World Fair is this massive and beautiful Oceanarium in Lisbon. The Oceanarium itself resembles a docked oil rig from the outside, but on the inside it is very rich with life from the under water. The Lisbon Oceanarium has a large collection of marine species — birds, mammals, fish, cnidaria, and other marine organisms totaling about 16,000 individuals of 450 species.

Inside the Oceanarium there are five main tanks and a further 25 smaller tanks with a wide variety of fish, mammals, crustaceans, jelly fish and fauna on display. The Oceanarium is centred around a 5,000 cubic metre tank which houses a mixture of tropical and temperate aquatic life including sharks, manta-rays, tuna and unusual looking sunfish. A further four tanks representing the North Atlantic, Antarctic, Pacific and Indian oceans are positioned around the main tank. Interspersed there are a further 25 smaller tanks with unusual species including ‘glow in the dark’ deep water fish. They are all separated from the main tank by invisible acrylic walls, giving the impression that all the creatures are swimming in the same space.

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of the few aquariums in the world to house a sunfish due to their unique and demanding requirements for care. Other interesting species include two large spider crabs and three sea otters.

A really nice place to be in, but it’s the design rather than the size that makes it outstanding. It is the first aquarium ever to incorporate world ocean habitats within a single environment, with impressive recreations of various ocean ecosystems — the Antarctic tank containing penguins, and the Pacific tank with otters playing in rock pools.

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