The Lisbon Oceanarium is well worth a day trip if you are staying for a few days. Situated on the old Expo ‘98 site at the Parque das Nações, the aquarium is the largest in all of Europe and houses some 25,000 fish, mammals and birds from all over the world in a double-storey fish tank! Awesome!
The whole oceanarium was designed by American architect Peter Chermayeff. It a pretty impressive looking building (bit like a flashy oil rig) built right into the harbour. The upper exterior is largely glass, which offers great views over the harbour and the rest of the old Expo 98 site.
Inside is a series of 30 different tanks that together hold about 7 million litres of water. There are about 450 different species represented, with most being housed in the large central tank. This thing is enormous and you can stand right up against it and take in all the surrounds – you feel like a crab on the ocean floor. There are sharks, stingrays and multitudes of fish species seemingly living together in harmony. The Manta Rays are the best – just gliding along effortlessly.
In the surrounding tanks there are live displays and environmental soundscapes from the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Sub-Antarctic regions. The idea is to portray each selected habitat as being distinct yet also part of the one big ecosystem that makes up our oceans. As you walk through the different rooms and tanks you get an educational tour of both fish and animal life. There is also an area where you can see penguins and otters playing around in re-creations of their natural habitats.
Pricing for admission is relatively friendly. Adults are €9 and children are €4.50. Family tickets (2 Adults + 1 Child) = €20. Beware of the gift shop – lots of temptations that are not wallet friendly. Same goes for the food outlet. The oceanarium is very easy to get to as well. Simply take the metro to Oriente on the Red Line. Walk through the massive shopping centre (Vasco de Gama), turn right and it’s about five more minutes. You could probably book in advance during summer as well to avoid the queues.
Check out the website for more information Lisbon Oceanarium Home Page
More details: Telephones +351 21 891 70 02/6