It is one of the largest and most impressive aquariums in Europe, a deep dive into the ocean. The Oceanarium is today the greatest legacy of Expo ’98, whose theme was “The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future.” The aquarium, then known as the Pavilion of the Oceans, was created to perpetuate the message of the World’s Fair, which warned about the importance of the oceans and their species, pointing out their threats and fighting for their conservation. Today, the Oceanarium plays a crucial role in promoting knowledge about the oceans, sensitizing its visitors to the need to preserve this natural heritage through behavior change.
Built on a pier surrounded by water, almost like an island in Parque das Nações, the biggest star of the Oceanarium is the large central aquarium with five million liters of saltwater. In a thousand square meters and seven meters deep, about a hundred species coexist, with special prominence given to sharks and rays – and until recently, the sunfish. Around the large aquarium, separated by large strategically placed acrylic panels, there are still four distinct marine habitats with their respective species: the North Atlantic (Azores coast), the Antarctic Ocean, the temperate Pacific (rocky coasts), and the tropical Indian Ocean (coral reef).
For those who arrive, the illusion of being before a single aquarium, a single ocean, an idea, in fact, that is the origin of the Oceanarium’s permanent exhibition, under the motto “One Planet, One Ocean,” is created. The visit takes place on two levels, the terrestrial and the underwater. On the terrestrial level, as the name indicates, we are above the water level, where, for example, the penguins and the puffins are. Even so, it is the marine otters, Odi and Kasi, that stand out the most – for years, the mascots of the Oceanarium were the otters Amália and Eusébio, names chosen in reference to the fado singer Amália Rodrigues and the international soccer player Eusébio. It is worth noting the proximity to the animals, with no significant barriers deliberately placed so that each visitor can feel each habitat, from its smells to its temperatures.
On the underwater level, the environment is dark and calm, as you would expect the depths of the ocean to be. The visit is made in a circular way, with corners where you can sit and appreciate the large aquarium and its species.
Throughout the visit, you will learn about each species, each ecosystem, and deepens the work done at the Oceanarium, inside and outside its doors. This is also what each visitor contributes to by purchasing their ticket, to the financing of educational and conservation projects.
Liters of saltwater in the central aquarium
Species in the central aquarium
Distinct marine habitats
It is worth taking a look at the various initiatives organized by the Oceanarium, from activities for children, which include, for example, a night with the sharks, to trips on the Tagus River to see dolphins, accompanied by a marine biologist”.
Find out more about the Lisbon Oceanarium
One of the largest and most impressive aquariums in Europe.