Last year, the Oceanario in Lisboa was recommended to me by a friend as an absolutely must-see spot in Lisbon. It didn’t make the itinerary that time, but this year we made sure it was on our to-do list.
At a cost of nearly 20 euros each to enter, we were a bit wary. But seriously, this place is SO GREAT.
However, it is also enormous. While at first we were super excited about how cool it was, by the end we were totally ocean-ed out and walked through the last 3 exhibits like “seriously!? there’s still more?!”. There was also no cafe inside, which was rather un-Portuguese if you ask me.
The Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe, and it’s an extremely impressive exhibit. Even the signage was interesting and helpful, which is usually not the case at attractions in Portugal.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
The main exhibit is a 1,000 m2 (11,000 sq ft), 5,000 m3 (180,000 cu ft) tank with four large 49 m2 (530 sq ft) acrylic windows on its sides, and smaller focus windows strategically located around it to make sure it is a constant component throughout the exhibit space. It is 7 m (23 ft) deep, which lets pelagicswimmers to swim above the bottom dwellers, and providing the illusion of the open ocean. About 100 species from around the world are kept in this tank,including sharks, rays, barracudas, groupers, and moray eels. One of the main attractions is a large sunfish.
Four tanks around the large central tank house four different habitats with their native flora and fauna: the North Atlantic rocky coast, the Antarctic coastal line, the Temperate Pacifickelp forests, and the Tropical Indiancoral reefs. These tanks are separated from the central tank only by large sheets of acrylic to provide the illusion of a single large tank. Throughout the first floor there are an additional 25 thematic aquariums with each of the habitats’ own characteristics.
Our favourite part was definitely the penguins, who were just so outrageously cute. We took some videos, of course, so we can revisit the cute-ness at our leisure. Other highlights included some very interesting and colourful fish, pictured below. I didn’t expect us to be quite so into the Oceanarium, but we had a really good time exploring it all.
And of course, we foolishly took a lot of photos. The oceanarium is rather dark, so the pictures didn’t all turn out perfect, but I think they’ve captured how much fun we were having (A LOT).