One of the things most children and adults love to feast their eyes on are aquatic animals. There’s something truly magnificent about underwater creatures, and what’s even better is that you don’t have to dive into the deepest oceans to be able to see them.
All you need to do is visit the nearest aquarium. So if you are interested in seeing all that the underwater world has to offer, here are 10 of the largest, most extreme, all-around best aquariums in the world:
1. Georgia AquariumAs home to over 100,000 marine creatures, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is arguably the biggest aquarium in the world. It opened its doors to viewers in November 2005; thanks to its biggest sponsor – Bernie Marcus. The co-founder of Home Depot donated $250 million towards the funding of the institution, which is where you’ll find whale sharks housed in enormous 24 million liter tanks, particularly in the aquarium’s Ocean Voyager section.
2. Dubai Aquarium and Discovery CentreThe UAE is home to another one of the world’s most amazing aquariums – the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre. With approximately 33,000 fish and 85 various species of aquatic creatures that can be viewed through its huge acrylic panel. In fact, this aquarium made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the record-holder for the world’s biggest acrylic panel. The aquarium is part of the Dubai Mall, which is one of the world’s biggest shopping complexes.
3. The Deep AquariumLocated in Hull, England, the Deep Aquarium has served as a world-renowned tourist since it opened in 2002. Although not even close to being the biggest aquarium on this list, it is known for being the only submarium in the world. The Deep Aquarium is quite famous for housing a myriad of sea creatures in the 2.5 million liters of salt water contained in its tanks. Aside from about seven shark species, you will be able to find about 3,500 other kinds of fish and aquatic life in this aquarium. Unlike some of the other aquariums on this list, this aquarium is publicly funded and also doubles as a marine research laboratory.
4. Monterey Bay AquariumLocated in Monterey Bay, California, this aquarium makes it possible for viewers to observe over 35,000 sea creatures belonging to about 623 species. Open to visitors all year round from 10 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon, the aquarium and sea life center is where you’ll be able to see sardines, wolf eels, whales, jellyfish, stingrays, sea otters, blue fin tuna, hammerhead sharks, and a host of other species native to the ocean and the seas. Walk through the impressive exhibits of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and be prepared for your jaw to drop at the majestic sights before you. This aquarium was founded in 1984, making it one of the oldest aquariums on this list.
5. L’OceanogràficIn the Spanish city of Valencia, particularly at the core of the futuristic complex of the City of Arts and Sciences, is where you’ll find one of the most admirable aquariums in Europe – L’Oceanogràfic. Covering over 110 thousand square meters of land, L’Oceanogràfic is the largest aquarium in the European continent and one of the biggest aquariums in the world.
From the outside, you will be fascinated by the water lily design of the main building, which speaks volumes on the brilliance of Felix Candela, the architect behind the design. On the inside, however, nothing can compare to the extraordinary display of the 45,000 marine creatures and fish that comprise the Antarctic, Arctic, and Mediterranean Sea ecosystems.
6. The Okinawa Churaumi AquariumThis list wouldn’t be complete without the mention of this Japanese aquarium, which can be found within the Ocean Expo Park in the island of Okinawa. Opened for viewing in 2002, the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium’s acrylic glass panel is second in size to only that of the Dubai Mall Aquarium. Even though it doesn’t have the largest acrylic panel in the world anymore, the Okinawa Aquarium still has a lot of pleasant surprises in store for visitors. Since 2010, visitors have been able to witness the birth of four manta rays at this aquarium. That should be a sight to behold!
7. TurkuazooLocated in Turkey and opened in 2009, this large aquarium packs a lot of wondrous scenes for its visitors and is known as the largest publicly funded aquarium in Europe. Features include tropical seas, flooded forest, and rainforest zones. Located in the interiors of the Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall, the Turkuazoo is home to roughly 10,000 aquatic creatures such as piranhas, huge stingrays, and tiger sharks as well. There are also 30 various exhibits waiting to be explored in this aquarium. This aquarium is also an epicenter for marine research in the region.
8. The uShaka Marine WorldIn the midst of Durban, South Africa, you’ll find this theme park waiting for tourists to enjoy its 32 amazing tanks. Constructed to appear like an old wreck, the uShaka Marine World holds just about any sea creature you can think of – from tiny sea horses to large dolphins and sharks. You can even dine at any of its cafes and restaurants and continue enjoying the sights at the same time. The Cargo Hold restaurant, which is the most remarkable of them all, features a full-sized, shark-filled aquarium to provide the ultimate dining and viewing experience.
9. The Shanghai Ocean AquariumJapan isn’t the only Asian country that has an aquarium on this list. This Chinese aquarium, with its 155-meter underwater tunnel, also deserves some attention. Not only does the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium have the usual aquatic animals you would expect of any large-sized aquarium, but it also houses a number of unique and endangered Yangtze River aquatic species (such as the the Yangtze alligator and the Chinese giant salamander). Other rare crowd favorites at this aquarium include Chinese water dragons and Antarctic penguins.
10. The AquaDomBerlin’s Aquadom, located inside the highly rated Radisson Hotel, is one of the most awe-inspiring aquariums in the entire planet. The cylindrical aquarium is over 25 meters high, with an 11-meter outer diameter. Within the million liters of water in this tank lives over 2,600 aquatic species. What’s even more remarkable about this particular aquarium is that you can ride a transparent elevator through the entire tank to the upper observation platform.