Lisbon Oceanarium is a wildlife park that opened in 1998 as the centerpiece of the XXth Century’s last World Fair, themed “The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future”.
Oceanarium is largest indoor aquarium in Europe with 16,000 animals of 450 species and now hosts over one million visitors per year. In 2014 Tripadvisor released the tops of the best zoos and aquariums in the world. Leading this last list worldwide is the imposing Monterey Bay Aquarium. But Lisbon Oceanarium makes a close second and places first in Europe. In June 2015 Portuguese Government give the park exploration to the foundation Francisco Manuel dos Santos for 30 year and 24 million of euros.
In our view it’s a well-deserved recognition. Lisbon Oceanarium is huge and really well designed with exhibits around an enormous central tank with 1,000 m2 (11,000 sq ft), 5,000 m3 (180,000 cu ft). The tank can be viewed from different levels giving a different perspective each time. The main exhibit features sharks, rays, a sunfish, two large spider crabs and two sea otters. There are also temporary exhibits (when we visited there was one about turtles).
Lisbon is my town so i could be quite partial about it. And the same could be said about Oceanarium. But to be fair all my friends that come to visit are charmed by the white city, thriving with life, good food (Codfish, sardines and the famous pastry “Pasteis de Nata”) and off course they rank the Oceanarium as must visit. For me it’s nostalgia the first word that comes to mind. I first visited when i was little during the 1998 Expo but due to work agenda and many theme park travel i never returned to the site until July 2014. Everything was has i remembered. The large tank made me again feel insignificant yet calm and quiet. The strange architectural buildings. The mascot “Vasco” (from Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea).
In fairness I must warn that the ticket is a bit pricey and you pay a little more to see the temporary exhibition with the permanent one (for the normal exhibition + temporary one with turtles you have to pay 16€) but with the Lisboa card you get a discount. In the summer queue to pay is often quite large and the park is a bit too crowded for my taste. It is worth a visit but go during a quieter time if possible or at least buy tickets online. There are informative facts and information in English on every display along with interactive display areas for the children. Clean toilets are available along with a shop offering the usual overpriced stuffed animals, pencils, rubbers and other useless but fluffy stuff. There is also a restaurant but I strongly recommend the nearby Vasco da Gama shopping mall (10 minute walking distance) or the boardwalk in Parque das Nações area.
Location: Esplanada Dom Carlos I, s/nº, 1990-005 Lisbon
Tickets: Adult 14€ Children 9€
Opens all yearTop Rides
The central tank
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