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Lisbon Oceanarium

Oceanario

Lisbon Oceanarium

(Oceanário de Lisboa) is the second largest aquarium in Europe, after L'Oceanogràfic in Valencia. Its building is one of the most eye-catching in the Park of the Nations. It is “floating” in the water, and can be accessed by crossing a footbridge. During the Expo it was called the Oceans Pavilion (Pavilhão dos Oceanos), and was one of the most popular attractions.

Lisbon's Oceanarium is one of the world's largest aquariums. Designed by American architect Peter Chermeyeff, it rises from the river and is reached by a footbridge. It is a deep-sea diving experience without any of the risks, with about 25,000 fish, seabirds, and mammals in an enormous central tank that is the size of four Olympic-sized swimming pools. Visitors can look into it from different levels for close-ups of the various creatures, including different species of sharks.

But it's the design rather than the size that makes it outstanding. It is the first aquarium ever to incorporate world ocean habitats within a single environment, with impressive recreations of various ocean ecosystems - the Antarctic tank containing penguins, and the Pacific tank with otters playing in rock pools.

They are all separated from the main tank by invisible acrylic walls, giving the impression that all the creatures are swimming in the same space. There are also high-tech multilingual interactive displays explaining the development of ocean life. Lisbon Oceanarium has two floors, and everything rotates around a huge central aquarium. If you go round it in the specified order you’ll see marine species from different oceans. On the upper floor you’ll see surface animals and plants, while on the lower floor you’ll find the marine species from the depths. The central aquarium is probably the one that most catches the eye in the Oceanarium, as here there are hundreds of species living together: sharks, stingrays, manta rays, and tropical fish are some of the inhabitants. The Lisbon Oceanarium’s temporary exhibition, “Forests Underwater by Takashi Amano” features tropical forests inside a magnificent aquarium. Tropical forests are amongst the richest, more diversified habitats on Earth. Despite occupying less than 6% of the Earth’s surface, these pristine forests, yet intact and remote, are home to more than half of the species to be found on the planet. Nevertheless, tropical forests are listed amongst the most threatened habitats, in spite of their enormous relevance. Visitors will find their senses stimulated by the smells and sounds of the forest and feel deeply moved by the authentic “jewel” created by Takashi Amano and by the musical piece created by musician and composer Rodrigo Leão. Challenged to design the world’s largest “nature aquarium”, Takashi Amano, the most famous “aquascaper” in the world, created the central piece in this exhibition, a 40-metre long aquarium holding 160 thousand litres of freshwater.

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ABOUT TAKASHI AMANO (1954-2015) A landscape photographer, Takashi Amano travelled all over the world’s forests, capturing the harmonious nature of intact landscapes. Takashi Amano became the international master of freshwater aquariums with his planted aquariums, known as “nature aquariums”. Combining Japanese gardening techniques with the wabi sabi concept, his remarkable pieces recreate nature, exalting its simple, imperfect beauty. Takashi Amano believed that observing nature closely would enable us to better understand our world and learn how to preserve it.

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RELEVANT FACTS AND FIGURES

  • U-shaped aquarium with a volume of 160m3, 40m long, 2.5m wide and 1.45m deep
  • The aquarium holds 12 tonnes of sand, 25 tonnes of volcanic rock and 78 tree trunks
  • More than 10,000 tropical fresh water fish of 40 different species
  • 46 aquatic plants species
  • The world’s largest “nature aquarium”, created by Takashi Amano
  • First time an aquarium created by an artist is displayed at the Lisbon Oceanarium
  • 1.5 million visitors expected in 30 months

Admission: Adult - 17€ Child - 11€ Family - 44€ (2 adults + 2 children up to 12 years old, extra child 5,50€) Opening Hours Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Last entry 6 p.m.) (Summer schedule: open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from 27th March) How to Get There Buses (Carris) Nearest stop: Oriente (East) Station 5, 25, 28, 44, 708, 750, 759, 782, 794 Underground Red line – Oriente (East) Station If you want to visit Lisbon Oceanarium BOOK Lisbon Private Tour here