While swimming with sharks may not be the most pleasant experience, sharing their ecosystem is absolutely amazing. Underwater zoos and aquariums around the world allow you to do just that! And it’s not just sharks. Walk-through aquariums let you experience the realm beneath the sea’s surface and the mysterious sea creatures that inhabit it.
Ready for an experience of a lifetime? Here are all the underwater zoos and aquariums you can find across the globe.
AQUARIUMS AND UNDERWATER ZOOS IN ASIA AND AFRICA
THE LOST CHAMBERS AQUARIUM, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The Lost Chambers Aquarium is part of the Atlantis, The Palm resort in Dubai. This Atlantis-themed aquarium houses around 65,000 marine animals, giving you a unique glimpse into the Ambassador Lagoon’s underwater ecosystem. This aquarium offers diving, behind the scenes and meet the dolphin experiences for visitors.
DUBAI AQUARIUM AND UNDERWATER ZOO, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Dubai Aquarium is home to more than 140 marine species, including giant groupers and sand tiger sharks. The 10-million-litre tank emulates the immensity of the ocean biome. At the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, you can experience the marine ecosystem via walking tours and glass boat rides. You can also dive into the aquarium tank and share the waters with stingrays, leopard sharks, reef sharks and other species.
OKINAWA CHURAUMI AQUARIUM, JAPAN
This aquarium displays the coral reef and wildlife native to the Okinawa Sea. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium has three tanks – the Coral Sea tank, the Kuroshio Sea tank and the Deep Sea tank.
OSAKA AQUARIUM KAIYUKAN, JAPAN
One of the largest aquariums in the world, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, features 15 different tanks with more than 600 animal species native to the aquatic ecosystems within the Pacific Ocean.
S.E.A AQUARIUM, SINGAPORE
Located on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, the S.E.A. Aquarium hosts more than 1,000 species, from sharks to poison frogs and coral reefs. The aquarium also offers a bunch of interactive, educational activities for children.
AQUA PLANET JEJU, SOUTH KOREA
Aqua Planet Jeju is a fully immersive aquarium where visitors can jump right into the tank and swim in the Sea of Jeju alongside the native sea creatures. This aquarium features marine life from five different oceans!
SEA LIFE BANGKOK, THAILAND
Sea Life Bangkok is the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia. The Shark Walk and Ocean Tunnel are just a couple of exhibits at the aquarium that is home to thousands of marine life species.
USHAKA MARINE WORLD, SOUTH AFRICA
uShaka Marine World is a huge aquatic theme park in Durban, South Africa. In addition to the Shipwreck Aquarium, there are rides, pools and restaurants for visitors to enjoy.
AQUARIUMS IN EUROPE
Nausicaa is the largest aquarium in Europe. Its exhibits cover the Pacific, Mediterranean and the North Sea regions, among others.
AQUARIUM OF GENOA, ITALY
The Aquarium of Genoa is Italy’s biggest aquarium. There are 600 marine species spread across more than 70 exhibits.
OCEANOGRAFIC DE VALENCIA, SPAIN
Oceanografic is located in the visually stunning Arts and Sciences Complex in Valencia and is home to Europe’s largest underwater tunnel.
L’AQUARIUM BARCELONA, SPAIN
Up to 11,000 marine animals live at L’Aquarium Barcelona. If you visit in person, be sure to enjoy the 80-meter-long walk through the aquarium’s oceanarium.
THE DEEP, UNITED KINGDOM
Approximately 5,000 marine animals reside at The Deep at any given time. It is run by an educational charity dedicated to marine conservation.
BLUE PLANET AQUARIUM, UNITED KINGDOM
Blue Planet Aquarium was the U.K.’s largest aquarium when it opened more than 20 years ago. It has several beautiful and captivating exhibits, including an underwater shark tunnel.
LISBON OCEANARIUM, PORTUGAL
Lisbon Oceanarium is one of Europe’s largest indoor aquariums that also features an underwater forest exhibition.
AQUADOM SEA LIFE, GERMANY
AquaDom Sea Life is a unique cylindrical aquarium in Berlin. Visitors ride the see-through glass elevator to view the marine life.
DEN BLÅ PLANET, DENMARK
Den Blå Planet or “The Blue Planet” is the biggest aquarium in Northern Europe. This stunning architecture encases 48 aquatic exhibits.
ISTANBUL AQUARIUM, TURKEY
The Istanbul Aquarium has several interactive activities, such as fish feeding and shark diving. The exhibits are divided into 17 diverse themes.
MOSCOW OCEANARIUM, RUSSIA
Moscow Oceanarium is home to many large sea animals, including dolphins, killer whales and beluga whales. There are 12,000 animals in total, some even from the deep sea, living in more than 80 tanks.
UNDERWATER ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS IN NORTH AMERICA
GEORGIA AQUARIUM, UNITED STATES
Georgia Aquarium is known to be the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere. You can dive into the waters and swim with the rays and sharks. Virtual visits are also possible with the aquarium’s scheduled online events and guided virtual tours.
MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM, UNITED STATES
Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in the California city’s historic Cannery Row district. It’s a regional aquarium that showcases the different aquatic fish and mammals living in Monterey Bay.
AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC, UNITED STATES
The Aquarium of the Pacific is situated in Long Beach, California, along the Pacific Ocean’s coast. Besides exhibits featuring aquatic life on the coast of California, there are educational programmes encouraging ocean stewardship and conservation.
SHEDD AQUARIUM, UNITED STATES
Shedd Aquarium in Illinois is home to animals from all over the world. Visitors unable to see the aquarium in person can view online educational lessons and virtual shark feeding sessions on the aquarium’s official website.
TEXAS STATE AQUARIUM, UNITED STATES
Texas State Aquarium plays an important role in the conservation of the Gulf of Mexico’s aquatic wildlife. There are several endangered species on exhibit at this aquarium.
TENNESSEE AQUARIUM, UNITED STATES
The Tennessee Aquarium boasts an IMAX theatre that shows documentaries on ocean wildlife and conservation. The aquarium also features fresh and saltwater exhibits for visitors.
THE SEAS WITH NEMO AND FRIENDS, UNITED STATES
The Seas with Nemo and Friends is part of Disney World’s Epcot theme park. Visitors can view a wide selection of aquatic animals here. Plus, there is a child-friendly amusement park ride connected to the aquarium.
MAUI OCEAN CENTER, UNITED STATES
Maui Ocean Center has the biggest tropical reef collection in the western hemisphere. The aquarium is dedicated to studying and displaying the aquatic flora and fauna of the Hawaiian islands.
NATIONAL AQUARIUM, UNITED STATES
The National Aquarium displays 20,000 aquatic creatures. It has been in operation for more than 35 years and participates in a rescue and release programme for marine wildlife.
RIPLEY’S AQUARIUM OF CANADA, CANADA
Ripley’s Aquarium has nine diverse galleries. It offers unique programmes for students, such as virtual field trips and aquarium day camps.
VANCOUVER AQUARIUM, CANADA
Thousands of marine animals live in the Vancouver Aquarium. This aquarium has a comprehensive marine ecology and wildlife rehabilitation programme.
Additional Aquarium Fun for Kids
Want to learn more about marine species and their habitats? Take a look at these links.
- Why Protect the Ocean? Our oceans are the world’s largest ecosystem. These tourism destinations are also home to many rare and endangered species and an important part of the global food chain.
- The Marine Biome: The marine biome consists of oceans, coral reefs, and estuaries.
- What Are Coral Reefs? Coral reefs are underwater structures made of the skeletons of invertebrate marine wildlife.
- What Is an Estuary? An estuary is a biologically unique area where a river’s freshwater mixes with the saltwater of a sea or ocean.
- Are Whales Fish? Whales are mammals, not fish, because they move their tails up and down instead of side to side, breathe through noses, and don’t lay eggs.
- Shark Facts and Myths: Not all sharks are great whites that prey on humans. There are 400 shark species, and some of them don’t even have teeth!
- What’s the Difference? Octopus vs Squid: An octopus has a round head and lives on the ocean floor. A squid has a triangular head and usually lives in open water.
- Facts About Killer Whales: Killer whales are also known as orcas. They eat fish, sharks, dolphins, and even other whales!
- History of the Great Barrier Reef: The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s seven natural wonders.
- Do Dolphins Have a Language? Dolphins communicate with each other through physical contact, nods, and differently pitched squeaks.