There are many aquaria that boast a diverse range of marine and freshwater animals, and which encourage the public to learn more about and even interact with some of the world’s most exciting species. However, the following aquaria are shining examples of responsible tourism and diversity of offering:
1. Two Oceans
Situated at the world-famous Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa, Two Oceans promises several unique features. Divers with PADI qualifications are able to dive with Ragged Tooth Sharks within their own (albeit manmade) environment. This humbling experience is sure to be a memorable one.
The Oceans of Contrast: Indian Ocean exhibit takes visitors through six sub-exhibitions exposing the tropical marine life of this warm ocean. The Atlantic Ocean version of this display reveals Giant Spider Crabs, Jellyfish and Seahorses amongst its many species. There is a Perspex tunnel that conveys the impression of being immersed within the very depths of the ocean.
2. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
This Japanese aquarium is home to an impressive Whale Shark, the world’s largest living fish. There are 16 different tanks that make up this facility and visitors are encouraged to walk through the displays and experience the underwater array of plants and animals.
Some of the display tanks include Monterey Bay (a tank that is designed to reflect the Californian coastline), Japan Deeps (with animals that prefer depths of between 200 and 400 metres below the ocean’s surface), the Floating Jelly Fish Tank and Japan Forest.
3. Sydney Aquarium
Australia’s Sydney Aquarium is focussed on the plants and animals of the Great Barrier Reef. With over 6000 fish, this is one of the world’s largest such facilities. Glass tunnels allow visitors to walk through marine environments and witness fish and sharks from all angles. The glass-bottomed boat also provides new perspectives on local ocean life.
4. Shedd Aquarium
This Chicago aquarium welcomes millions of visitors every year. It was the first facility to have a permanent area for saltwater fish to live and has been ranked the city’s most popular cultural attraction. There are currently more than 30 000 animals that have Shedd as their habitat.
Those travellers that have a keen interest in the sharks and other predators and prey of the world’s oceans are urged to visit some of these acclaimed facilities.