Aquariums are the closest many of us will ever get to experiencing the world underneath the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers. Some of the world’s best aquariums are massive and as such are impressive even when just considering the volume of water inside.
However, they are also fascinating because many have well thought out and informative exhibits. Here, you can learn about a world that otherwise you may not have the opportunity to experience. We’ve looked all over the globe and chosen some of the biggest and most impressive aquariums around.
From unique aquariums like the AquaDom to massive ones such as the Dubai Mall Aquarium, we’ve got your sea life needs covered.
1. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
© Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
There are more than 26,000 different animals from 740 species that live in the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. The various exhibits are made up of more than 70 tanks, with both salt and freshwater environments represented. The aquarium opened in 2002 and at that time was the largest in the world. Some highlights of a visit here include whale sharks and manta rays as well as a large collection of coral from 80 different species. The museum has a restaurant that serves a buffet-style lunch of mostly Okinawan dishes surrounded by views of the ocean. There is also a small cafe right by the Kuroshio Sea Tank inside.
424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture, 905-0206, Japan, Phone: +81-9-80-48-27-41
2. uShaka Marine World
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uShaka Marine World is an ocean-themed park in Durban, South Africa. The park has a large aquarium that is actually the largest in all of Africa. There are nearly one million gallons of water in the aquarium’s 32 tanks. The design of the exhibit takes the form of a shipwreck under the ocean. There is a world-famous restaurant in the park, which has a massive aquarium filled with sharks in its dining room. In addition to the aquarium, the park has a number of water rides, animal shows featuring dolphins, seals, and penguins, activities on the beach, and much more.
1 King Shaka Avenue, Point, Durban, 4001, South Africa, Phone: +27-3-13-28-80-00
3. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
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The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a large aquarium in Shanghai. Its most notable feature is the 390-foot-long underwater tunnel where visitors can see a variety of marine habitats, including reefs, the open ocean, a shark tank, and a living coral reef. The tunnel is one of the longest of its kind in the world and visitors can see a stunning 450 different species as they pass through it. Throughout the day there are several times that visitors can observe keepers feeding animals, including seals, penguins, sharks, and more. The aquarium is very popular with both locals and visitors and can get very busy, especially on national holidays.
1388 Lujiazui Ring Road, LuJiazui, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000, Phone: +86-21-58-77-99-88
L'Oceanografic is located in Valencia, Spain, and is the largest aquarium complex in all of Europe. The aquarium is located in an exhibition hall called the City of Arts and Sciences and contains nearly 2 million gallons of water. The aquarium is home to approximately 45,000 different animals representing 500 species. Some of the most popular animals in the exhibit are dolphins, rays, penguins, sharks, walruses, beluga whales, and sea lions. The water in the saltwater tanks is pumped in directly from the Mediterranean Sea. As impressive as the exhibit is, the building’s exterior is no less stunning as it was designed by Felix Candela and is impossible to miss.
Ciutat de les Arts i de les Ciencies, Carrer d’Eduardo Primo Yufera, 1B
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Sea Life Istanbul (formerly known as the Turkuazoo Sea Life Aquarium) is one of the newest aquariums on our list as it only opened in 2009. It is located in the Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall in Istanbul, Turkey, and has several impressive features, including an 260-foot underwater tunnel. There is a variety of different habitats on display, including a flooded forest wetland and a rainforest. A major highlight is the Shark Encounter exhibit, which is the largest collection of sharks in Europe with more than 61 different animals from 15 species. The exhibit has shared ticketing with Madame Tussauds and Legoland, and booking all three attractions together can be a great way to save some money.
Kocatepe Man., Pasa Cd 5/5, 34045 Bayrampasa/Istanbul, Turkey, Phone: +90-4-44-32-53
6. Georgia Aquarium
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Dive in and discover all the remarkable wonders that the ocean holds at the Georgia Aquarium. Home to more animals than any other aquarium in the world, the Georgia Aquarium boasts displays containing up to 10 million gallons of water. The largest aquarium holds 6.3 million gallons of water on its own and is home to whale sharks and manta rays among other majestic swimmers. The second largest aquarium in the facility is home to sex beluga whales and 800,000 gallons of water. Meanwhile, the Georgia Aquarium features one of the largest shark exhibits in the North American continent with Great Hammerhead Sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, and Silvertip Sharks among other apex predators navigating the waters. With more than 60 habitats and 500 species represented here, the Georgia Aquarium is one for your bucket list. More info
225 Baker Street Northwest, Atlanta, Georgia 30313, Phone: 404-581-4000
7. The Deep Aquarium
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The Deep Aquarium is a massive public aquarium with more than 3,000 animals, including sawfish and sharks. The aquarium is sited where the River Hull meets the Humber estuary at Sammy’s Point. It is advertised as the only “submarium” in the world. There are thousands of different sea creatures living in the aquarium, including seven different varieties of shark. Exhibits at the aquarium include several hands-on, interactive displays, audiovisual presentations and, of course, living exhibits that together tell the story of life in the world’s oceans. As you visit, you will follow a chronological journey from the beginning of time up until today.
Tower Street, Hull HU1 4DP, UK, Phone: +44-14-82-38-10-00
8. Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre
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The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is a large, suspended aquarium that is one of the largest tanks of its kind in the world. It is located on the bottom floor of the Dubai Mall in the UAE. The over 2.5-million-gallon tank is home to thousands of aquatic animals from nearly 150 different species, including hundreds of different sharks and rays. The largest group of sand tiger sharks in the world also lives here. Visitors can view the aquarium’s main tank from a variety of different viewpoints, including a 157-foot walk-through the tunnel, glass-bottom boat rides, cage snorkeling experiences, and even diving with sharks.
Ground & Level 2, The Dubai Mall - Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Phone: +971-44-48-52-00
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9. The Aquarium of Western Australia
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The The Aquarium of Western Australia opened in 1988 as the largest aquarium in the country. It is located in Hillarys and still has the distinction of having the largest aquarium tank in the country as well as the country’s longest walk-through aquarium tunnel. The original two exhibits were the walk-through tunnel now called Shipwreck Coast and the interactive touch pool. Since it opened in 1988, it has expanded to include nearly 50 exhibits in what is today among the top 10 aquariums in the world by size. The aquarium’s specialty is marine animals that live in the water along Australia’s western coast, which is divided into five geographic regions, with exhibits containing animals typical of each region.
91 Southside Drive, Hillarys WA 6025, Australia, Phone: +61-8-94-47-75-00
10. Aquarium of Genoa
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The Aquarium of Genoa is Italy’s largest aquarium and the second largest aquarium on the European continent. There are more than 70 tanks containing more than 1.5 million gallons. It covers 33,000 square feet and sits in the old harbor area of the city. The building was built on the occasion of the Genoa Expo ’92 in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World and, as such, the Renzo Piano-designed building was built to resemble a ship heading out to sea. The aquarium showcases the reefs of the Ligurian Sea, the North Atlantic, and the Caribbean. Best Aquariums in USA
Ponta Spinola, 16128 Genova, GE, Italy, Phone: +39-01-02-34-51
11. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom
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Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is an aquarium at Chimelong International Ocean Resort. The park is one of the largest marine-themed amusement parks in the world and features top-notch amusement park rides, a variety of rare animal exhibits, exciting performances, and a range of shopping and dining options. The whale shark aquarium at the park is the largest ocean aquarium tank in the world, at 220 feet high and containing over 1 million cubic feet of water. There are approximately 20,000 different varieties of rare fish and marine animals such as sea turtles, manta rays, and sharks. Other features include one of the largest marine-themed parades in the world, an impressive light and laser show, and a 5D movie theater.
Chimelong International Ocean Resort, Fuxiang Bay, Hengqin, Zhuhai, People’s Republic of China, Phone: 40-08-83-00-83
12. SEA Aquarium
© SEA Aquarium
SEA Aquarium is a large aquarium and resort property in Singapore. The aquarium has more than 100,000 different animals from approximately 1,000 different species spread across a variety of different habitats. Some of the most exciting animals include nurse and hammerhead sharks, giant moray eels, reef manta rays, and the giant Pacific octopus. The aquarium has several options if you get hungry, including a couple of snack bars and a posh sit-down restaurant helmed by Singapore’s first female Iron Chef, Cat Cora. The aquarium shares the grounds with many other family-friendly attractions at Resorts World Sentosa, such as Adventure Cove Waterpark, the Maritime Experiential Museum, and Universal Studios Singapore.
8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098269, Phone: +65-65-77-88-88
13. Nordsoen Oceanarium
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The Nordsoen Oceanarium (North Sea Oceanarium) is northern Europe’s largest aquarium. The aquarium sits on the banks of the North Sea in Hirtshals, Denmark. The main tank holds more than 1 million gallons and was built to resemble the open waters of the North Sea. There are also a number of smaller habitat aquariums, including an exciting seal exhibit. The species that live in the aquarium are mostly those that inhabit the waters around Denmark. There are also several themed tanks that contain special animals that may not be able to be shown in the other tanks as well as those that deserve special exhibits. One such themed area is the Creepy Crawlies exhibit, where you can see many different invertebrates on display and examine them with special bio-scanners that allow you to see microscopic details of the animals.
Willemoesvej 2, 9850 Hirtshals, Denmark, Phone: +45-98-94-44-44
14. Sea Life London Aquarium
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The Sea Life London Aquarium is located on the banks of the River Thames in Central London. It occupies the ground floor of County Hall and is conveniently located near other popular London attractions such as the London Eye. There are several themed exhibit areas, such as Atlantic Coasts, Ray Lagoon, and the Rockpool, which is a touch pool. A highlight of many people’s visit is the shark walk, where you walk above the shipwreck display and peer into its incredible depths through a glass window. If you want to get even closer to the animals, the aquarium offers VIP experiences, including shark feedings, behind the scenes tours, and snorkeling. More anniversary vacation ideas
County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB, UK
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15. Tropicarium Budapest
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The Tropicarium Budapest is a family-friendly aquarium in Hungary's capital. A day at the aquarium affords visitors the opportunity to see animals from all over the world, such as alligators, a number of exotic bird species, a large variety of reptiles, small monkeys, insects and, of course, numerous fresh and saltwater fish. Their most popular attractions include the shark tank, where you can walk through a 40-foot-long tunnel surrounded by sharks. Each week they have a shark feeding show, where divers feed sharks by hand right in front of the guests. Another highlight is the ray touch tank, where you can touch and play with rays. The aquarium also has a tropical rainforest exhibit that has rain falling every 15 minutes.
Budapest, Nagytétényi 37-43, 1222 Hungary, Phone: +36-14-24-30-53
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16. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Come and experience the longest underwater viewing tunnel in North America at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Home to over 20,000 aquatic animals from all over the world, Ripley’s Aquarium promises fun and awe-inspiring exhibits that are designed to educate and promote conservation in interactive and memorable ways. See all of the aquarium’s ten well-curated galleries which feature animals from various environments like freshwater animals, saltwater animals, and more from around the world. See marine animals that are native to Toronto’s backyard, the Great Lakes basin, when you visit the Canadian Waters Gallery, or discover colorful and unique fish in the Rainbow Reef Gallery and Discovery Centre. Other galleries include the Ray Bay, Planet Jellies, Shoreline Gallery, and Shipwrecks.
288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada, Phone: 647-351-3474
17. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is arguably the most impressive aquarium in Japan. Nestled in the bay area, in the Tempozan Harbor Village, the aquarium specifically features the aquatic animals found in the Pacific Rim. The aquarium’s main draw is its nine-meter central tank which features animals of the Pacific Ocean including a majestic whale shark. For first-time guests, the best way to explore the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is to start at its top level, the eighth floor, and to travel downwards, seeing other exhibits while circling the central tank. What’s unique about the Kaiyukan is the way it allows visitors to see animals at different depths and perspectives thanks to many of its tanks stretching across several floors. More places to explore near Osaka, Japan
1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka 552-0022, Japan, Phone: 816-6576-5501
18. Aqua Planet Jeju
Aqua Planet Jeju is East Asia’s largest aquarium facility and is known for being home to over 45,000 marine animals. A top attraction in Jeju, the aquarium is a favorite amongst families both locally and abroad as it is three times the size of Samsung COEX Aquarium and Busan Sea Life. See incredible exhibitions across three levels such as the Ocean Arena, The Sea of Jeju, The Dancing Seal, Aqua Safari, Submarine Tunnel, and many more. Visitors can also participate in a diving experience at the aquarium’s main tank, watch entertaining underwater musical performances, or get hands-on experience at the Marine Science Lab.
95 Seopjikoji-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea, Phone: 82-1833-7001
19. Kenting National Museum of Biology and Aquarium
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Explore 60 hectares of incredible family-friendly attractions at the Kenting National Museum of Biology and Aquarium. The museum and aquarium are undeniably one of Pingtung’s top attractions with 3 main facilities to offer to its guests: Waters of Taiwan, which features water ecology exhibits, the Coral Kingdom Pavilion, home to an 84-meter underwater tunnel and stunning coral displays, and Waters of the World, which features a 10-meter-high viewing tank. Other popular areas of the Kenting National Museum of Biology and Aquarium include the North and South Pole exhibit which features penguins and belugas, while unique experiences offered by the aquarium include educational activities and even a sleepover tour.
No. 2, Houwan Road, Checheng Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 944, Phone: 866-8882-5678
20. Blue Planet Aquarium
Opened by none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, the Blue Planet Aquarium is the largest one in the UK’s Northwest with a huge 4-million-liter display. Among the nine amazing, themed zones in the aquarium, one of the most popular is the Shark Zone which houses the largest collection of sharks in the country. In this area, brave visitors can dive with these apex predators and get an up close and personal experience with them. Other key features of the Blue Planet Aquarium include its 71-meter underwater tunnel, the Northern Streams exhibit, the Lake Malawi exhibit, and the Caiman Crocodiles exhibit. There are also several animals shows to enjoy and great restaurants on site for hungry visitors.
Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire, CH65 9LF, United Kingdom, Phone: 015-357-8804
21. The Lost Chambers Aquarium
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Revel in the beauty of the deep from above the ground at The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Home to over 65,000 different varieties of marine animals in one opulent location, the Lost Chambers Aquarium is inspired by the Lost City of Atlantis. Come see incredible and unique animals like Albino Alligators, gorgeous sea horses, and awe-inspiring sharks from huge displays. Guests to the aquarium can also catch a feeding show for sharks and stingrays or walk along tunnels within the aquarium to discover the secrets of the Lost City of Atlantis. Brave visitors who want a better view of the marine animals can hop into one of three diving zones in the aquarium and even feed the resident sharks.
44J9+V7P Atlantis, The Palm – The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Phone: 971-4426-1040
22. Monterey Bay Aquarium
There’s no denying that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the world’s most admired and celebrated aquariums. Not only does the aquarium beautifully showcase the beauty of the world’s marine life, but it is also a leading proprietor of scientific education and a strong, enduring supporter of ocean conservation. Among the 10 exhibits at Monterey Bay Aquarium, some of the most well-known include the Kelp Forest Exhibit, which is home to a forest of swaying kelp, eels, leopard sharks, and other fish, as well as the Open Sea Exhibit which boasts a 90-foot viewing window with giant tuna, glittering schools of fish, and sea turtles hanging around. Other exhibits to visit include the Rocky Shore Exhibit, the Giant Pacific Octopus Exhibit, the Into the Deep Exhibit, and the Splash Zone.
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California 93940, Phone: 831-648-4800
23. Lisbon Oceanarium
Lisbon Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe, with over 8,000 resident animals, and the most popular cultural attraction in Lisbon, seeing a million visitors entering its doors annually. In addition to its humongous grounds, what sets the Lisbon Oceanarium apart is its beautiful design. It is the first aquarium to showcase all types of ocean habitats in what looks like one huge and seemingly continuous tank. With rare and common sea creatures alike swimming around the oceanarium, visitors can learn about terrestrial and marine ecology in five different exhibits: Birds, Invertebrates, Fishes, Amphibians, Mammals, and Plants and Algae.
Esplanada Dom Carlos, 1990-005, Lisbon, Portugal, Phone: 3512-1891-7000
24. Aquarium of the Pacific
For 25 years, the Aquarium of the Pacific has been welcoming curious visitors who want to experience the remarkable beauty and design of the underwater world of oceans. The aquarium, which is the largest in Southern California, features an estimated 12,000 animals across over a hundred exhibits. Discover animals from the great Pacific Ocean, which exhibits focused on marine life from the freezing waters of the ocean’s northern waters, and the thriving colorful marine life of the warmer waters in the south. Some of the aquarium’s most popular exhibits include the Shark Lagoon, FROGS: Dazzling and Disappearing, the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, and the Seat Otter Habitat.
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, California 90802, Phone: 562-590-3100
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