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Lisbon and Dubai: Two of the Largest Aquariums in the World

The last Expo of  the 20th century,  the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition, was a  specialized World’s Fair held in Portugal’s capitol city. The theme, “The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future”, was chosen in part to commemorate 500 years of Portuguese exploration and discovery.  The Oceans building was one of several pavilions showcasing that theme.  Today, known as the Lisbon Oceanarium, it connects to the newer Sea Building and is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe.  It boasts approximately 16,000 plants and animals representing 450 species of marine life ranging from penguins and seagulls to sea dragons, sharks and rays to crustaceans, seahorses and anemones. It is one of the few aquariums in the world to house a sunfish, because of their unique and demanding requirements for care.

The main exhibit is a 11,000 square foot, 1,300,000- gallon tank with four 530 square foot acrylic windows on its sides, and smaller focus windows strategically located around it. It is 23 feet deep, which provides the illusion of the open ocean. Four outer tanks surrounding the large central tank house four different habitats with their native flora and fauna: the North Atlantic rocky coast, the Antarctic coastal line, the Temperate Pacific kelp forests, and the Tropical Indian coral reefs. These tanks are separated from the central tank only by large sheets of acrylic to provide the illusion of a single large tank. On the first floor are an additional 25 thematic aquariums depicting various habitats.

Compare this to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo on the ground level of the Dubai Mall.

The 10-million-liter (264,172 gallon) Dubai Aquarium tank, located on the ground level of The Dubai Mall, is the largest suspended aquarium in the world. It is home over 33,000 aquatic animals belonging to over 200 species, including over 400 sharks and rays and the largest collection of Sand Tiger sharks in the world. The Aquarium can be viewed from the mall through the world’s largest acrylic panel, but visitors purchasing a ticket enjoy a 270-degree view while walking through the 158-foot-long aquarium tunnel and gain access to the extensive Underwater Zoo. The zoo features a variety of amphibians and birds including a huge crocodile, penguins, owls and parrots   Make sure to stop by and check it out when you are in Dubai for Expo 2020!

Joan Thompson, Expo Sales Executive
Ya’lla Tours USA

Posted on September 24, 2019


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