The Oceanarium is Europe’s largest aquarium. In the world, just one aquarium has larger dimensions than Lisbon’s Oceanarium – the Osaka Aquarium in Japan. It was built some 10 years ago by the same architect who designed the Lisbon Oceanarium
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.
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.
The tank habitat is that of the high seas, and a good percentage of its inhabitants are large animals, known for being strong swimmers. Most are migratory species, and ranges can span several oceans. The best known are the sharks, rays and barracudas. Large shoals of fish can also be found on the high seas, although they are more common in coastal waters and on the continental shelf.