Located in Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences, the largest aquarium in Europe celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The Oceanogràfic has welcomed more than 13 million visitors in the past decade proving a successful first ten years.
This spectacular complex boasts various exhibits featuring the main aquatic ecosystems of the world such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Antarctic and the Arctic, in buildings with a distinctive roof design by renowned architect Félix Candela. These visual exhibits focus on education and feature magnificent underwater tunnels from which a variety of marine species, including sharks, can be admired. One of the main attractions of the Oceanogràfic is the beluga whale; a kind cetacean of a whitish-grey colour which, to the delight of younger visitors, will happily engage in visual contact. The beluga is commonly referred to as the ‘sea canary’ because of the high frequency sounds that it emits, despite having no vocal chords, in order to communicate with other members of its species. Another major feature of the Valencian attraction is the Dolphinarium with a depth of 10m, putting on various dolphin shows throughout the day.
Through a variety of exhibits, the Oceanogràfic brings together approximately 45,000 creatures of more than 500 different species; a complete compendium of marine biodiversity including sharks, beluga whales, dolphins, penguins, walruses, sea lions and seals. The Oceanogràfic is more than just a standard aquarium, holding a number of related activities such as expositions, congresses and conferences which compliment its informative efforts. Furthermore, its focus on education is reinforced by its continual promotion of conserving and respecting aquatic ecosystems as well as the improvement of certain scientific programmes in collaboration with other institutions.