a Aquarium prides itself on being 'the most important leisure-educational marine centre in the world dealing with the Mediterranean'. It houses 35 aquariums, with 11,000 animals and over 450 different species. For those of us who don't have a great knowledge of the underwater world, what this really means is that we get to see everything from seaweed shaped seahorses to sharks (yes, sharks!) at the Aquarium.
One of the highlights of the Aquarium is a 80 metre long underwater tunnel - the 'Oceanarium'. This allows you to feel as though you are walking amongst the sharks and other creatures as they swim about you and over your head.
In this article I have covered what there is in the different sections of the aquarium, what facilities are available including the shop, cafeteria and photographs, prices, opening times and how to get to the aquarium.
The Aquarium is made up of three main sections. The Aquarium itself houses most of the underwater creatures. The Planeta Aqua Section is an educational section about the importance of water to the planet and is also where you will find the penguins. The Explora! Section has educational elements but is basically a children's play area.
This is where you will find a variety of underwater creatures, including octopuses, dogfish, scorpion fish and seahorses. There are numerous tanks to walk around. Above each tank there are photographs and small descriptions of the fish within it.
This is also where you will find the 'Oceanarium' tunnel. You will travel along a conveyor belt through the tank with sharks, ocean fish and stingrays swimming all around you.
|The Penguin Enclosure|
This section has been designed to explain more about the world of water. It contains a tank full of penguins. It is also where you will find the piranhas and other lethal fish.
This is a great area for children. You can take their photograph on top of a giant turtle or inside a submarine suit. They can slide down a tunnel with water whooshing around them. They can also learn bits and bob about the underwater world with some interactive learning tools.
On purchasing your tickets at the entrance it is possible to buy a guidebook for the aquarium for €3.00. This is available in a variety of languages, including English, French, German, Italian and Catalan.
However, before making the purchase, look for the 'miniguide' that is available free of charge. It is very detailed and provides photographs and small explanations about the various species on show at the Aquarium. It also folds out into a poster of a clown fish - the real Nemo. This miniguide is also available in various languages. If you cannot find one dotted around the Aquarium, ask at the information desk and they will provide you with one.
|The Aquarium Café|
There is a cafeteria at the end of your tour around the Aquarium. It offers standard fast food such as burgers, chips and pizzas. A meal deal of burger, chips and soft drink costs €7.10. A burger on its own costs €4.30 and a pizza costs €8.50. There is also the offer of a Menu del Dia (three course set menu). For €9.50 you can purchase a salad or pasta followed by sausage or chicken and chips followed by ice cream or yoghurt, plus a drink.
|The Shark Mouth (Photo Opportunity)|
As you may have experienced on rides in theme parks, at various points throughout your journey around the Aquarium your photograph is taken. On entering you are asked to pose to look as though you are caught inside a huge shark's mouth - don't worry, posing for this photographed does not mean that you are obliged to buy it. Whilst going around the 'Oceanarium' tunnel your photograph will also be taken. If you wish to purchase these photographs there is a stall displaying them before you leave.
Sharks mouth photograph: €8.00
'Oceanarium' photograph: €9.00
|The Aquarium Gift Shop|
On exiting the Aquarium, having passed the cafeteria and the 'Explora' section you will find the gift shop - an area you must pass through to get out. Crammed with cuddly fish toys, bath games and all things cute and aquatic, you may find it hard to get the kids through this section without making a purchase.
If you are a brave person and also a qualified diver you have the opportunity to dive with the sharks at the Aquarium. This activity takes place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It is necessary to book in advance. For more details call the below number.
Moll d'Espanya del Port Vell
08039 Barcelona, España
Tel: +34 93 221 7474
Metro: Drassanes (Green Line, L3), Barceloneta (Yellow Line, L4)
If you are coming to the Aquarium from Drassanes you will be at the bottom of the Ramblas. In front of you there is the distinctive wooden bridge with wavy steel bars - cross this bridge. This leads to the Maremagnum commercial centre. From here you need to turn left and head along the boardwalk area until you reach the Aquarium, just past the cinema and food court area.
Monday - Friday: 09:30 - 21:00
Saturday, Sunday and Holiday : 09:30 - 21:00
June, September: 09:30 - 21:30
July - August: 09:30 - 23:00
Children from 3 - 12 years: €13.00
Children Under 4 years: Free
Adults over 60 years: €15.00
All in all, the Barcelona Aquarium is a great experience. Ticket prices are high and the Aquarium have taken every possible opportunity to help you to spend your euros. However, if you go prepared and with this in mind you can have a great time. Put aside 2 - 3 hours to cover the whole place as this Aquarium offers a little bit more than your average.