There’s just something about the ocean. The calmness and serenity of water has a way of making any space feel incredibly special. Whether built solely as an attraction or as part of an unusual piece of architecture, aquariums are able to capture that almost otherworldly aspect of life below the waves. Whilst there’s certainly a place for aquariums as a feature in restaurants, hotels and homes, the aquariums here are at the top of their game, built solely to showcase the mysteries of the deep blue sea.
The Atlantis Bahamas Resort
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A Colourful School of Fish at the Atlantis Bahamas Resort
The Atlantis Bahamas resort, that recently saw Ramón Colillas win a dreamy $5.1million, is the stuff of dreams in other ways too. The resort is home to the largest open-air marine habitat in the world. Formed of fourteen lagoons, more than fifty thousand animals and eight million gallons of water, this resort really is enormous! It would be impossible to cover all of the beautiful habitats here, which house everything from sharks and rays to piranhas and alligators, so we’ll focus on just one.
The Dig is a recreation of the lost city of Atlantis, where guests can explore the streets of the lost continent, taking in a plethora of species along the way. The largest tank houses hundreds of venomous Lionfish and Pirhanas, ghostly jellyfish and enormous Moray Eels. Other exhibits that span the tunnels house nine different species of truly huge groupers, with smaller bubbles being home to shoals and shoals of jewel coloured tropical fish.
S.E.A Aquarium Singapore
S.E.A Aquarium is one of the world’s largest aquariums, which can be found in Marine Life Park, Singapore. The aquarium alone contains a staggering ten million gallons of water and is home to more than one hundred thousand marine animals. Fifty different tanks encompass different habitats from across the globe, including an unusual two storey reef tower. This tower is built as a coral reef habitat and allows visitors to see shoals of colourful fish swimming in schools and interacting with each other. However, the real star of the show here is the Open Ocean tank. This enormous centrepiece boasts the largest viewing panel in the world which measures a jaw dropping 36 metres wide by nearly 9 metres tall. Standing here truly feels like you’re on the ocean floor, looking up through the water at a multitude of sea life swimming all around you. You could easily spend hours transfixed in front of this tank.
The New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium in Boston is unusual in that perhaps its most fascinating ‘exhibit’ is outside the aquarium walls. Owing to its location by the harbor, it doubles as a prime whale watching spot. The aquarium offers organised whale watching trips which take in the sites of the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, a sanctuary that is home to humpback, finback, pilot, right and minke whales , as well as many other amazing marine mammals. A nice gesture is that, if you don’t see a whale, you receive a free ticket for your next visit. What could be better than seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat?
Inside the aquarium is no less exciting, the Shark & Ray Touch Tank houses Cownose and Atlantic Rays as well as Epaulette Sharks, which children and adults alike will be fascinated to meet. The four story Giant Ocean Tank is another must see, being home to an enormous Caribbean coral reef habitat where more than a thousand marine mammals flit in and out of the central reef. Perhaps the most unusual exhibit here is the extensive Amazon Rainforest habitat. Including forest, river and lake settings, hundreds of live plants bring this part of the aquarium to life. Poison frogs jump across vines, whilst anacondas slither along the tank floor. Electric eels and Piranhas are the vicious inhabitants of the freshwater here – definitely a brilliant place to let your imagination run wild.
Percula Clownfish at ‘The Deep’ Aquarium, Hull.
Although not as large as some of the enormous aquariums before, The Deep is a particularly special aquariumin Hull, England. This is the world’s only “submarium” and has a strong focus on conservation. Opened in 2002 with help from the Millenium Project, The Deep operates as an education and conservation charity.
The building itself is truly spectacular and was designed by Sir Terry Farrell, overlooking the Humber estuary. It compliments its surroundings, with glass and aluminium forming the bulk of this dramatic building. In it’s first year it welcomed more than 850,000 visitors, making it even busier than London Zoo! Possibly the most unusual tank here is the huge Endless Ocean tank, home to the only Green Sawfish in the UK, as well as a huge school of Horse-eye jacks. Some of the most fortunate inhabitants are Sensa and Mabouche, two Loggerhead sea turtles who were rescued after being caught on fishing line in the Mediterranean. The injuries that they suffered meant that rehabilitation and release into the wild would have been impossible, but with the help of The Deep, they will be able to live out their natural lives in a kinder environment.