Top 5 International Aquariums

Let these spectacular aquariums around the globe serve as ambassadors to the underwater world on your next family vacation.

You’ve done the walking tours, the museums, and dined at the recommended restaurants. Now what? Take a peek at the underwater world indigenous to the country you’re visiting. You don’t need a guide or a phrasebook to enjoy looking at sea creatures. Here are some aquariums around the world that do a fantastic job as ambassadors to their watery realms.

1) Underwater World Singapore, Singapore

Underwater World Singapore is home to more than 250 species from around the Singapore region. You’ll have a chance to see Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, often called “pink” dolphins. A real treat is to see the resident dugong named Gracie. Dugongs are huge but graceful mammals that resemble manatees except for their whale-like tails. In addition, there are shallow rock turtle and ray pools as well as a very cool 273-foot-long moving “travelator,” which moves you through a tunnel housing rays, sharks, great shoals of all types of fish and a host of other sea creatures. Special dive and swim programs let you get in the water with rays, sharks and even Gracie the dugong.

80 Siloso Rd., Sentosa. Tel. +65-6275-0030, Open daily, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dolphin Lagoon, open daily 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets: $22.90 for adults; $14.60 for children ages 3 to 12; free under 3.

2) Sydney Aquarium, Sydney

Among the Sydney Aquarium's myriad attractions, by far the best has to be the Open Ocean exhibit, comprised of underwater tunnels where you can see the largest collection of sharks in the world. In the Great Barrier Reef complex, kids will love the tropical touch pool—a live coral cave, coral atoll, two circular gateway displays and a massive Great Barrier Reef oceanarium, where more than 6,000 animals are housed. The water is pumped in from Sydney's Darling Harbour, after being filtered and heated first.

Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour. Tel. +61 2 8251 7800, Open daily, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets: adults, $26.95 (US$18.60); children ages 3 to 15, $13.50 (US$9.33).

3) Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, Vancouver

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre (Canada’s largest aquarium) has some impressive numbers: 33,700 fish from about 300 species; 30,000 invertebrates; more than 350 snakes, frogs and newts from 56 species of amphibians and reptiles; and 21 species of birds and mammals from around the globe, including whales. Watch beluga whales whistling and blowing water in the popular Arctic Canada exhibit. In the Tropical Gallery, you’ll find blacktip reef sharks swimming. To see what the Vancouver waters hold, check out the Pacific Canada exhibit which includes Pacific salmon and a giant Pacific octopus.

845 Avison Way, Vancouver. Tel. 604-659-3474, Open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sept. to June) and until 7 p.m. (July and Aug.). Tickets: adults, $19.95 (US$16.50); kids ages 13 to 18, $14.95 (US$12.30); children ages 4 to 12, $11.95 (US$10); ages 3 and under, free.

4) Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka

This aquarium wins the name game hands down, at least when it’s translated into English. The Japanese word Kaiyukan means “Playing in the Sea Pavilion.” The enormous facility showcases sealife not only in Japan, but also around the world. Start in the Japan Forest, then head to the Aleutian Islands, Monterey Bay (California), the Gulf of Panama, the Ecuador Rain Forest, and so on through 15 regions along the “Ring of Fire” (Pan Pacific Volcanic Zone). Highlights of the Osaka Aquarium include a whale shark, sea lion, seals, otters and 12 tanks of jellyfish.

1-1-10 Kaigan-dori, Minato-ku, Osaka City. tel. +81-6-6576-5501, Open daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets: adults, ¥2,000 (US$20); children ages 4-6, ¥400 (US$4).

5) Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Monte Carlo

Founded by Prince Albert I in 1910, the two-floor, cliff-hanging aquarium in Monte Carlo perches 270 above the sea with panoramic views of the Principality of Monaco and the Italian Riviera. The aquarium, with more than 90 tanks, has 4,000 species of fish and more than 200 families of invertebrates. Jacques Cousteau was once the director of the aquarium. The Shark Lagoon is a giant tank showcasing the diversity and colors of the coral reef and its inhabitants. You can also see the collection of marine life gathered by Prince Albert; specimens of sea creatures (including the skeleton of a 66-foot whale); and models of Prince Albert’s laboratory ships.

Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco. Tel. +377 93 15 36 00, Open daily, Apr. to June, and Sept. from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; July and Aug., from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and from Oct. to March, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets: adults, €12.50 (US$16.20); children 6 to 18 years, €6 (US$7.75).

Destinations: Ōsaka, Monte-Carlo, Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver

Themes: Family Travel

Activities: Museums, Sightseeing

User Comments

Amazing This images are impressing me to go there!