How deep would you dare to dive?
Diving into the deep ocean sounds captivating and yet somewhat fearful. Many people never undertake such an adventure because of that particular fear. However, there is a solution to this problem. It is called “The Oceanographic”- a place in Valencia, Spain where you can personally explore marine habitats from all over the world.
What amazes people at first sight is the structure of the building, designed by the architect Felix Candela. Since 2003 this place is one of the most visited sights in Spain. L’Oceanogràfic is part of the cultural complex known as the “Ciutat de les Arts i de les Ciències” (in English-“City of Arts and Sciences”). The latter is the largest complex of its type in Europe, stretching on 110 000 square meters and capable of containing 42 000 000 liters of water. 45 000 animals of 500 different species call this place home. Wandering around The Oceanographic, people see sharks, penguins, sea lions, dolphins, birds and even whales. All of them are separated in 9 underwater towers, each representing one the major ecosystems of the planet.
The park is divided into 10 areas where you can observe species from the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Arctic, and other seas and oceans. Furthermore, there is an area of mangrove swamps and marshland gardens which sustain more than 80 different species of plants.
The Dolphinarium is the largest in Europe and one of the greatest in the world. There are five pools where more than 30 dolphins perform their shows and four more where they train. There is a schedule of the shows which you can find on the reception in the main building and in front of the Dolphinarium itself.
The Red Sea Auditorium represents the reefs of the Red Sea. It is sometimes used for events, meetings, and conferences where more than 400 people discuss issues while being surrounded by blacktip sharks and the endangered species of humphead wrasse.
Between the towers there are islands which resemble the south coast of South America. Sea lions swim around them and wave at the tourists wishing them a great time exploring the depth.
In the Antarctic tower there is a rocky cliff where a colony of penguins amazes its viewers with underwater dances.
Just like the Dolphinarium, the Aquarium of Oceanografic is one of the biggest in the world containing 7 million liters of water. Walking under the tunnels, tourists take a trip under the Atlantic Ocean, going from Bermuda to the Canary Islands. And despite seeing parents comforting their children, which get scared by the sharks, you can also see people fascinated by the colors of the reefs.
Going further through the Arctic tower, you receive a smile from the beluga whales that stand by the glass of the aquarium waiting for the next tourist to cheer.
In the tower of temperature, one can find species that inhabit the deepest and coldest parts of the ocean. The tower consists of five tanks and a tunnel. In the tanks swim dragons, sea horses, jellyfish and nautiluses – creatures considered to be a “living fossil” given that they have survived relatively unchanged for millions of years. Between the tanks there is a skeleton of a dragon fish that frightens the tourists with its size and teeth. The next place where people get goosebumps is the tunnel due to the eels swimming around in the dark.
A mesmerizing view is not the only thing that The Oceanographic can offer. “Sleeping with sharks” is an activity everyone can undertake. The venture is made up of a dinner at the Oceans Restaurant and a night in the sharks’ tunnel. Regarding the dolphins and the seals, there is an opportunity to spend a whole day training and feeding them.