For centuries, we humans have been enchanted by the mysterious life that lurks below the surface of the seas in our world. This curiosity is strengthened even more because most of our oceans remained unexplored. It wasn’t until May 1853 that the world’s first aquarium was opened at the London Zoo. America shortly followed suit with an American aquarium that opened in New York City. Before long, the best aquariums in the world began taking shape.
It is from these humble beginnings that aquariums began to pop up all over the world. And, of course, they have dramatically improved and utilized the latest technologies to design incredible exhibits of this mysterious ocean life over that time.
Why do we love the world’s great aquariums?
There are many reasons why aquariums and zoos are popular. Humans are curious by nature and want to explore the unknown. Aquariums let us see things we wouldn’t be able to see if we went underwater.
Some people are concerned about the impact of human behavior on the environment and want to learn more about what they can do to conserve the rich diversity of life on this planet. For others, a visit to a zoo or an aquarium is simply a pleasurable way to entertain themselves and their children for an afternoon.
There are many reasons why people visit these places. One reason is less obvious but might explain why these facilities are so popular.
Most of us live in cities and towns. Our lives are very fast-paced, and we are surrounded by technology. This means that we are constantly bombarded with different things that can distract us.
These stimuli can be very stressful. We are constantly exposed to noise and air pollution, crowding, information overload, and sensory overload. Our friends and colleagues often say they wish they could escape it all.
Due to urbanization, we have become increasingly removed from nature. We are lucky to live in Cape Town, where we have beautiful surroundings, including beaches and mountains. However, even these areas are no longer wilderness spots – they have been developed and exploited. Most people in South Africa live in environments that are not good for their physical health,
Humans need to have contact with nature in its most natural state. We long for the peace and quiet that come with being away from other people. We need places where we can rest and relax. Places that allow us to forget our worries and troubles and find a sense of calm inside ourselves.
Perhaps aquariums and zoos are special places because they break from city life’s chaos. They give people a chance to see nature up close. This may be why they were created to ensure that city life doesn’t make us too sterile.
One notable innovation has been the “walk-through” aspect of many of the world’s greatest aquariums. This design makes people feel like they have been thrust into the ocean’s worldview. Let us examine the 5 best aquariums in the world.
This amazing aquarium was first opened to the public in 2005. This was made possible when one of the co-founders of Home Depot provided a $250 million grant for this project.
A couple of unique features give The Georgia Aquarium its earned reputation. The first is a massive and breathtaking 6.3 million gallon tank that houses the famous Ocean Voyager exhibit. The second feature is its exciting whale shark population. This Georgia Aquarium is the only one that houses whale sharks – outside of Asia.
People that have visited any of these high-caliber aquariums fully realize what a remarkable experience can be had at the Georgia Aquarium. On the other hand, if you have only been to local aquariums, you will have a life-changing moment when you visit this exciting place – which is definitely one of the best aquariums in the world.
One of the Dubai Aquarium’s great features is its location within a shopping mall. As of this writing, this amazing aquarium has the honor of being the biggest indoor suspended aquarium anywhere on Earth. It features an incredibly massive walk-through tank that contains almost 3 million gallons of water.
In all, it has around 140 marine species, along with a stunning 33,000 individual sea creatures. Additionally, it has over 300 rays and sharks. And the cool thing is that this aquarium has created some awesome ways for visitors to get very close to these creatures. This makes it very unforgettable.
The Dubai Aquarium also offers some additional close encounters with ocean life. There are Cage Snorkeling Experiences, Shark Dives, Shark encounters, and even more. Kids are able to bolster their knowledge about sea creatures in the Underwater Zoo – which is very interactive.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
This very popular aquarium was first opened in the year 2002. It offers the Kuroshio Sea, the most famous aquarium exhibit in the world. Its tank holds around 2 million gallons of water and features a huge acrylic glass panel. It is particularly well known for its manta rays and whale sharks. As mentioned earlier, very few of the world’s aquariums have whale sharks for the public to see.
In addition, this aquarium has successfully bred several whale sharks and manta rays while in captivity – this is something that no location had been able to achieve. And to round out your visit to this world aquarium, there are many interactive tours and activities, and you’ll see why it deserves to be one of the best aquariums in the world.
The Aquarium of Western Australia, Perth
This is a privately-owned aquarium located in Western Australia and is on the famous and beautiful Hillary’s Boat Harbor – about 30 minutes from downtown Perth. It features an underwater aquarium which is considerably different from the other best aquariums in the world.
While it is certainly dedicated to offering a stunning array of marine animals, it also participates in marine animal conservation and rehabilitation. Here, one can check out the world’s largest living coral exhibit, which is teeming with brilliant corals and tropical fish.
The most massive of its aquarium tanks offers sharks and stingrays, and some enormous sea turtles. And these can be viewed from its mind-blowing moving walkway as you travel through its underwater tunnel.
L’Oceanographic Aquarium, Spain
Valencia’s fabulous L’Oceanographic aquarium features amazing architecture, which sets the stage for your visit to Europe’s most massive and largest indoor/outdoor aquarium. You will experience an amazing education about conservation and general knowledge of the world’s marine environment there.
Unlike many other world exhibits, Oceanographic Aquarium has developed and created some carefully constructed habitats. All of these habitats are laid out over nine underwater towers designed to mimic the actual ones in the world’s oceans.
Their biggest aquarium tank contains some 1.8 million gallons of water. This is where people are able to get close to sharks, whales, manta rays, and much more.
A remarkable and unique arctic tank also contains families of beluga whales. And finally, there is the massive dolphinarium. This is definitely the aquarium to visit if you want to observe your favorite marine mammals.
The First Public Aquarium
Small aquariums and ponds began appearing in homes and gardens as people became more interested in aquatic life. But these items were only for the wealthy. In 1852, the London Zoological Society began working on the first public Aquatic Vivarium, an early name for a fish tank.
This aquarium opened in 1853 and encourages the public to see local fish in their natural habitats.
Philip Henry Gosse was a naturalist who designed and created the Aquatic Vivarium. This was a huge breakthrough for its time. He also came up with the word aquarium, which is now recognized all over the world because of zoos.
This was the first time fish had been kept and cared for in large glass tanks, and the zoo had over 300 fish and invertebrates on display. The popularity of the aquarium spread and even led to enclosures being built at zoos in Paris and Hamburg soon after.
While the goldfish was still a popular choice for those who could afford them, people wanted to see fish from other parts of the world. London Zoo primarily housed local fish caught from local rivers, lakes, and the ocean. People began to look towards foreign waters for more tropical fish they could include in their aquatic collections.
The Paradise fish began being imported from Asia in 1869 and became an instant hit. This started a catalyst effect that soon saw more tropical fish being caught, sold, and transported to Europe.
Koi fish, for example, became increasingly popular as they made a colorful addition to ponds and water features. However, many fish died during the trip, and insufficient heat and filtration meant it was harder to keep these exotic species.
It was not always apparent that fish needed cycled water and oxygen to survive. In 1805, Robert Warrington built the first aquarium. Unlike the glass-sealed options we have today, they were sheets of glass held together with steel. They had no heating, light, or filters like modern-day tanks.
This often meant fish would not live for long due to unsuitable conditions. The first under-gravel filter was not introduced until the 1950s, which also saw the introduction of flake food rather than live food. With better tanks, more filtration, and longer life expectancies, it became easier to breed fish in captivity.
People used to think that keeping fish was only for the rich. But now, anyone can keep fish with a greater understanding of fish and breeding. It’s just as easy and stress-free as ever.
Final Thoughts about Best Aquariums in the World
While all of the best aquariums in the world can offer magnificent displays, they will also teach people how the underwater ecology of our planet actually works. Most of these are operated by some of the world’s finest marine scientists who are heavily involved with vital marine conservation projects, so the admission fee you pay to visit them will go a long way in helping the world’s sea creatures. So it is a win-win for everyone.