Right next to the famous Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias in Valencia, there’s a building in the same style, designed by Félix Candela, called l’oceanogràfic. The white and blue building has a sparkling fish on the facade and it’s the entrance to a huge aquarium. In fact, L’oceanogràfic is the largest aquarium complex in Europe!
The park is shaped kind of like a zoo. Winding paths bring you from one part to another and signs tell you where the different animals can be found. Except at most parts, you need to go down a stairs to see the aquariums. The animals of L’Oceanogràfic that can be seen above the ground are the many types of birds and ducks, the big tortoises, the crocodiles, the seals and sea lions and the dolphinarium, where dolphin shows are held every day. There’s also a butterfly garden, but sadly, I did not spot a single butterfly there, only a few creepy spiders in terrariums (and I’m afraid of spiders so I didn’t really like that garden).
The underground aquariums have animals from all over the world swimming around in them. There’s a Mediterranean aquarium, a tropical aquarium with lots of beautiful corals, an aquarium with fish from the Red Sea, an ocean aquarium with different kinds of sharks and an arctic aquarium, where you can spot belugas, walruses and penguins.
The coolest thing about this aquarium was that you had these tunnels surrounded by water. You can walk through the sea and see all kinds of colorful fish swim by. And they also had one of these tunnels for the sharks, so that you could walk among the sharks and see them swimming over your head!
L’oceanogràfic is not the cheapest aquarium. A full-priced ticket costs €28,50, but there are discounts for students and children. The aquarium is open every day in the high season from 10:00 until as late as 01:00 in the night. More information about ticket prices and opening hours can be found here.
And just a tip: if you want to go to the dolphin show, remember when the shows are and watch the time. I was so entertained while watching the penguins that I totally forgot the time (penguins are so fun and cute to watch) and suddenly, when I went up the stairs again, I realised that most of the park was empty. I heard some noises coming from the dolphinarium, so I rushed there and was still able to see part of the show, but if you’re visiting in the high season, you’ll need to be on time or the grandstand of the dolphinarium will be full.
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