We enjoyed our morning wandering around Lisbon’s Expo area – especially the cable car ride and after lunch it was time to visit the Oceanarium, originally our main reason for coming to this part of the city.
After stacks of pre-trip research I read many times over this was one of the most impressive aquariums in the world. We have trekked around our fair share of these sorts of places down the years with Son in tow. We’ve seen big and glitzy aquariums and many less so but still quaint, charming and rustic. Fair to say we have a point of reference I think and with that in mind I’m not sure I would award this place the “most impressive” title. The building is striking however and although this (apparently) the largest salt water aquarium in the world is not unimpressive it was not my favourite part of our Lisbon trip.
We bought our tickets – expensive – and ventured inside. Sinking hearts all round as soon as we got through the door. The building was so packed, tons of tourists plus it seemed like every school in Portugal was also here on a visit. Noise levels were loud to say the least and I was instantly put off. Had we not bought our tickets I would have run straight out the door.
This was probably the main reason we didn’t enjoy our aquarium experience here. Anywhere packed to capacity and indoors on a gorgeous sunny afternoon is not a fun place to be. We had to push our way through the crowds to even peek at the tanks and displays. This was not quite the fun family day out I was anticipating.
There is a huge central tank and four adjacent ones representing different ocean environments. Plenty of creatures both the odd and the recognisable, our favourites hands down were the sea otters.
We followed the well marked route around viewing the sea and underwater world on a number of levels – albeit mainly from the back of a large group of people.
An interesting film gave a behind the scenes look at the aquarium. I did enjoy this but we didn’t linger too long inside. The crowds and noise made us long to escape and head back to the old streets of Lisbon. That is just what we did….