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Oceanário de Lisboa

Lisbon Oceanarium

From: Lisbon, Portugal

Oceanario de Lisboa photo

ABOVE: Visitors get face time with fish on the lower level of the Oceanário's huge central tank.

Fish photoLisbon is the capital of a nation with a long maritime tradition--and after centuries of dispatching ships across the world's oceans, it's only fitting that Lisbon has now brought the ocean to the city.

The Oceanário de Lisboa, or Lisbon Oceanarium, is is the second-largest aquarium of its kind in the world (and the largest in Europe).

Lisbon Oceanarium photoIts more than 16,000 fish, mammals, and other species are housed in a building that seems to float above the water in the Parque das Nacões, or Nations Park, a modern district of Eastern Lisbon that was built for Expo '98. (The Oceanário stands in the Doca dos Olivais, where Pan American's Clipper flying boats were moored between transatlantic flights in the 1930s and 1940s.)

Puffin photoThe centerpiece of the Oceanário is a huge two-story tank where small fish, eels, sharks, a giant ocean sunfish, and other creatures swim around a reef without eating each other.

Other sections of the Oceanarium, some of which connect to the main tank, feature sea birds (such as penguins and puffins) and sea otters. It's the kind of place where you can easily spend a couple of hours, even without taking part in special activities such as "Backstage Tours" or "Sleeping with the Sharks" (an overnight slumber party for children or families).

Visitor information

Lisbon Oceanarium photo

ABOVE: The Oceanário de Lisboa's exhibit building is surrounded by water. Its design resembles "a docked ship, ready to cast off."

Location: The Oceanário de Lisboa is in the Parque das Nacões, a modern district on the eastern edge of Lisbon. Once you reach the park, head for the Tejo (Tagus) riverfront, where you'll find the exhibit building at the south end of the Doca dos Olivais. (See photo at top of page.) The ticket office, gift shop, and cafeteria are in a separate building on land, with an enclosed pedestrian bridge crossing the water to the exhibit halls.

Oriente Station photoPublic transportation: Long-distance CP Portuguese Railways trains, Sintra-Lisbon-Azambuja commuter trains from Santa Apolónia Station, and subway trains of the Metropolitano de Lisboa's Red Line stop at the Oriente railway station.

From the station, walk toward the river. The oceanarium is a short distance west of the Pavilhão Atlántico arena and concert hall.

Accessibility: The Oceanário is easy to navigate with a walker or in a wheelchair (as is the entire Parque das Nacões, which is the only fully accessible district of Lisbon).

Current hours and ticket prices: See the English-language Oceanário de Lisboa Web site.

Also see:
Lisbon, Portugal - Travel guide
Lisbon Articles Index

2nd inset photo copyright © João Saraiva.