One of Lisbon’s number one Tripadvisor attractions is the Oceanário de Lisboa, an architectural statement in the futuristic Parque das Nações on the Tagus River. The highly conceptual building houses the city’s cutting-edge aquarium designed by architect Peter Chermayeff. Its centerpiece, a massive cylindrical tank holding 100 species, serves as the heart of this aquarium experience.
As visitors circle the 5-million-liter saltwater tank on two different viewing floors, their perspectives constantly shift. They can be eye-to-eye with a school of mackerel floating at the top, or get a close-up look of a bottom-dwelling leopard shark on the sandy floor. The pre-designed path around the aquarium also passes through many smaller side exhibits representing marine habitats from the North Atlantic, the temperate Pacific, the tropical Indian, and the Antarctic Oceans.
In addition to the interesting collection of large pelagics such as sandtiger sharks, devil rays and sunfish, highlights included the penguin exhibit (reminding us of our recent Antarctica trip), the octopus tank, the small seadragon aquarium, and the sea otter enclosure. Love those cute otters!!! The oceanarium also had a cool collection of seabirds such as Atlantic puffins and Inca terns. We also liked the unique temporary freshwater exhibit “Forests Underwater” by Japanese artist Takashi Amano. The dimmed lights, soft music and gentle swaying of the colorful aquatic plants were absolutely hypnotic.
Tony and I have made it our goal to see as many of the world’s greatest aquariums as possible, and the Lisbon Aquarium was a worthy contender. Make sure to check out their fantastic website offering plenty of information and interesting tidbits of the animals and plants they display.