The Oceanogràfic of the City of Arts and Sciences is the largest aquarium in Europe and contains representatives of the world’s main marine ecosystems. Each building is identified with the following aquatic environments: the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, the Antarctic, the Arctic, Islands, and the Red Sea, as well as the Dolphinarium. The Underwater Restaurant and the Access Building which welcomes visitors stand out because of their spectacular roofs designed by Félix Candela.
Opened on the 14 th February 2003, the largest marine complex in the whole of Europe is shown to the world as a unique space in the form of a journey through the seas and oceans of our planet to show visitors its most outstanding marine ecosystems.
Its avant-garde architecture, the arrangement of the various aquariums, and its scientific, leisure, and educational vocation make the marine world more accessible to visitors and make them aware of the need for protecting its fauna and flora.
The Oceanogràfic is made up of different buildings that contain the most significant ecosystems representations of each planet’s seas and oceans. A spectacular sphere 26 metres in height, this space simulates two of the most singular wetland areas on the planet: mangrove swamps and fens.
The oceanographic park, created as a great leisure, training and research centre, is structured into ten great areas. The marine areas reflect the Mediterranean habitats, the polar oceans – the Arctic and the Antarctic, the islands, the tropical seas, the temperate seas and the Red Sea. Moreover, the park also has a spectacular dolphinarium, an auditorium – within which one can find the Red Sea aquarium – with an area for the mangrove swamps and another for the marshlands, and different garden areas, with more than 80 different plant species. And of course it also offers many different services such as shops and restaurants, amongst which should be highlighted the underwater restaurant where clients can have dinner surrounded by an immense aquarium.
The Aquarium at the City of the Arts and Sciences is made up of different buildings, each one identified with one of our planet’s seas and oceans, and housing the exhibitions of the most typical environments and ecosystems. The spectacular circular entrance building with its 26 metre glass walls was designed by the architect Félix Candela. The ground floor houses information points, shops and other general services. From here we can access ten different areas.
The dolphinarium of the Oceanography, with a total of five pools, is the largest of its kind in Europe. Here one may sit back and observe the magnificent dolphins display their ability and intelligence during a stunning exhibition. The dolphinarium contains some 23 million liters of water, it can seat 2,210 people. The pools hold mules dolphins, specie belonging to the group of the cetacean with teeth or odontocete cetaceans.
Located in the centre of the lake, it is undoubtedly Oceanogràfic’s most emblematic restaurant. Consisting of two levels, the upper level is displayed like an island in the middle of the lake, while the lower level is surrounded throughout its perimeter by a grand aquarium. The restaurant offers a refined and elaborate cuisine with a traditional Valencian gastronomy. Designed by Félix Candela, it brings to mind a figure similar to a water lily. It has a large aquarium on the lower floor.
Marine environment and fauna conservation activities
The Oceanografico at the City of the Arts and Sciences was not only designed as a leisure and entertainment project, but also to educate and carry out research on marine sciences and to make people more aware of the need to conserve biodiversity. The great size of the aquariums, the absence of visual barriers and special features such as the tunnels and domes allow visitors to penetrate the submarine world. At the Oceanogràfic, wich has two research laboratories devoted to the conservation and recuperation of marine species, we develop scientific and educational programmes in line with the philosophy of the most modern and important aquariums in the world.
The park also contains the Education and Research building, the entrance building and different catering and merchandising facilities. The Aquarium is organised on two levels, an upper level with the open-air exhibitions and a lower level housing all the aquariums. A large Central Lake, recreating a sea with its coasts and islands, envelops all the themed buildings. These buildings are interconnected by wooden walkways giving access to the different aquarium areas.