Oceanogràfic: Discover Europe’s biggest aquarium in Valencia
The Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències [City of Arts and Sciences] is a monumental complex designed by architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela to be a cutting-edge city half-way between the historic centre of Valencia and its port. This city-within-a-city consists of the Museu de les Ciències, the Palau de les Arts, the l’Àgora, the l’Hemisfèric, the l’Umbracle and the Oceanogràfic. It’s spread over 350,000 m2 and aims to offer a fascinating range of cultural and leisure attractions that are of interest to all. Today we’re going to focus on the Oceanogràfic, a compulsory visit for marine fauna lovers or anyone travelling to Valencia with children. This article gives you all the necessary details so that you can make the most of your visit to the biggest aquarium in Europe.
The Oceanogràfic in Valencia, a tribute to the seas and oceans
The Mediterranean, the Arctic, the Antarctic, the Temperate and Tropical Seas, the Oceans, the Islands and the Earth’s main Wetlands: these are just some of the habitats you can explore inside the Oceanogràfic. The centre is home to over 45,000 marine animals from approximately 500 different species. When you enter the Oceanogràfic, you’re embarking on a journey through the watery worlds of our planet. To make sure you don’t get lost amid the beautiful variety of marine fauna, use a map to guide yourself around the park, like the one you can find here.
One particular highlight to be found among the facilities is the dolphinarium, considered to be the biggest in Europe. It can hold 1,500 people, 24,000 litres of water and has a depth of 10.5 metres. Educational shows are held each day. The Oceanogràfic also has the longest underwater tunnel on the continent and visitors can travel from the Canary Islands to the Islands of Bermuda and walk under the watchful gaze of sharks. But don’t panic! You might get a close-up view of their sharp teeth, but the strong glass can easily withstand any impacts. The spectacular Arctic dome is also certain to grab your attention; this 12 m high igloo is home to walruses, beluga whales and seals. There is also a beautiful 26 m sphere that recreates two of the most characteristic wetlands found on Earth: the Mediterranean and American mangrove swamps.
You’ll find the Living Lake next to these two attractions, an area of fresh water in the process of naturalisation. Here you can spot stunning flamingos, pelicans and many indigenous bird species from the Túria river area and L’Albufera Natural Park that visit the Living Lake waters at certain times of the year.
The Oceanogràfic and marine animals
As you can see, a visit to the Oceanogràfic makes the perfect day out for families, and little ones will have the time of their lives discovering 14 different species of sea lions and admiring crocodiles, Arctic penguins, a variety of sharks, swordfish, seals and the only beluga whale to have been raised in Europe. The list of sea life is endless and includes everything from sea urchins and sea horses to starfish and swans.
The centre also runs courses so that you can learn more about the marine environment and its inhabitants, and encourages marine conservation and the rehabilitation of damaged ecosystems. One of its key action lines involves rescuing animals that are beached on the coast.
Oceanogràfic tickets: prices
Below you’ll find details about the price of tickets to the biggest aquarium in Europe:
- Oceanogràfic admission ticket ‘Adult’: €30.70.
- Oceanogràfic admission ticket ‘Concessions’: €22.90 for children (4 to 12 years), pensioners and people with disabilities. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Oceanogràfic admission ticket ‘Young’: €26.10. Valid for children between 13 and 16 years old and people over this age with a valid student or youth card. You must bring your accrediting document with you.
- Oceanogràfic admission ticket ‘Adult Large Family’ or ‘Single Parent’: €26.10.
- Oceanogràfic admission ticket ‘Unemployed’: €26.10. Must be a resident in Spain and have your accrediting document with you (DARDE) and DNI/NIE.
- Oceanogràfic admission tickets for Groups: €22.20.
- Oceanogràfic admission tickets for School Groups: €13.30.
What are the opening times of the Oceanogràfic?
The Oceanogràfic opens all year from 10:00 AM (12:00 noon on 25 December) to 6:00 PM. On Saturdays and from the middle of June to the middle of September it closes at 8:00 PM.
From the middle of July and during August, to coincide with the Nights at the Oceanogràfic evening show, the outdoor area will remain open until 12:00 midnight.
Don’t forget, at Christmas the opening times are slightly different:
- 24 and 31 December: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
- 25 December: 12:00 noon to 6:00 PM.
Facilities and services at the Oceanogràfic
If you’re thinking about visiting the Oceanogràfic and want to make the most of your day out, you’ll be interested to know that the complex has a wide range of dining options that the whole family will love, such as a hamburger restaurant, a pizzeria and an ice cream stand.
If you’d prefer somewhere a little more special, the Oceanogràfic is also home to the Submarino Restaurant; you’ll soon spot the familiar parabolic shapes by architect Félix Candela outside the restaurant. However, the greatest show of all lies within in the dining room where you can enjoy lunch or dinner while gazing out at sea life swimming around you—the walls have large glass panels that look out at the aquarium.
Are you ready to walk underneath sharks, swim with dolphins and spot giant tortoises? A world of excitement is waiting for you at the Oceanogràfic!
Information of interest
How to arrive
- By bus: Routes 15 and 95.
- By Metro: Metrovalencia lines 3, 5, 7 and 9, Alameda station.
- Price: €2.3/hour, max. €24 per day. By showing your Oceanogràfic ticket you can enjoy a €6/day flat rate.