Family-friendly in Genoa: Visiting the Aquarium

| Thu, 09/08/2016 - 06:00
Acquario di Genova

15,000 animals and 200 vegetal species housed in a 27,000 square-meter area: these are the numbers of the impressive Aquarium of Genoa, Italy’s largest.

Built for Genoa Expo ’92, which was timed to celebrate the 500 years since the discovery of America by Genoa-born Christopher Columbus, the Aquarium is located in the old harbor area (porto antico), redesigned for the occasion by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano.

Piano also designed the building that houses the aquarium, which is said to look like a ship ready to head out to sea.

The Aquarium of Genoa features the widest range of aquatic biodiversity in Europe. 600 species from all seas of the world are on view through the 70 exhibits: from rare species such as manatees, marine mammals that may be at the origin of the legend of mermaids, to the most famous ones, such as dolphins, penguins and sharks; and then jellyfish, seals and multi-colored tropical fish species.

The visit begins in the “Blue Planet” room, where a video projected on a big map of the world oceans highlights the importance that water has for life and also explains how the sea has facilitated communication and the discovery of new civilizations through the centuries.

Highlights include: the “Deep Sea” room, where, for about three minutes, visitors experience a true immersion - as you go deeper, the light becomes dimmer and all the organisms that live in the sea abyss parade before you; the “Sharks Bay”, which features a large tank housing the predators of the sea; the Padiglione Cetacei (Hall of the Cetaceans), offering an immersive experience where you can see the dolphins both from the surface level, as if you were seeing them on the open sea, and from an underwater perspective; the “Dance of the Jellyfish,” where visitors experience the floating movement of jellyfish.

There are many more fascinating and informative experiences to be enjoyed at the Aquarium of Genoa, which makes for a nice half-day family-friendly excursion.

The Aquarium of Genoa is open from 9 am to 8 pm every day. Tickets can be purchased online on the aquarium’s website.