Lisbon Oceanarium

If I have only a few days to spend in a city, I tend to spend those days walking around. I prefer not to visit a big attraction that takes up the whole day.

In Lisbon, I made an exception. We finished up work on Thursday. Damjan was flying in Friday night so I didn’t mind frittering away my Friday until he arrived. I figured I would save my city exploring so that we could go together.

This is how Wolfgang, Rosangela and I ended up at the Lisbon Oceanarium. I absolutely did not regret it — such a wonderful place! It’s the largest aquarium in Europe. It has five massive tanks. The one in the middle represents the open ocean. The other four surrounding the centre tank represent the Atlantic, the Indian, the Pacific and the Antarctic Oceans.

My favourite sight was the single sunfish. I have never heard of this fish before. It is huge! According to Wikipedia, the sunfish has been recorded at ‘up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) in length and 2 tonnes (2.2 short tons) in weight’. You’ll see in one of my photos below Wolfgang standing next to the sunfish.

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At the entry, a massive ancient sea creature is made of crushed aluminium cans. There are lots of environmental messages throughout the Oceanarium.

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The Oceanarium was full of loud kids.

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This is the open ocean tank. I think I saw those funny (serious-looking) fish below the manta ray in ‘Finding Nemo’.

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Open ocean

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There are schools of fish in the tank. Apparently, when the scientists notice that the schools are getting smaller, they realise that the bigger fish are not getting enough food. The big fish are hand fed. Shrinking schools mean that something is wrong with the nutrient balance.

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These are Atlantic Ocean birds.

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This manta looks like it’s flying.

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The sunfish! The next photos are a series showing the sunfish being fed.

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Sunfish feeding

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Sunfish feeding

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Sunfish feeding. You can see the hand reaching down. How does the sunfish know that the food’s for him?

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Squid for lunch.

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These birds were in the Antarctic Ocean. They flew around the tourists quite happily and weren’t scared at all.

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This is is ice in the Antarctic Ocean. It is an extremely odd smooth texture. It’s because the ice is growing from the inside. It’s growing around an extremely cold pipe of some sort.

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This is an sea otter in the Pacific Ocean exhibit. It was very cute.

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Some shells encrusted on rocks in the Pacific Ocean.

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Wolfgang next to the sunfish.

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This lady’s talking on her mobile and her baby is watching the fish screensaver.

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This photo looks like something you might see in a Chinese restaurant.

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