If you think home aquarium designs are creative, look what happens when architects and marine biologists think big… really big! These 7 amazing public aquariums recreate the wonders of the sea on land at facilities that appear as though they were designed in the future… and that’s not just some fish story!
Sunshine International Aquarium, Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan
The Sunshine International Aquarium in Ikebukuro ward, Tokyo is a rooftop aquarium… a gutsy move considering Japan is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone nations. One can imagine some sort of Towering Inferno in reverse scenario with water, sharks, penguins and more cascading down 60-odd flights of stairs but we’ll wait for the movie and/or theme park attraction if that’s all right with you.
(image via: Rocketnews24)
Located atop the World Import Mart Building in Ikebukuro’s massive Sunshine City complex and accessible from JR Ikebukuro Station, Sunshine International Aquarium features an overhead transparent “donut” tank that allows visitors to view fish and penguins “flying” above them. What the fish and penguins think about the situation, who can say?
The Ozeaneum in Stralsund, northern Germany, opened in July 2008 to great acclaim and welcomed almost one million visitors in its first year of operation nearly twice the number expected. The Ozeaneum’s focus is on marine life of the North and Baltic Seas while providing knowledge and education for children from across Germany and beyond.
(image via: Ozeaneum)
One of the Ozeaneum’s many highlights and perhaps the most awe-inspiring is the 20 by 30 meter Giants of the Seas exhibition hall where lifelike replicas of whales and other huge sea creatures are displayed in their original sizes. Suspended from the ceiling one may wonder at a 26 meter long Blue Whale, a 16 meter long Humpback Whale accompanied by a five meter long pup, 10 meter long Orca and 15 meter long Sperm Whale fighting with a Giant Squid.
Miami Marlins Stadium Aquariums
Though they’re not the sort of aquariums you can tour from within, the twin 450 gallon backstop aquariums at 37,000-seat Marlins Park in Miami, Florida are very public indeed. Approximately ten times the size of an average home aquarium, Living Color Aquariums constructed the custom tanks from fiberglass with crystal-clear, inch and a half think acrylic viewing windows.
(image via: Palm Beach Post)
Though the aquarium windows are backed with bullet-resistant Lexan panels to protect the aquariums, animal rights activists have questioned whether frequent random shocks transmitted by foul balls, errant pitches and the like will cause undue stress to the fish populating the aquariums. “We’ve taken every precaution,” explains Matt Roy, president of Living Color Aquariums. “All that we can do is show that over the test of time, these animals are doing just fine.” One wishes the same could be said for the Miami Marlins.
L’Oceanogràfic, Valencia, Spain
L’Oceanogràfic marine park, located just east of Valencia, Spain, boasts a water capacity of 42,000,000 litres (11,000,000 US gallons). It houses 45,000 animals from 500 different species of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
(image via: S.S.F. Happiness)
L’Oceanogràfic was designed by architect Félix Candela in association with structural engineers Alberto Domingo and Carlos Lázaro. The spectacular marine complex main building is the jewel in the crown of the 111,000 square metre (1,190,000 sq ft) Ciudad de los Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences).