The largest Aquarium in Europe
Acquario di Genova is the Aquarium that hosts the most extensive range of aquatic biodiversity in Europe. The exhibition gallery consists of over 70 exhibits and about 12,000 specimen of 600 species, from all the seas of the world. From the rarest 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 – the great predators of the sea; but also jellyfish, seals and multi-coloured tropical fish species.
Come with us in a journey that will fill you with a range of emotions and inspire you to respect deeply the sea and its extraordinary inhabitants.
NEW The Blue Planet
Diving into the Blue
The Blue Planet is the new room that opens the visit. A wonderful video mapping welcomes the visitors with a stunning sequence of images, showing marine animals coming from all the oceans.
The core of this interesting experience is the importance that water has for life.
The video is projected on a big map of the oceans of the world, which shows the distribution of the waters on Earth. It stresses the fact that the sea, from ancient times up to the present day, has been an important means of communication, allowing to get in touch with new civilizations.
The morays cave NEW
An Imposing cylinder of over 6 meters
Here starts your exploration of the Blue Planet. The dim light reveals the imposing Morays cave, a cylindrical tank of over 6 metres in height. The tank is encircled by an installation that looks like the section of a shell. Here, together with eels – usually half-hidden among the rocks – it is possible to see some specimens of scorpionfish, which usually lay still on the sea bottom, where they camouflage perfectly.
In the same room, you may also catch a glimpse of two species of seahorse and of the most intelligent invertebrate: the octopus.
The mermaids lagoon
Real animals or mythological creatures?
The mermaids lagoon hosts the manatees, aquatic herbivorous mammals.
It seems that these tame animals were at the origin of the myth of mermaids, mythological creatures that are half woman and half fish. The origin of this legend could stem from their way of nursing, which is very similar to the human one.
Acquario di Genova is the only Aquarium in Italy, and one of the only ten in Europe, to host this highly endangered species.
In September 2015, an extraordinary event occurred in this tank: mother Rynke gave birth to her calf, Tino.
NEW The sharks bay
Predators of the sea
A portal with an holographic effect welcomes visitors in the sharks bay, giving a sneak preview of what you will feel while watching the big tank that hosts the predators of the sea – not only various species of sharks from different environments, but also other interesting fish. Near the bottom, for example, you can find two specimens of sawfish, typical of the Indian and Western Pacific Ocean; they can be identified easily because of their long rostrum with tooth-like denticles.
NEW Deep Sea Room
A permanent virtual reality installation
In the Deep Sea Room, you can experience virtual reality and learn about animal species that live in the depths of the sea. The permanent installation is one of the first in Italy; its eight seats are equipped with Samsung Gear VR headset and display. You will experience three minutes of actual immersion: as you dive into the sea, the light becomes increasingly faint and before your very eyes you will see a parade of the peculiar organisms that inhabit the deep sea.
Fish Making NEW
Digital learning game for the youngest visitors.
Fish Making is the new digital learning game of Acquario di Genova, which allows you to create an imaginary fish. A dedicated room provides nine video game stations with console and touch screen. Here visitors can put together different body parts, choosing among different options of colours, mouths and fins; after that, they select the environment for the fish and eventually put it into a virtual tank.
You will then find out if the environment of your choice is coherent with the morphological characteristics of your fish. You can also create your personalised fish before your visit, using the mobile app of Acquario di Genova.
The seals island
Mammals between land and sea
This tank hosts some specimens of common seal, a species typical of the Northern hemisphere, living off the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and of the North Sea.
Some of the specimens living at the Aquarium were born here, whereas others have been abandoned by their mothers in the wild and they wouldn’t have survived without human intervention. The tank can also be seen at the second floor of the Aquarium, thanks to a small bridge that allows to see animals while they are outside of the water.
360° of Biodiversity
In the Biodiversity Pavilion, the visit continues inside the “Grande Nave Blu” of Acquario di Genova. The first part, Blue Safari, hosts the touch pool, where you can feel the excitement of petting some specimen of skate – with due caution.
In the same room, you can find the sturgeons, ancient fish with amazing biological characteristics.
Going on in the area of the tropical environments, you can explore an Indian-Pacific coral lagoon hosting many species, such as puffer fish, Napoleon fish and the zebra shark. Across from this exhibit, you can find a learning space where you can take a look at the reconstruction of a section of coral reef and learn about the biology and the ecology of corals thanks to videos, computer-animated films and 3D reconstructions.
An Invaluable natural heritage to protect
Tropical forests are an environment with an enormous variety of biodiversity, hosting more than half of all plant and animal species living on Earth.
In the Biodiversity Pavilion, the exhibit of the African tropical forest hosts land and freshwater species such as fish, frogs, tortoises and geckos. In this “green” area, it is possible to admire the first plant wall in Italy. It was designed by the French architect Patrick Blanc and it consists of over 150 tropical plants fixed in cavities created in a felt layer. Visitors can also enjoy a reproduction of the forest of Tsingy de Bemaraha in Western Madagascar.
Discovering the New World
The last exhibit of the Biodiversity Pavilion is in homage to the great explorers and naturalists of the past, such as Columbus, Humboldt and Darwin.
Here you can find some sea and fresh water environments of the Tropical area. There’s also a funny tank for the youngest visitors, which hosts the main species “starring” in the popular animated film Finding Nemo. Children can play at picking out their favourite characters from the movie, such as Gill, Dory and, obviously, Nemo.
Tropical Garden - Wings flapping
A colorful world
The tropical garden “Wings flapping” in the Acquario di Genova is a different environment that complements the marine one. Here you can actually enter into the Central America forest and you can watch tropical plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and multi-coloured butterflies without fences, to take a look at their fascinating life cycle.
The world of corals
Discoveries fit for kids
In this area, you will find the marine ecosystem with the broadest variety of animal species – and also one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world: coral reefs. This exhibit hosts three small tanks. In the main one, thanks to special lamps that reproduce light conditions very similar to those of full-moon nights, visitors can enjoy a peculiar natural phenomenon: the fluorescence of corals. The other two tanks host multi-coloured tropical species and baby clownfish and Banggai cardinalfish, which are regularly born in our Aquarium
A New Coffee Break
The new Tender Café, which you can find along the exhibition gallery of Acquario di Genova, is a modern coffee bar that offers a wide range of international snacks, both sweet and savoury. Tender Café provides you a choice of traditional and at the same time innovative dishes, together with a new way of serving and packaging products, to offer an enjoyable and relaxing break for every taste.
Meet the staff NEW
Many curiosities to find out
Visitors can meet our staff members every day and be involved in the real life of Acquario di Genova. A tight schedule of speeches – 48 meetings every week in 6 different areas – allows visitors to interact with staff members that take care of the animals. You can find out all the secrets and fun facts about this place, where life blooms over and over again.
The staff of the Aquarium is waiting for you and has many things to tell you!
The dance of the jellyfish
Wonderful and fascinating creatures
This is a room where you can let yourself be carried away by the floating movement of jellyfish. Nine tanks allow you to find out species coming from many seas around the world, but also to observe the first stages of the life cycle of these ancient organisms and their really simple structure.
Visitors can enjoy this unforgettable experience listening to a soundtrack expressly composed and lead by a particular light system.