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Valencia’s Oceanografic: Europe’s Biggest Aquarium

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We already covered Valencia’s incredible zoo, the Bioparc and thought it was time to pay a visit to our aquatic friends in Europe’s biggest aquarium, the Oceanografic. Found at the harbor end of the City of Arts & Sciences complex, this aquarium features marine ecosystems from throughout the world. The admission price of €23,95 seems steep, but is money well invested. The Oceanographic is huge, and can easily consume an entire day. Over 45,000 individual animals of 500 different species populate the premises.

Highlights abound. Take a walk through the shark tunnel, and try not to shiver as a gigantic Great White swims four feet over your head. We spent too much time watching the seals play, and almost missed the wonderful, high-flying dolphin show. Something unique we’d never seen was a walk-in submarine aquarium — we sat on a bench, in a little bubble and almost felt like a part of the scenery, as Mediterranean fish swam around us.

The greatest attraction, though, was the Beluga whale born in captivity in the Oceanografic. Graceful, beautiful, playful and unbelievably cute. I wanted so badly to give that thing a hug.

The best time to visit is during the off-season (October through May), in the morning hours before the school buses full of pushy, screaming children arrive. Make sure to stop by the information stand first, to find out about special events and check the times for the dolphin shows.

And please remember not to use your flash when taking pictures through aquarium glass: (a) they won’t turn out, because the flash reflects against the glass, and (b) you’ll annoy everyone around you. We were going nuts watching amatuer photographers look in puzzlement at their digital cameras, then take another flash picture. Then stare befuddled at the blown-out photo. Then take another flash picture. Befuddlement, flash, confusion, flash, frustration, flash.

If you have some time to kill and enjoy soothing music and sea life, check out our (overly-long) video of the Oceanografic:

Here’s a version, starring just the Beluga:

Visit the Oceanografic website for more information, current promotions and opening hours.
Location on our Valencia map.

More Oceanografic pictures:



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November 23, 2009 at 9:35 am Comments (7)

IMAX in the Hemisferic

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Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned IMAX film? That’s right: nobody. Everyone loves IMAX. We’re crazy for it because it blows our minds; it’s like a roller-coaster for the soul.


Valencia’s IMAX is found in arguably the coolest building of the City Arts and Sciences: the Hemisferic (location). The theater is the pupil of the eye. For €7.50 per head, you can thrill to classic IMAX staples about the Nile, Outer Space and the Deep Sea. I think they actually have multiple shows about Egypt right now. One can never have enough mummies!

If you do go, show up early and confirm the show times. Because, the schedule on their official website is full of lies. We showed up extremely late, because the time listed online was simply wrong. And: don’t sit in the back row, like we did. From the last row, the IMAX screen looks just like a regular one, only blurry and distorted. It made us nauseous.

We’d love to see some Hollywood blockbusters on Valencia’s IMAX screen … The Dark Knight and Monsters vs. Aliens are said to be even better on an IMAX. Why don’t they come to the Hemisferic?

Location of the Hemisferic on our Valencia Map
Official Web Site

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April 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm Comments (0)