Who doesn’t love visiting an aquarium? There are thousands all over the world, but they don’t compete against the 17 largest aquariums in the world. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day at the aquarium or you want to visit the largest aquarium in the world, this list has a little something for everyone. Follow along to learn about the 17 largest aquariums in the world and find out where the U.S. ranks.
1. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (Hengqin, China)
Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is a massive 12.9 million-gallon aquarium and theme park in China. It’s the largest aquarium in the world and opened in 2014. The park is so impressive it currently holds 5 official Guinness World Records. Apart from the impressive aquarium, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom has 3 roller coasters, 2 water rides, and 15 attractions. Multiple shows, such as the Sea Lion, Beluga, and Dolphin Show, exist at the aquarium. This impressive aquarium holds large marine animals like whale sharks and beluga whales. When visiting, you can also see polar bears. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom beat the Georgia Aquarium for the largest tank because of the aquarium’s massive main tank.
2. South East Asia (S.E.A) Aquarium (Sentosa, Singapore)
While the S.E.A. Aquarium is the second-largest aquarium in the world, it previously held the record as the largest from 2012 to 2014. This 12-million-gallon aquarium opened in 2012 and is home to over 100,000 animals and 800 species. The land covers 20 acres, and the aquarium is a great destination for date nights and family days. The aquarium has different attractions, dining options, and shopping opportunities. For example, in the Apex Predators of the Seas attraction, visitors can admire different shark species while navigating through a tunnel. Some of the most common sharks include the sand tiger shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, and tawny nurse shark. At the aquarium is an interactive spot, the Discovery Touch Pool. Here you can touch and see epaulette sharks, black sea cucumbers, and chocolate chip sea stars.
3. L’Oceanogràfic (Valencia, Spain)
The third largest aquarium in the world is L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia, Spain. While it’s only the third largest aquarium in the world, it’s the largest aquarium in Spain. It’s been open and operating since 2003. The aquarium covers about 1,200,000 square feet. L’Oceanogràfic is home to about 500 different species of animals and over 45,000 animals. The total tank volume for L’Oceanogràfic is over 11 million gallons. Within the aquarium is a 6.9 million U.S. gallon dolphinarium. Marina animals aren’t the only animals in the aquarium, there are also many birds. There are also 9 two-tiered underwater towers with animals and unique ecosystems. L’Oceanogràfic is divided into 10 areas and has a beautiful garden, plus a unique restaurant, Submarino.
4. The Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
Next on our list is the world’s fourth-largest aquarium and the largest in the United States, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. This large aquarium was previously the largest in the world and held the record from 2005 until 2012. The aquarium holds over 11 million US gallons of water. The volume of the largest tank is 6.3 million US gallons. Over 2.5 million visitors from around the world visit the Georgia Aquarium to admire its thousands of animals. The massive whale shark exhibit is the most well-known part of the Georgia Aquarium.
5. Moscow Oceanarium (Moscow, Russia)
The fifth largest aquarium in the world is the Moscow Oceanarium, also known as Moskvarium, in Russia. The total capacity of this large aquarium is 6.6 million U.S. gallons. There are over 12,000 animals throughout the aquarium, including 80 fish tanks. Some of the most popular marine animals to see in the Moscow Oceanarium are stingrays, octopuses, black seals, otters, sharks, and piranas. You can also enjoy a snack on your visit while continuing to explore the beautiful aquarium.
6. The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Orlando, Florida, United States)
The Seas with Nemo & Friends is next on our list of the 17 largest aquariums in the world. It’s located in Florida, specifically Epcot in Walt Disney World. The tank holds at least 5.7 million U.S. gallons of water. The aquarium within the attraction took 22 months to build and holds over 8,000 animals, including the bottlenose dolphin. This unique aquarium is a treat for Disney visitors. You can also eat and enjoy a view of the aquarium in the nearby Coral Reef Restaurant.
7. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Shedd Aquarium is located in Chicago and is one of the oldest aquariums in the world. This public aquarium opened on May 30, 1930. It holds about 5 million U.S. gallons of water. Shedd Aquarium was also the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection on Lake Michigan. Although it’s not the largest aquarium in the world or the country, it still boasts impressive wildlife exhibits. There are over 1,500 species of animals and 32,000 animals in total. One of the oldest exhibits is the Waters of the World, which features starfish, alligator snapping turtles, and American bullfrogs. Shedd aquarium also has a fantastic Oceanarium, which opened in 1991 and hosts California sea lions, cuttlefish, and sea otters.
8. uShaka Marine World (Durban, South Africa)
uShaka Marine World is a theme park with a large aquarium in South Africa. It opened its doors in 2004 and covers about 40 acres. Throughout the park, there are at least 10,000 animals. The total volume of the tanks is 4.6 million US gallons. uShaka Marine World sees a little under 1 million visitors every year. There is a lot more within the park than the aquarium. For example, within uShaka Marine World is a large water park, beach, village walk, and rope adventure course.
9. Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer (Boulogne-sur-Mer, France)
Located in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer is the largest public aquarium in Europe by area. It covers 160,000 square feet and holds 4.5 million U.S. gallons of water. Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer opened in 1991 and is home to at least 1,600 species of animals and 60,000 animals in total. Interestingly, this aquarium was never this big. Instead, it was expanded in 2018. Before its expansion, Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer had a small exhibit space of 54,000 square feet. Now, the largest tank in the aquarium holds 2.6 million U.S. gallons.
10. Atlantic Sea Park (Ålesund, Norway)
Atlanterhavsparken, or The Atlantic Sea Park, is a large aquarium in Ålesund, Norway. Its history began in 1951 as a limited company. However, the current facility opened on 15 June 1998. The park has about 43,000 square feet of space, not including 65,000 square feet of outdoor space. Atlantic Sea Park is unique with about 11 larger landscape aquariums, 2 open touch pools, 2 activity pools, and smaller aquariums. Around the aquarium, you can fish, swim, dive, and hike on trails and beaches. Within the aquarium is a cafe and gift shop to enjoy. There is also a large seal exhibit called “Selbukta.”
11. Aqua Planet Jeju (Jeju Province, South Korea)
Aqua Planet Jeju is one of the largest aquariums in the world. It’s also the largest public aquarium in all of Asia, located in the Jeju Province in South Korea. The floor space for this aquarium is about 276,000 square feet. Aqua Planet Jeju opened in 2012 and holds about 2.9 million U.S gallons of water with about 500 different animal species and over 48,000 animals.
12. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (Osaka, Japan)
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan was previously the largest public aquarium in the world in 1990 when it opened. However, now it’s a little lower on the list but still impressive. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is in Osaka, Japan, and covers 286,000 square feet. The total water volume for this impressive aquarium is 2.9 U.S. gallons, with the largest tank holding 1.42 U.S. gallons of water. The park also sees over 2.5 million annual visitors wandering through the aquarium’s exhibits. There are 16 main exhibits and 27 tanks. The largest tank is home to two whale sharks and several reef manta rays.
13. The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo (Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE))
Next on our list is the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, one of the largest aquariums in the world located in a unique place. The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is within the Dubai Mall, the second largest mall in the world. The aquarium holds about 2.7 million U.S. gallons of water. This stunning aquarium has won many awards, including the “Images Most Admired Retailer of the Year – Leisure & Entertainment” award in 2012.
14. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa, Japan)
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium opened in 2002. The surface area of the aquarium is about 200,000 square feet. The total volume of the tanks is 2.6 million U.S. gallons; the largest tank holds 1.9 million U.S. gallons of water. Within Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium are 720 animal species and 11,000 animals in the aquarium. There are 4 floors with large tanks. The world’s first birth of a captive manta ray happened here in 2007. The aquarium also has a Shark Research Lab.
15. The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (Checheng, Taiwan)
Over 1.5 million visitors visit the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium annually in Taiwan. The museum and aquarium opened on 25 February 2000, but planning began in 1991. The surface area of the park is 96.81 hectares. The museum covers 35.81 hectares and three aquatic exhibitions, including the Waters of Taiwan, Coral Kingdom, and Waters of the World. Some of the animals living in the aquarium are nurse sharks, tilapias, blacktip reef sharks, yellowfish tunas, garden eels, and lionfish. The main ocean tank alone holds 1.5 million U.S. gallons.
16. Lisbon Oceanarium (Lisbon, Portugal)
Lisbon Oceanarium is a large aquarium in the Parque das Nações. Peter Chermayeff designed this unique aquarium which is situated on a pier in an artificial lagoon. The structure looks a lot like an aircraft carrier. Currently, there are about 450 species of animals in the aquarium, with a total of 16,000 animals. Some animals in this aquarium include sea otters, sea urchins, sea snails, and corals. The main exhibit space holds 1.3 million U.S. gallons of water and has 4 large acrylic windows. The main tank is 23 feet deep, perfect for bottom dwellers and pelagic fish. There are about 1 million annual visitors who come to the aquarium. One of the most popular exhibitions is “Forests Underwater,” the world’s largest nature aquarium. It was supposed to be temporary but continues to sit there.
17. TurkuaZoo (Istanbul, Turkey)
Last but not least, we have TurkuaZoo, also called the Istanbul Sea Life Aquarium. This is one of the largest aquariums in Europe and the first aquarium to open in Turkey. The total volume of the tanks in the aquarium is about 1.8 million U.S. gallons. TurkuaZoo also covers 590,000 square feet. It’s an important location for tourism and marine research and conservation. There are about 10,000 animals within the aquarium, and the largest tank holds about 1.3 million U.S. gallons of water. It opened in 2009 and features many marine animals like sea turtles, fish, starfish, and jellyfish.
Summary of the 17 Largest Aquariums in the World
Here’s a recap of the biggest aquariums worldwide.
|1||Chimelong Ocean Kingdom||Hengqin, China|
|2||South East Asia (S.E.A) Aquarium||Sentosa, Singapore|
|4||The Georgia Aquarium||Atlanta, Georgia, US|
|5||Moscow Oceanarium||Moscow, Russia|
|6||The Seas with Nemo & Friends||Orlando, Florida, US|
|7||Shedd Aquarium||Chicago, Illinois, US|
|8||uShaka Marine World||Durban, South Africa|
|9||Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer||Boulogne-sur-Mer, France|
|10||Atlantic Sea Park||Ålesund, Norway|
|11||Aqua Planet Jeju||Jeju Province, South Korea|
|12||Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan||Osaka, Japan|
|13||The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo||Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)|
|14||Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium||Okinawa, Japan|
|15||The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium||Checheng, Taiwan|
|16||Lisbon Oceanarium||Lisbon, Portugal|
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