Lisbon Oceanarium

The Lisbon Oceanarium (Portuguese: Oceanário de Lisboa, pronounced [osi.ɐˈnaɾi.u ðɨ liʒˈβo.ɐ]) is an oceanarium in Lisbon, Portugal. It is located in the Parque das Nações, which was the exhibition grounds for the Expo '98. It is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe.[4]

Lisbon Oceanarium
Lisboa June 2014-8a.jpg
The Oceanarium in the Parque das Nações
Date opened1998[1]
LocationLisbon, Portugal
Coordinates38°45′49″N 9°05′37″W / 38.7635°N 9.0937°W / 38.7635; -9.0937Coordinates: 38°45′49″N 9°05′37″W / 38.7635°N 9.0937°W / 38.7635; -9.0937
No. of animals16,000[2]
No. of species450[2]
Volume of largest tank5,000 m3 (180,000 cu ft)[3]
Annual visitors1,000,000[1]
Public transit accessLisbon Metro  Vermelha  at Oriente
Aerial view of the Oceanarium


The Lisbon Oceanarium’s conceptual design, architecture, and exhibit design was led by Peter Chermayeff of Peter Chermayeff LLC while at Cambridge Seven Associates. It is said to resemble an aircraft carrier, and is built on a pier in an artificial lagoon. Chermayeff is also the designer of the Osaka Oceanarium Kaiyukan, one of the world's largest aquariums, and many other aquariums around the world.[5]


Entrance view.

The Lisbon Oceanarium has a large collection of marine species — penguins, seagulls and other birds; sea otters (mammals); sharks, rays, chimaeras, seahorses and other bony fish; crustaceans; starfish, sea urchins and other echinoderms; sea anemones, corals and other cnidaria; octopuses, cuttlefish, sea snails and other mollusks; amphibians; jellyfish; marine plants and terrestrial plants and other marine organisms totaling about 16,000 individuals of 450 species.[2][6]

The main exhibit is a 1,000 m2 (11,000 sq ft), 5,000,000 l (1,300,000 US gal) tank with four large 49 m2 (530 sq ft) acrylic windows on its sides, and smaller focus windows strategically located around it to make sure it is a constant component throughout the exhibit space. It is 7 m (23 ft) deep, which allows pelagic swimmers to swim above the bottom dwellers, and provides the illusion of the open ocean. About 100 species from around the world are kept in this tank,[3] including sharks, rays, barracudas, groupers, and moray eels. One of the main attractions is a large sunfish.[7]

Ocean sunfish

Four tanks around the large central tank house four different habitats with their native flora and fauna: the North Atlantic rocky coast, the Antarctic coastal line, the Temperate Pacific kelp forests, and the Tropical Indian coral reefs. These tanks are separated from the central tank only by large sheets of acrylic to provide the illusion of a single large tank. Throughout the first floor there are an additional 25 thematic aquariums with each of the habitats' own characteristics.[8]

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of the few aquariums in the world to house a sunfish, because of their unique and demanding requirements for care. Other species include two large spider crabs and two sea otters named Eusébio after the soccer player and Amália, named after the fado singer Amália Rodrigues. After both otters died (Eusébio in 2020 and Amália in 2013),[9] two new otters (named Micas and Maré), their daughters, which had been loaned to the Rotterdam zoo were brought back.


  1. ^ a b "Who We Are". Oceanario de Lisboa. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Carvalho, Isa. "The beauty of the marine life". Accessible Portugal Online Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  3. ^ a b "The Global Ocean". Oceanario de Lisboa. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Biggest in Europe". Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Lisbon Oceanarium". Peter Chermayeff, LLC. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Oceanário de Lisboa". Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Global Ocean". Oceanario de Lisboa. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Virtual Tour". Oceanario de Lisboa. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  9. ^ "Amalia the Sea Otter has died at Lisbon aquariym". Retrieved 31 December 2020.

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