I step into Genova’s Marine Park Aquarium (Aquario Village) complex and in doing so make the transition from tourist to active participant. Genova’s Marine Park is the second largest aquarium complex in Europe and is far more than a fish bowl for guppies.
I have always enjoyed aquariums and the zoo but a lot times I walk away unfulfilled because I never feel as close to the action as I wish I could be.
No problem here. Genova’s Marine Park was strategically built along the port. The layout and design has successfully created an atmosphere that many other aquariums can only dream about: a series of 39 open-water tanks that serve not only educational pursuits but more importantly do much to re-create the natural habitat for a seemingly endless variety of fish, reptiles and more.
Follow the Path
The Aquarium takes visitors on an interactive “path” – a 2.5 hour aquatic voyage through the park’s nearly 10,000 meter structure where onlookers get about as close as physically possible to a cross-section of sea life that in many cases is on the brink of extinction.
All aquariums should follow Genova’s lead. And to be sure many have. The most popular offerings are the three main tanks that are home to sharks and dolphins respectively and also seals and turtles (in addition to may many other species). And in many instances, “petting pools” allow visitors to dip their own hands into the water for limited contact with their scaly friends (except of course the shark tank).
And although the dolphins currently have their own place to hang out, that will soon change: one of the most exciting initiatives of Marine Park is the soon-to-open (May 2012) new dolphin tank. An open water tank that that will measure 94 x 28 meters. More than enough room for the park’s nine 9 dolphins.
Not Just an Aquarium
The Genova Aquarium is only a small part of countless initiatives that exist in this park. With areas as diverse as the Biosphere and Citta dei bambini (City of Children) there are activities for every age and interest. The bigger issue may be trying to squeeze everything in during one visit.
You see, Genova’s Marine Park is kind of like the Disney World of Fish and Animals. The park is broken down into specific zones: one for fish, another for animals and yet another for habitats. There is even a mini-cruise that takes visitors out into the Bay of Genova and beyond. A lot to do and the prices reflect it. Tickets average about 35 euro a head and that’s per AREA. So you may do better to purchase a “ticket pack” that allows access to several areas in the park. Go to the Aquarium website for more information.
The Aquarium is open year round from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
The city of Genova has a lot more going for than just Christopher Columbus! The city aquarium makes for a great addition to your weekend or weekday itinerary!