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Genoa Aquarium - All about Italy's largest immersive aquarium

Genoa Aquarium, Europe's largest marine museum, showcases 10,000 marine marvels across 71 tanks. Explore stunning biodiversity, from playful dolphins to majestic sharks, and journey through diverse underwater...

Founded On

1992

Quick information

RECOMMENDED DURATION

3 hours

Timings

9am–8pm

VISITORS PER YEAR

1200000

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - STANDARD

30-60 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

Plan your visit

Did you know?

Originally, the Genoa Aquarium was built for the 1992 World Expo to celebrate 500 years since the sailor Christopher Colombus discovered the New World.

The Aquarium's design is inspired by the nautilus shell, a beautiful seashell with a spiral chambered interior. This reflects the building's focus on showcasing the ocean's wonders.

The aquarium isn't entirely built on land, but partially also on a boat which is connected to the main building by a walkway.




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Quick facts about Genoa Aquarium

Genoa Aquarium

Total animals: 12,000+
No of species: 600+
No of exhibits: 70+
Types of habitats: Freshwater, saltwater, coral reef, and Mediterranean environments.
Popular animals: Dolphins Manatees, Sharks, Sea horses, Stingrays
Conservation programs: Species breeding, research collaborations, education outreach

Why visit the Genoa Aquarium?

Genoa Aquarium
  • See the largest aquatic exhibition in Europe: With 71 water tanks and over 12,000 animals of 600 species, Genoa Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Europe, spread across a massive area of about 33,000 square feet.
  • Appreciate the diverse range of marine species: Get up close with rare marine mammals from across the world's oceans including the mythical manatees and sea's great predators — sharks.
  • Enjoy views of the Old Port of Genoa: Don't miss the stunning views of the Old Port of Genoa, as the aquarium is built inside an old harbor.
  • Relish the immersive & unique setting: Genoa Aquarium replicates natural habitats for seals, jellyfish, tropical fish, and more. See penguins waddle, dolphins splash, and piranhas snap. Learn about Antarctic animals, marvel at the deep blue sea wonders, and snap some cool photos!
  • Hop aboard the ship: Guests can visit a massive 100-meter-long ship that is connected by a walkway from the aquarium. 

Exhibits at Genoa Aquarium

Genoa Aquarium - The Blue Planet

The Blue Planet

A gripping video mapping experience covering marine life from all the oceans, highlighting the vital role of water in sustaining life on our planet.

Genoa Aquarium - The Moray Cave

The Moray Cave

A cylindrical tank that is 6 meters in height, the Moray Eel Cave is named after the menacing fish that live here. It is also home to moray eels, scorpion fish, seahorses, and the clever octopus.

Genoa Aquarium - The Mermaid Lagoon

The Mermaid Lagoon

Meet our friendly manatees, possibly the real-life inspiration for mermaids. These endangered creatures find a safe haven at the Aquarium of Genoa, making it a rare treat for visitors to see them up close.

Genoa Aquarium- Shark Bay

Shark Bay

Named for its formidable inhabitants, Shark Bay houses a variety of sharks from around the globe, along with other marine species. Swipe the ocean floor for sawfish native to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Genoa Aquarium - Seal Island

Seal Island

Catch playful seals from the Atlantic, Pacific, and North Sea at the aquarium. Some were born here, while others were rescued after being abandoned. Watch them play on a small bridge, taking breaks from the water.

Genoa Aquarium - The Kingdom of Ice

The Kingdom of Ice

Experience the Antarctic's magic with invertebrates, fish, and Gentoo and Magellanic penguins. Witness their vibrant habitats and behaviors up close.

Genoa Aquarium - Close Encounter with Dolphins

Close Encounter with Dolphins

Foster a personal connection with bottlenose dolphins at the Cetacean Pavilion. Enjoy their beauty and behavior from two viewing levels, offering both surface and underwater perspectives.

Genoa Aquarium - Biodiversity Pavillion

Biodiversity Pavillion

Guests will enter the Grande Nave Blu of the Aquarium, interact with various skate species and observe sturgeons, ancient fish. A learning space offers insights into coral ecology and biology through 3D reconstructions, videos, and animated films.

Genoa Aquarium - Tropical Forest

Tropical Forest

Tropical forests are home to more than half of the animal and plant species on earth. Be amazed by Italy's first plant wall designed by architect Patrick Blanc, featuring over 150 tropical plants nestled in cavities.

Genoa Aquarium - Tropical Routes

Tropical Routes

This is the last exhibit of the biodiversity pavilion and is dedicated to the naturalists and explorers of the past, such as Darwin, Humboldt, and Columbus. You’ll find freshwater and seawater habitats here.

Genoa Aquarium - World of Corals

World of Corals

Explore one of the most endangered marine ecosystems in the world - coral reefs. This exhibit features 3 small tanks. The first one depicts the fluorescence of corals, with the help of special lamps that imitate the conditions of a full-moon night. 

Genoa Aquarium - Dance of Jellyfish

Dance of Jellyfish

Unearth the ancient secrets of the underwater world - jellyfish. It has 9 tanks with jellyfish species from across the globe. You can observe the first few stages of life of these ancient creatures while listening to an intriguing soundtrack and an eye-catching light system.

History of the Genoa Aquarium

Genoa Aquarium

The Aquarium of Genoa was originally built as part of the International Exhibition Genoa ‘92 - Colombo ‘92. The expo was to celebrate 500 years since Christopher Columbus’s expedition to discover the world. The aquarium is designed in the shape of a ship that is about to head out to sea. The aquarium was designed by renowned Genoese architect, Renzo Piano. The interiors of the building as well as some of the early exhibits were designed by Peter Chermayeff and his team from Cambridge Seven Associates. 

The original exhibit aimed to showcase the Ligurian Sea, as well as the Caribbean and North Atlantic reefs. Additionally, it also aimed to cover these areas over two time periods, one during Columbus’ expedition in 1942, and the second, a more ecological awareness from 1992.  

AcquarioVillage world

AcquarioVillage at Genoa is a combination of several attractions within the aquarium complex including the Aquarium itself.

Genoa Aquarium
Genoa Aquarium City of Children and Teens
Genoa Aquarium Biosphere

Biosphere

Step into a stunning glass habitat exhibiting over 150 species of rare tropical plants and animals. Learn about the fragile beauty of tropical ecosystems, their interconnectedness, and the conservation efforts needed to protect them.

Genoa Aquarium - Bigo

Bigo

Soar above Genoa's historic center with a thrilling 360° aerial view from 40 meters high. Designed by Renzo Piano, enjoy panoramic vistas, multilingual audio guides, and a unique perspective of the city's architectural landmarks.

Frequently asked questions about Genoa Aquarium

Why was the Genoa Aquarium built and for what purpose?

The Genoa Aquarium was built for the Genoa Expo held in 1992. It was built to celebrate 500 years after Christopher Columbus’s expedition to discover the new world.

What are the main attractions inside Genoa Aquarium?

With over 12,000 animals from 400 species across 43 tanks and 70 ecosystems, the Genoa Aquarium offers an immersive journey through the wonders of the underwater world. Here are a few of its main highlights:
- Dolphin pool: Watch the playful antics of bottlenose dolphins in the large outdoor pool.
- Shark bay: Marvel at the majestic sand tiger sharks and reef sharks in this dedicated exhibit.
- Mermaid lagoon: See the gentle manatees swaying in a lagoon-like setting, inspired by the mythical mermaids.
- Ice kingdom: Observe the Gentoo and Magellanic penguins and Antarctic fish in their icy habitat.
- Tropical reefs: Explore the vibrant coral reefs teeming with clownfish, sea anemones and other tropical marine life.
- Jellyfish exhibit: A whole room dedicated to showcasing various species of jellyfish.
- Petting pool: Visitors can touch and interact with stingrays and other marine animals in the dedicated touch pool exhibit

Can you interact with marine animals at Genoa Aquarium?

Yes, you can interact with marine animals at the Genoa Aquarium. The aquarium offers interactive experiences such as the petting pool where visitors can touch and interact with stingrays, and behind-the-scenes tours that provide insights into the daily management of the animals and the complex workings of the aquarium. Additionally, there are opportunities for face-to-face encounters with penguins and dolphins, where you can learn in-depth about the animals and their care.

Are there specific exhibits suitable for children at Genoa Aquarium?

The aquarium has several exhibits and experiences tailored for children. Here are a few popular ones:
- The City of Children and Youth - An interactive educational area designed for kids to learn about marine life through hands-on activities.
- Night with sharks - Children aged 7-11 can have the thrilling experience of sleeping overnight in front of the shark tank.
- The World of Corals - This exhibit has three small tanks: one with special lamps that mimic moonlight to show coral fluorescence, and two with colorful tropical species, including baby clownfish and cardinalfish.
- The Dance of the Jellyfish - Watch jellyfish glide gracefully in nine mesmerizing tanks. Kids can learn about these ancient creatures' life cycles, accompanied by a special soundtrack and cool lighting effects for a fun and immersive experience.

How long does it take to explore all the exhibits inside Genoa Aquarium?

The recommended duration to visit the aquarium is at least 3 hours, although you could easily spend an entire day exploring the various exhibits and environments. With over 12,000 animals from 400 species across 43 tanks and 70 ecosystems, there is plenty to see and discover at this expansive aquarium.

Are there any educational programs or guided tours available for visitors at Genoa Aquarium?

Yes, the Genoa Aquarium offers several educational programs and guided tours for visitors:
- Educational workshops: The aquarium provides engaging educational workshops and programs designed to foster an understanding of marine life and conservation efforts. These workshops are suitable for visitors of all ages, including children and students.
- Educational tours: The aquarium offers 90-minute educational tours that include explanations of the exhibits and how they are maintained. These tours offer a deeper understanding of the aquarium's operations and the animals it houses.
- Face-to-face encounters: You can participate in guided encounters to observe the daily activities of specific animals, such as dolphins and penguins, and learn about their behaviors. These encounters include feeding sessions. 
- Behind-the-scenes tours: You can enjoy guided tours behind the scenes to explore the technical areas and labs, discovering how the aquarium's tanks are maintained and animals cared for.

What conservation efforts does Genoa Aquarium participate in?

The Genoa Aquarium participates in various conservation efforts, including:
- European Conservation Project: The aquarium is involved in a European conservation project that includes about 20 structures, making it the only facility in Europe where you can see manatees, also known as "sirens of the sea".
- Research and Conservation Projects: The aquarium is engaged in research and conservation projects aimed at protecting and preserving marine ecosystems. It also participates in restocking and recovery programs for threatened marine species.
- Mediterranean Monk Seal Conservation: The Fondazione Acquario di Genova Onlus, the Genoa Aquarium Foundation, is working on a project to promote Mediterranean Monk Seal conservation in the Pelagos Sanctuary and the wider Mediterranean Sea. This project includes a pilot trial of bio-activators to improve water quality in Genoa's polluted Ancient Harbour.
- Citizen Science: The aquarium collaborates with public and private bodies to raise awareness and educate the public on conservation, management, and responsible use of aquatic environments. This includes organizing educational programs, exhibitions, conferences, environmental awareness campaigns, and applied scientific research projects.

Are there any dining options available inside Genoa Aquarium?

Yes, visitors at the Genoa Aquarium can enjoy access to both casual, quick dining options as well as a more formal, sit-down restaurant experience without having to leave the aquarium complex. Here are the options you can explore:
- Tender Cafe- This is a fast food bar located inside the aquarium that offers quick snacks and meals prepared fresh daily using quality ingredients.
- Gusto A Bordo Restaurant- This is a full-service restaurant within the aquarium that serves a refined, high-quality menu featuring traditional Ligurian cuisine with a modern twist. The restaurant has a suggestive and elegant atmosphere.

How does the AcquarioVillage at the Genoa Aquarium combine various attractions within the complex?

The AcquarioVillage at the Genoa Aquarium combines various attractions within the complex by offering a multifaceted experiences. It includes the Genoa Aquarium itself, The City of Children and Teens, Bigo, and Biosphere. You can explore the wonders of the marine world, engage in interactive educational experiences, enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area, and enjoy the a tropical forest ecosystem, all within the same complex.