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Dubai Mall Aquarium

DOES  SIZE  ”really”  MATTER?

Click the reply button at the top right of this post. Comment and share your points of view.

If public aquariums are important in educating the public in marine environments, then tank size counts. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, U.S.A., has the largest in the world with a tank that is hour- glass in shape, designed to allow their whale sharks to turn around at each end.

Not all aquarium tanks are shaped the same. The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto will have a shark tunnel when it opens. For its sharks and manta rays L’Oceanagraphic in Valencia, Spain, has a tunnel that is 35 meters long connecting two underwater towers with 1,85 million gallons of water. Turkey’s Turkuazoo has a tunnel 80 meters long with its largest exhibit holding 5 million liters, or 1,32 million gallons of water.

I thought it might be interesting to try to list the 10 largest public aquarium tanks in the world. Using Wikipedia and the list provided by  including a number of its visitor comments with their suggested corrections to the list, I can see there are many important distinctions that need to be taken into account.

The size of the aquarium’s tank can be measured in gallons of water – U.S. gallons or Imperial gallons, cubic ft. or metric volume. Often there are several tanks in each aquarium and their combined volume of water is used to determine its standing. Sometimes, the size of the viewing window is the measure.  In all circumstances it’s safe to say that the aquariums showing sharks and manta rays are some of the largest simply because these aquatic creatures are the biggest and largest in scale.

Here is an example. The Georgia Aquarium is commonly known as being the world’s largest aquarium. However, according to Wikipedia,

Georgia Aquarium (redirect from World‘s largest aquarium) it was the world‘s largest aquarium when it opened in 2005. Businessman Bernard its tanks hold 8million USgal. | 30,000 m3 of fresh and salt water. …”

and  the Dubai Mall with its famous aquarium is listed as number two in the world, holding over 400 hundred sharks and rays combined.

“The Marine Life Park located within Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore is the world’s largest oceanarium, with over 100,000 animals of more than 800 species in 45,000,000 l (9,900,000 imp gal; 12,000,000 US gal) of water.”

In 2010, Touropia listed the top ten largest aquariums in the world on its site. Visit it here  and view their amazing images. Notice the flow of readers comments with their suggested corrections to the Touropia list of top ten aquariums.

António Castanheira January 24, 2011 at 5:01 am ·

Nº 5 in this list should be the Lisbon Aquarium – 1.35 million gallons of water.

What’s on your list that counts? Does size really matter?

Click the reply button at the top right of this post. Comment and share your points of view.  Guess how long Toronto’s shark tunnel will be in Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada?



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The National Aquarium Baltimore

There is no doubt that publicly funded institutions like museums, zoos and aquariums have benefited from their public Education programs. Exhibits are routinely designed to increase public accessibility by including subject experts and visitor interactivity (sometimes called entertainment) to inform and educate.

Recently, I experienced an example of this at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The Conductor spoke directly to the audience during the concert to offer a more personal experience through an understanding of its historic context. By engaging his audience he enhanced the visitor experience and increased the possibilities of greater subscription sponsorship.

Increasing public sponsorship and boosting private-sector fundraising revenue is why the Baltimore National Aquarium will “reposition itself to not only offer entertainment, but also to advocate for cleaner, healthier oceans” said CEO, John Racanelli, in an interview with Lorraine Mirabella from The Baltimore Sun.

Click here for the article.

“The ocean is a life-support system for all of us that live on the planet…”

The risks facing our oceans include overfishing, plastic debris, overabundance of carbon in the water, a loss of habitat, and fertilizers that feed organisms that consume oxygen in the water and create dead zones. Rather than shifting its focus from Education and Entertainment, The Baltimore National Aquarium is expanding its Education programs to include environmental advocacy.

What will be the effect of this change? Will it shift public focus away from concerns over species in captivity? After all, this has been a constant concern for years, one that all aquariums struggle with together with its visitors.

Will future public Aquarium Education programs that are designed to advocate for healthy ocean environments for us, in the end provide the safe aquatic environments much needed by its own living species including those exhibited in public aquariums?

Let me know what you think.



AquaBlog2I was curious about our aquarium’s state of construction and last weekend I went over to have a look. There appears to be more work needed to complete the job than one would expect at this point in time – that is, based on their opening date of summer 2013. This may explain why there has been so little talk about it’s opening, making me think it was the “elephant in the room” or rather, the “whale in the tank”.BLOGpost#2a

That’s changed now with the recent interviews with Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s General Manager, Peter Doyle on Breakfast Television, and  in The official opening date on Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s website states September 2013.





Like so many other people, both young and old alike, I’ve been following the planning of the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada for ten years. It was designed by B+H Architects  , and is poised at the bottom of the CN Tower. It has taken PLC Construction Canada Inc. two years to build the aquarium and it will soon be opened to the public.

There are so many captivating stories and interesting activities involved in the opening of a major public aquarium that this makes it a great time to blog about it. In the past I’ve been involved in the formal opening of two major public facilities in Toronto, the ROM and the CN Tower, and I recall the excitement and drama surrounding them.

It is an exciting time for Toronto. The aquarium has the potential to distract from the mammoth public image fiasco facing Toronto courtesy of our Mayor Ford.