The Lisbon Oceanarium/Oceanario Lisboa is located at the Park of Nations or locally called Parque das Nações. The Park of Nations is an area of Lisboa, Portugal that was refurbished nearly 20 years ago for the World Expo and it lies on the banks of the beautiful Tagus River.
The Park of Nations is also home to a large array of things to do in Lisbon like the Lisbon Cable Car, Vasco Da Gama shopping centre, concert arena, restaurants, bars, hotels, Vasco Da Gama tower ( yes they love Vasco Da Gama inPportugal ) and is world-renowned as a bird watching area. Yes, bird watching! Who would have thought that in the middle of a large city?
Oceanario Lisboa is the largest aquarium in Europe
The Parque das nações is located 7 kilometres from downtown Lisbon’s Rossio Square. There is no direct train line out to the aquarium so you will need to make a change at a metro station along the way. Check your Lisbon metro map for more information. We used the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours to get off at the Park of Nations for our visit to Oceanario Lisboa. Our kids loved the bus as it shows you all the sights of Lisbon and Belem from the old to the new. The 48-hour ticket gives you plenty of time to get off and explore areas that are away from the city centre, like Oceanario Lisboa. You can read our review of the Bus HERE.
The Lisbon Oceanario was built on a solid structure in the middle of a man-made lagoon. You purchase your tickets on the bottom floor and then make your way into the first building where you walk up a large staircase. If you have a pram or small children there is a lift that will take you right to the top. From this building, you walk across an enclosed bridge to enter the actual aquarium. As you walk across the bridge there are boards that give you information on sea life, waterways and how humans are affecting the oceans.
Both the girls were very surprised about some of the information that was on display but they both found it very interesting and made them ask us plenty of questions. We thought that we would be able to take some pictures of them and read them again on our way out but you leave Oceanario Lisboa via the bottom floor of the second building. Oceanario Lisboa is not the biggest aquarium in the world but it is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. The Lisbon Aquarium houses over 450 species and over 16,000 animals and it has the absolute WOW factor!
The amazing feature we loved about this attraction, Oceanario Lisboa, was its middle tank. The whole aquarium is built around one large central round tank. The tank spans a height of three stories and it really makes you feel like you are in the ocean. Around the outside of the central tank are minor tanks, enclosures, exhibits and habitats for all sorts of different animals and sea life. Oceanario Lisboa houses 25 thematic habitats for different species and they are all amazingly designed.
This unique design always allows you to view the main tank from any floor you are on. It is unique to anything I have ever seen and a far superior design to any other aquarium that we have been to. We found ourselves viewing sharks, rays, penguins from all angles and all levels. We were looking up at them, we were looking down at them, there was always something amazing to look at. There is something special about watching your kids mesmerised by the fish swimming around, watching their heads follow that shark that has passed by or pointing out a giant grouper near the surface or counting Nemo’s in a small tank.
Where to stay in Lisbon
- Lisbon Historic Centre Apartments – 2/3 bedrooms fully self-contained with cooking and washing facilities in the centre of Lisbon – For more INFORMATION click here! We have stayed here twice.
- TRY Lisboa Oriente Hotel – located in The Park of Nations area near the Aquarium. It offers spacious recently renovated family rooms. For latest prices CLICK here!
- Martinhal Lisbon Family Suites – Offering studios to 2 bedroom apartments. Kids club available day and night. Each apartment fully self-contained with cooking facilities – For latest PRICES click here
The penguin habitat was a winner for us and it was the first of the habitats we went into. It is set up to look like the south pole even complete with ice shelves. The two different types of penguins the Southern Rock Hopper and Magellanic were amazing, some were standing stoic like penguins do and others darting around the water tank. There was one little one that was so happy to put on a show for anyone who was watching. He would swim up to the side of the enclosure and then dart off. He was so funny to watch.
And the best thing was you could see him splash about easily as he was not always behind glass, you could look over the glass barriers right into the water where he was swimming about. The enclosures are open enough that you feel like you are there too and you could hear the water. There are signs that do say not to put your hands in the water it is that close to you.A real treat was seeing an Atlantic Puffin as it is something we have only ever seen pictures of. Although we were on our way to visit Iceland it was not the best time of year to see then so this was brilliant for us.
Another favourite for our girls and for me too, to be honest, were the two sea otters named Eusébio (after the soccer player) and Amália (named after the fado singer Amália Rodrigues). The two playful characters would just float around on their backs looking like they were waiting for someone to scratch their bellies. At first, we did not see them as they were floating right near the side of a bridge that linked two swimming areas but another lady pointed them out to the girls and from then on it was all eyes on them! They seemed totally oblivious to the huge amount of fuss that they were causing for most people and for the Wyld Family!
From there we wandered the rest of the aquarium in awe of the time and love put into the habitats. They were all so well designed and tailored beautifully to the animals or sea life that were living in the area. It is like nothing I have ever seen before. Not only did you get to see the animals and the sea life you got to see what their homes or habitats would look like in their natural habitat. This was a great lesson for the girls. Most aquariums we have been to are dark places with very little natural light but this was not the case at Oceanario Lisboa, the whole place was just stunning.
The Oceanario Lisboa also offers some special activities for those that have the time and the budget. If we had of had the time the Sleeping with Sharks experience would have been amazing. You get to sleep in front of a huge tank with the sharks in it. You will be educated about the shark and become familiar with this amazing animal. A concert for babies is also held every Saturday morning at 9 am.
This serene environment will help stimulate and awaken the senses. This is for children under 3 only. Birthday parties and Fado experience are also available for the family at Oceanario Lisboa. Like all aquariums, a gift shop is awaiting you at the exit for you buy a souvenir of your visit to this amazing aquarium. You will be blown away by the care and love put into the habitats. It is truly a brilliant experience for the whole family. Visiting the aquarium for us was right there with Belem and a trip to Sintra
How to get to Aquarium Lisboa:
This area is served by several of Lisbon’s transport networks. The Lisbon Oriente train station
services the East Lisbon area as a hub for the Underground and bus networks. Get off at Lisbon Oriente train station for a short walk to the aquarium.
Where to eat at the Lisbon Aquarium:
We choose to have food at a nearby McDonalds in the Park of Nations. There is a restaurant called Tajo inside the aquarium. The menu is based on simple, healthy diet, inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. Cafe T&E is located in the entry of the building and features foods such as pizza and hot dogs.
Getting to Lisbon:
- Lisbon is the capital and biggest city in Portugal.
- Humberto Delgado Airport is located 7km from Lisbon City Centre
- It is the 24th largest airport in Europe in terms of passenger volume, having served 22.4 million passengers in 2016
- Lisbon Airport is served by 121 destinations with 47 airlines
- Lisboa is serviced by many international airlines and budget carriers. The airport is a hub for TAP Portugal. Lisbon is a focus city for easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling and Azores Airlines. You can check the prices of international flights to Portugal with cheapOair. Domestic flights can be booked with Expedia
- The airport and city are connected by the metro. Aeroporto Saldanha line takes approximately 20 minutes to reach downtown Lisbon
- The Aerobuses is accommodating for travelling with large luggage. The departures are available at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 between 7:30 and 23:00 daily, and connect the airport with a number of major destinations in the downtown area. Information and bookings available here.
- Santa Apolonia and Lisbon Oriente are the two major trains station for domestic and international arrivals by train
- Check your trains prices here.
- Most international buses arrive at Lisbon’s Estação do Oriente bus station. Check your bus prices here.
- You can book an airport transfer with Suntransfers who we have personally used on many occasions.
- You can book a rental car with AutoEurope and have it waiting for you at Lisbon Airport.
Getting around Lisbon:
- Lisbon Portugal features an extensive public transport network, comprising both underground and surface means of getting around. The metros, buses and trams of Lisbon is one of the most cost-efficient and flexible manners of discovering the city
- Ticket prices on the trams (streetcars) is now 2,85 Euros with the object being to make more users buy pre-pay passes. A single ticket on the metro is €1.90 without a rechargeable card, €1,40 with. There are a variety of passes available which reduce those costs considerably.
- Children under the age of 4 travel free of charge on the Metro, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
- The popular Lisbon Hop on hop off bus is a great option for tourists wanting to see the main sights of Berlin. This tourist bus has 2 different routes that travel the sights of the city on a loop basis. For more information Look here!
- The Lisbon Card offers tree public transport and entries to major Lisbon sights.
Where to stay in Lisbon:
- Lisbon has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms.
- Hostels in Lisbon can start from as little as 15 euro’s a night for a shared dorm room.
- You can search Airbnb for their Berlin accommodation offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE.
- Hotels in Lisbon generally start from around $70 a night for a double room and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards 5 stars. Google states that 3-star averaging $92, 5-star averaging $226 for a night stay.
- You can compare and book your stay on Agoda, Hotels.com, Hotels Combined and Priceline
( All coloured text in the Getting to Lisbon, Getting around Lisbon and Where to stay in Lisbon links to the pages mentioned for your information and booking convenience. We at Wyld Family Travel will make a small commission from any bookings you make. This money goes into maintaining our website. )
We have picked out two more articles on Lisbon from Wyld Family Travel for you to read and enjoy. Just click the images to be taken to the article.
Wyld Family Travel received complimentary passes for the Lison Oceanarium. This in no way influences our opinion of the Aquarium.