Cretaquarium first opened its doors to the public in December 2005. It has recently undergone extensive renovation, involving the addition of new tanks, species, educational programs and innovative services.
Cretaquarium – one of Europe’s largest aquariums
As one of Europe’s largest aquariums, Cretaquarium offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the magnificent Mediterranean Sea world.
From large predator sharks to microscopic sea horses and spectacular jellyfish, the diversity of marine life is showcased against a backdrop of Cretan underwater seascapes, such as the rocks at Matala (South Crete) and the seabed at Vai (Southeast Crete).
Cretaquarium is part of the Thalassokosmos complex,
the largest research, technology and entertainment center in the Mediterranean.
Thalassocosmos extends over 6 hectares in the north west shoreward section of the former American Base at Gournes east of Heraklion. It includes the central building, which houses research facilities for marine sciences such as Oceanography, Marine Biology and Genetics and Marine Biology Resources, alongside the administrative and financial services of the Hellenic Center of Marine Research (Crete). Added to this is the Institute of Aquaculture building and Cretaquarium.
Walking the Aquarium Visitors’ Route
The Mediterranean seascape comes to life in 60 different tanks, varying in size from 125 to 900,000 liters of sea water. There are one hundred observation points for visitors to admire approximately 2,500 Mediterranean and tropical organisms.
A full tour taking in all exhibits and species lasts about 2 hours.
On the aquarium visitors’ route, state of the art AV systems and innovative interactive devices such as touch screen info points, video projectors, a periscope, microscopes and stereoscopes for observing microscopic creatures add to the experience, providing supplementary information and helping to create a comprehensive view of how the Mediterranean marine ecosystem functions and is structured.