In this model aquarium one can explore the magical Mediterranean Marine World starting the journey from the city of Heraklion on the island of Crete.
Although the seascape of the Mediterranean is connected to life in Greece, our knowledge about it is relatively limited. Crete’s Aquarium, CretAquarium, which has been operating since December 2005, it belongs to the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) which is the greatest research center for marine science in the country and the Eastern Mediterranean.
It is situated in the northwest coastal zone of the former American base at Gournes Heraklion, in a distance of approximately 14 km from the city of Heraklion.
Its typical characteristic is that is solely dedicated to the hosting and promotion of Mediterranean species; Greece is a country with a total of 16.000 km coastline and a rich sea world. The Aquarium’s aim is to promote this marine Mediterranean world. It is the ideal place of visit for people of all ages, for anyone who wishes to be informed about the marine biodiversity of the Mediterranean.
What can one see?
In the premises, where there are many tanks of various sizes containing 1.600.000 liters of sea water, you will see about 2500 marine species. Crete’s Aquarium is among Europe’s biggest aquariums, while the decoration of all tanks is inspired by real landscapes.
You will see faithful representations of Crete’s sea bottom, like the bay of Vai, which is a protected area in Eastern Crete, Matala sea bottom in South Crete but also in the complicated rock complexes which are typical representations of the area’s sea bottom. Thus, every tank offers a unique environment to the visitor.
In the beginning of the tour, in a series of six aquariums, there are species that one can find in the cracks of Mediterranean rocks and reefs, like the Common Spiny lobsters, Conger eels, Dusky grouper and European lobster.
There are various ranks where one can see sharks, spearfish, basses and sea bream with a representation of their lives in the rocks of the area of Vai. If you are curious to discover the inside of aquariums and their species, do not hesitate to use the remote-control under water cameras you will find there.
Big aquariums alternate with smaller ones, showing off the variety of the Mediterranean’s coastal line with species like sea horses, anemones, octopuses and moray eels, while there are also lobsters and many fish species of the eastern Mediterranean and Greek seas. Moon jellyfish in the special constructed circular aquarium are sure to get your attention offering a unique visual result offered by the “black light”.
Finally, in two aquariums there are many tropical fish as with the opening of Suez canal about 200 tropical fish passed to the Mediterranean, while some of them settled down there.
Information and audio guide
Updated with new technology, the aquarium has in various places, computers with touch screens where the visitor can be informed about the animals he sees. The visitor can also watch short movies, lasting a few minutes each, with various subjects and important information about marine life.
If you are more of an audio type of a person, the responsible officers of the aquarium have procured for you too: you can get small devices for audio guide with comments and information in a simple and plain language as well as various explanations about the animals, the tanks, the marine environment, ecology and marine science. Audio guides are available in seven languages (Greek, English, French, German, Russian, Czech, Italian) and can give you the opportunity to fully profit from your visit to the aquarium, enriching your knowledge.
The tour lasts about an hour and of course it directly depends on how much time you wish to spend on the exhibits. From a variety of big and small tanks, the size of which depends on the species that are hosted there, you can give the attention you wish to equally significant micro-ecosystems, which under other circumstances will not have drawn your attention.
There is also a multi purpose 150-seat room with unique projections of the sea environment. When you finish your walking around the marine world, you can relax at the snack bar or at the restaurant with a sea view, with your friends and talk about all the interesting things you saw during your visit to the aquarium!
MEMBERSHIP CARD– KARTAQUARIUM!
If you wish to regularly visit the CretAquarium, it is important to know that you can get the membership card, offering to its owner’s unlimited visits to the aquarium for a year. Subscription fee is 16 euros (twice the price of one entrance fee), while for every additional member of the family the card costs 6 euros.
Access: There are 2 ways to get to the Aquarium: visitors can take the national road (15 Km from the city of Heraklion) either can take the Cretan Intercity Bus Service which runs regular services to the former American Base at Gournes every day throughout the year, starting from “Heraklion Port”.
All Aquarium premises can be accessed by people with mobile problems, while there is also a private medical office with the necessary equipment.
|Opening hours:||The Aquarium is open 365 days a year. Monday to Sunday 09:00 – 21:00 (From 01/5 to 15/10) 10:00 – 17:30 (From 16/10 to 30/4)|
|Admission:||General entrance fee 8€, Personal audio guide 2€|
|Contact numbers:||+30 2810-337788 reception , +30 2810-337888 bookings, Fax: +30 2810-337882|