Aquarium of Genoa, What to See and What to Know

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

THEGenova's aquarium allows people to take a unique and unmissable journey right inside the sea, offering the possibility to study whatever species lives there, allowing you to observe a world usually hidden from our eyes, all to be discovered, in continuous evolution, which reserves surprises from leave you speechless!

here it is what you need to know to visit the Aquarium of Genoa!

Genoa, the marine metropolis par excellence, a spectacular city with a glorious and eventful history due to the importance of the presence of the sea for it.



Being the main source of trade and commerce, the Mediterranean gives Genoa the opportunity to boast a vast versatility and richness of cultural movement.

Who has never been dazzled by the charm of the Port of Genoa?

Well, my city manages to ensure that the sea creeps into people through the scent of salt, an unmistakable and irreplaceable climate, unique colors, inconstant like the reflected images of moored boats.

Personally, as a Genoese, I don't know how many times I've been to the Aquarium, certainly countless. When I was a young graduate student and I was struggling with a thousand jobs, I worked there for a whole summer as a photographer (do you know the ones who take your photo at the entrance? Here, I was one of them)

I have also been there on some special occasions such as the release of the loggerhead turtles that the Aquarium regularly treats and then releases them into the sea.

WHAT I NEED TO SAY YOU

There is no "right" number of times to visit the Aquarium: it is always different, the exhibitions change and there are often very interesting and fun events for children.


If you have already been there then you can go back a second and a third time and you will discover lots of new things, so keep an eye on the Official site to find out what unexpected experiences it offers!


You can buy HERE the AQUARIUM + WHALE WATCHING tour -> HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  • 1 - Aquarium of Genoa: Information
  • 2 - How to get there and where to park
  • 3 - Timetables 2020/2021
  • 4 - Tickets and Tours
  • 5 - Rooms and routes: What to see at the Aquarium
    • 1 - Blue Planet
    • 2 - Cave of the Murene
    • 3 - Lagoon of the Sirens
    • 4 - Bay of Sharks
    • 5 - Room of the 5 Terre
    • 6 - Room of the Abyss
    • 7 - Blue Ship
    • 8 - Biodiversity Pavilion
  • 6 - Where to eat at the Aquarium
  • 7 - What to see near the Aquarium
    • 1 - Biosphere
    • 2 - Bigo panoramic lift
    • 3 - Galata Museo del Mare
    • 4 - Galleon Neptune
    • 5 - City of Children
    • 6 – Whale Watching!
  • 8 - Aquarium of Genoa: Precious advice before the visit
  • 9 - Where to sleep near the Aquarium

1 - Aquarium of Genoa: Information

The Aquarium of Genoa can boast a podium worthy of gratitude: it is the largest Italian aquarium, occupies the first place in Europe for biodiversity of aquatic animal species, the third for surface area and the ninth in the world.



ATTENTION UPDATE 2021

WARNING! The number of entrances is limited for safety reasons, only the online purchase guarantees access to the structure.

Click here to see the official website and the info of the Aquarium of Genoa

 

The exhibition itinerary offers the opportunity to visit over 70 environments, in which there are about 12000 specimens with a variety of 600 different species, coming from all the seas of the world.

The Aquarium was built in honor of the Expo celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of America.

The design of the structure and the surrounding area is due to the architect Renzo Piano, while the interior design was by the architect Peter Charmayeff and several extensions followed.

In 1998, with the space of the hull of a ship, known as Nave Italia or Nave Blu, the Biodiversity Pavilion was built, in 2013 the Cetacean Pavilion was inaugurated, originally designed by Renzo Piano.

Further renovations were applied in 2016, such as the addition of the virtual Abyss Room.

2 - How to get to the Genoa Aquarium and where to park

Let's start from the beginning ie how to get to the Aquarium and where to park nearby.

Genoa is easily reachable (both by train and by car) from Milan. An hour and a half and you will be facing the sea. Once there it is really quite easy to get to the Aquarium.


The Genoa Aquarium is located in the Porto Antico and you have 3 ways to get there:

1 - By train: you have to get off at Genoa Piazza Principe station and walk for 15 minutes following the signs for Porto Antico (the old port near the city center) or for the Aquarium.


2 - In the car: take theGenova Ovest exit from the highway and follow the signs for the city center. You will run along the harbor and drive another 3km, until you reach the Aquarium on your right.

Be careful not to take the flyover (via Aldo Moro): the best thing is to do the helical and then continue for via Gramsci the road that passes under it!

You can easily to park and forget your car for the rest of the weekend. There are plenty of parking spaces (for a fee!) Near the Aquarium if you don't want to walk too much. THE two better parking lots are the one near the Space multiplex cinema and the one in front of the Jolly Hotel.

Free parking there are none, or rather, maybe something you can find (if you are really very lucky), but you will have to walk a lot and most likely you will not find a hole to pay for it gold. Drop the idea right away: I were you I wouldn't even try!

3 - By plane: The closest airport is Genoa "Cristoforo Colombo" airport - 20 minutes by car from the Aquarium (traffic permitting) then reachable by taxi or shuttle (see here the PRICES of the transfer).

3 - Timetables 2020/2021

From OCTOBER 2020 to FEBRUARY 2021 (Open every day)

LUN-VEN: from 10.00 to 20.00 (last admission 18.00)
SAT, SUN, HOLIDAYS: from 09.00 - 20.00 (last admission 18.00)

La Biosphere instead it will observe these times:

OCTOBER: Everyday from 10.00 to 18.00 with last admission 17.30  

From NOVEMBER to FEBRUARY tall days: from 10.00 to 17.00 with last admission 16.30  

4 - Tickets and Tours

CAUTION!!!

Because of COVID-19 il number of entries is limited for safety reasons, only the online purchase guarantees 100% admission.

There are so many tickets to visit the Aquarium of Genoa and very often there are offers and promotions that allow you to save a lot.

La Aquarium ticket office is located right in front of the stairs leading to the entrance, but given the COVID-19 restrictions and the consequent limited number of visitors, the only certainty of entering you if you buy tickets online.

In addition to the official website tickets, there are authorized dealers that allow you to visit the Aquarium together with another quite unknown number of Genoa attractions.

You can buy HERE the AQUARIUM + WHALE WATCHING tour -> HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

This will help you save money (I'm Genoese, remember ?!)

The best in my opinion, if I can give you some advice, are the following:

1 - Simple Skip the Line Ticket (does not include the Biosphere)

2 - Genoa Aquarium and City of Children (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!)

3 - Genoa Aquarium and Royal Palace

4 - The entrance to the Aquarium is included in the Genova City Pass: see what else is included here.

If I can give you yet another piece of advice, consider buying the tour as well Behind the scenes of the aquarium.

It is a guided tour of about two hours in which the children learn a lot about the life of the sea. Here you will see the tanks where jellyfish are raised and the various stages of its growth and other tanks where the guide will explain a lot of things about starfish, cetaceans and much more.

Aquarius, as mentioned, offers wonderful experiences. Among these consider participating in that "Face-to-face-with-the-dolphins".

They are then offered nights when you can sleep in front of the tubs, emotional dinners and so on and so forth!

New activity 2021: face to face .. with the penguins! See details here from the official website.

SEE all EXPERIENCES

Let's now begin a short journey through the rooms that make up the Aquarium!

5 - Rooms and routes: What to see at the Aquarium

In this section you will find some information on what to see at the Aquarium.

1 - Blue Planet

Il Blue Planet it is the new room that opens the way to the Aquarium's exhibition path.

Inside this room it is possible to expand one's knowledge on the importance of water for life, while a `` video mapping '' shows the geographical distribution of water on earth, thanks to the use of a planisphere of the seabed. oceanic.

2 - Cave of the Murene

Continuing and entering the darkness, you pass through the Grotto of the moray eels.

This room has a particular layout, in fact being between its walls recalls the section of a shell.

In front of us there is a cylindrical tank about 6 meters high, in which moray eels, trumpet fish, drum fish, seahorses, octopuses swim ...

We then enter the “deep Mediterranean”, where on the seabed it is possible to find paromole and scorpion fish that blend in the sand.

3 - Lagoon of the Sirens

We continue the path towards the Lagoon of the Sirens. Of course, we all know the mermaids that are talked about a lot in mythology: half-human beings and half-fishes, with persuasive and enchanting voices, while the little ones can not help but think of the beautiful Ariel!

Inside this room are the animals that gave rise to these myths, the manatees.

The manatee is a critically endangered species, but fortunately the Genoa Aquarium is one of the 10 structures in Europe that deals with the conservation of this species.

4 - Bay of Sharks

The visit begins to become more and more intriguing, and that is why we are now in Shark Bay, the most fascinating and feared predators of the sea.

The most relevant shark species that can be found inside the large tank are the Gray Shark, the Nurse Shark, the Zebra Shark and the curious sawfish, typical of the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific.

Update October 2020: from now on in the shark tank you can also admire the remains of the mainmast of a XNUMXnd century ship and a selection of amphorae dated between the XNUMXrd century BC and the XNUMXst century AD

5 - Room of the 5 Terre

Below, it is possible to have an overview of the marine flora present in the Cinque Terre area, in the dedicated room: the Castagnola Rossa here swims between red coral, red and warty gorgonian, cerianthus and false black coral.

6 - Room of the Abyss

Now is the time to totally immerse yourself in the depths of the sea thanks to the Hall of the Abyss.

This room is equipped with Samsung GearVR viewers that allow, through virtual reality, to discover the animal species that populate the abyss, immersing yourself in the waters of the sea, among the plays of light and shadows offered by the reflection of light in the waves.

Light reflecting on the scales of fish and organisms that are part of the marine environment that can be observed as in a real dive! After this hall the piranhas are waiting for you, live!

The route continues with an alternation of the animals we are all most fond of: seals, penguins and the mythical dolphins.

In fact we find "The beach of seals“, With the presence of the common seal, after the hall "Antarctica" you can meet the Penguin of Magellan and the Penguin of Papua, and then land on the coast of the dolphins, with the Bottlenose Dolphin.

The spectacle of these four open-air tanks lies in the fact that it is possible to observe the animals on two levels, in order to be able to follow them from the surface to the abyss.

7 - Nave Blu and Blue Safari

Now, in the Tactile bathtub, you have the opportunity to go from observing to caressing! With the necessary precautions, just reach out to get in touch with the Spiked Race, the Wavy Race, the Starry Race and the Moorhen.

In the same room, namely the Blue ship, there are also sturgeons, an area dedicated to tropical environments where there are corals of the most varied colors, puffer fish, Napoleon fish and the zebra shark. Then we go into the reconstruction of a portion of coral reef, discovering the biology and ecology of corals.

8 - Biodiversity Pavilion

The route continues with a journey in the tropics, through the African tropical forests, Lake Malawi, the Thorny Forest of Madagascar, the forests of South America, the rivers of Asia, the tropical reef, Micronesia, the Tropical Garden, the Wet forest of Central America, the Amazon River and the Aeolian Islands.

This is the area dedicated to biodiversity, in fact, tropical forests provide home to more than half of the animal and plant species existing on earth. In this area, the presence of the first green wall built in Italy, designed by Patrick Blanc, is equally relevant.

Now, a moment dedicated to children is back: finding Nemo! In the biodiversity pavilion it is possible to find a pool in which the main characters of the animated film we are all fond of swim in.

After admiring the wonders offered by the tropical zone, ranging from scaly to feathered, we can return to immerse ourselves in the abyss, to discover the charm of jellyfish.

These ancient animals, with flowing and gentle movements, with wonderful colors, sometimes changing. Nine tanks dedicated to them allow you to understand something more about their life cycle. Ambient music and lighting help to make the atmosphere more magical.

Speaking of magic, it is impossible not to refer to the area dedicated to the marine ecosystem which includes the spectacular coral reefs. In 3 small tactically illuminated tanks it is possible to admire the fluorescence phenomena of the corals.

Colorful tropical species and the cute little clownfish swim among them, in companion of the cardinal fish.

We have now reached the end of the path inside the aquarium, with the last rooms "Red Sea" e "Waves on the cliff".

This visit could certainly fill your eyes with wonder, immersing you in the discovery of submerged and still little-known worlds.

6 - Where to eat at the Aquarium

There is a bar inside the Aquarium where you can rest, grab some snacks or a slice of focaccia to eat in the sun.

Personally I recommend that you visit the Aquarium in the morning (usually there are fewer people) and go out in time for lunch: you are in the center and on the Port so you will be spoiled for choice for a place to eat. Among bars, restaurants and taverns you will be spoiled for choice!

If I can recommend two places, the first is theOsteria del Vico Palla: I haven't actually been there for a while, but it used to be very good.

The Osteria Sopra il Mare is one of the most popular choices and is located in vico cicala a stone's throw from the Aquarium.

If, on the other hand, you want to make Genovese, but you don't want to eat a slerfa of focaccia, try a sandwich with Great Refreshment in via di Sottoripa! You will be able to make your own sandwich, it is one of my favorite places when I was in University!

7 - What to see near the Aquarium

If The Aquarium is a must visit, however it will not take you more than a few hours. If you are not in a hurry and want to take a tour in the surroundings, there are other things that I recommend you do not miss.

1 - Biosphere

On the same dock of the Aquarium, dedicated to the legendary Genoese singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André, you cannot fail to notice the Biosphere, a large "glass ball" suspended over the water.

Designed by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano, the "Biosphere”Inside it recreates a perfect habitat for tropical plants, flamingos or parrots, depending on the season.

Entry to the biosphere is subject to a fee and is not included in the normal Aquarium ticket. However it is cheap (5 euros) and it is worth going there.

You can buy the BIOSPHERE TICKET here

2 - Bigo panoramic lift

Almost in front of the aquarium, you cannot fail to notice another famous work by the architect Renzo Piano: theBigo panoramic lift.

Ok, in my opinion it is not really beautiful to see, but it is worth going up.

The lift takes you 40 meters above the ground and rotates 360 °: in short, from here you will have the best views of Genoa and the Port.

Here you can find the ticket for the BIGO

Alternatively, a few steps from the Bigo you will find the recently installed Ferris wheel. The view is awesome! Attention you cannot climb alone, you must be at least as a couple.

3 - Galata Museo del Mare

Il Galata Museum it is undoubtedly one of my favorite things to do in Genoa: an interactive museum dedicated to Genoa, its history and navigation.

You will truly feel like an emigrant to Argentina in the perfectly recreated spaces of the ship!

The museum in fact also addresses the events of Italian emigration in the 900s, reviving the stories of the many Italians who have reached the shores of America in search of fortune.

The submarine "Nazario Sauro", the only submarine at sea accessible in Italy. unfortunately despite living here I have not yet been able to visit it, but I will do it soon.

The visit to the submarine is only allowed for children from 5 years old and can be purchased together with the ticket of the Sea Museum.

Here you will find the TICKETS for the GALATA MUSEO DEL MARE

4 - Galleon Neptune

Walking along the ancient port between the Aquariums and the Galata Museum, you cannot fail to notice a pirate galleon! The Galleon Neptune it is in fact a reproduction of a pirate galleon but it is fully functional.

The galleon was used for the scenes in the film "And Pirates" by Roman Polanski and can be visited.

5 - City of Children

La City of Children is the largest structure in Italy dedicated to games, where they are taught science and technology to children and young people between 2 and 12 years old.

It is also located near the Aquarium, in a large structure also known as the i Cotton warehouses, which, in addition to the City of Children ”, also house the De Amicis library, The Space multiplex cinema, various cafes, restaurants and a few shops.

Surely if you have children it is a stop not to be missed. If you don't have any, you can safely skip it.

Here you can buy the skip-the-line ticket for the Aquarium of Genoa and the City of Children.

6 – Whale Watching!

From the docks of the Porto Antico depart i boats that lead to do Whale Watching going out to sea in search of whales and dolphins.

If you didn't know, the Ligurian Sea is part of the International Cetacean Sanctuary: its characteristics make it the ideal habitat for these splendid marine creatures!

You will be able to spot numerous species belonging to the large category of cetaceans: from whales to mythical dolphins, from sperm whales to killer whales (yes, you got it right: Genoese killer whales have also been sighted!), Marine nature is waiting for you!

8 - Aquarium of Genoa: Precious advice before the visit

The Aquarium is very convenient to visit and well organized. despite this, here you find gods tips to make your visit even better!

  1. Dress practically: wear comfortable shoes and wear appropriate clothing for the season. Keep in mind that some activities are done outdoors. If it rains you can slip along the outdoor pools, leave your high heels at home and wear sneakers or rubber-soled shoes.
  2. At the entrance the Aquarium staff will tell you if you have things to leave in the spaces provided: bags and backpacks that are too bulky, objects that are not allowed will not be allowed and you will have to leave them there (for your safety and for the animals)
  3. Before accessing the poolside it is mandatory to disinfect your hands. You will find the sanitizer dispensers inside the Aquarium.
  4. Bring a camera with a shoulder strap: you don't want the thrill of seeing the dolphins jump into the water, do you? Same thing goes for smartphones, be careful!
  5. Consider at least 2 or 3 hours to visit the Aquarium. Time gets longer if you decide to take the "Behind the Scenes" tour (which lasts almost 2 hours)
  6. Plan ahead e buy tickets online
  7.  Avoid the busiest moments, among these it would be better to avoid the weekend.
  8. Choose a sunny day in spring so you can also stop on the external areas of the ancient port.

9 - Where to sleep near the Aquarium

In my post on where to sleep in Genoa find the best areas to stay near the Aquarium. The center and the port are a short distance away, you can reach the Aquarium on foot.

I best hotels nearby and which I highly recommend are:

Hostel Il Principe Dragut: if you have children and you don't want to spend a lot, this is the right choice!

Manena Hostel Genoa: a youth hostel, great location.

Port View: just 700 meters from the Aquarium this guest house is new, clean and a fantastic choice for value for money

If you want something higher end the Best Western Plus City Hotel It is a guarantee.

Didn't find what you were looking for? See here other hotels near the Aquarium!

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