A long time had passed since the last time we went to visit the Oceanarium, but Elio persisted in asking for it and so last weekend we went since my mom was visiting Lisbon.
I am not a fan of animals in enclosed environments, yet it’s important for us and the kids to be exposed to certain tematics in order to learn how to protect them and act better in our daily life.
We reached Parque das Naçoes by bus, which took almost the same as by Metro but was nicer for the kids to see the river, the port, and generally outside: we took the 728 from Santos Station.
The Oceanarium is only 10 minutes walking from the stop so pretty convenient: it’s a shorter walk than from the Oriente Metro station. After skipping the line with our tickets bought online we entered the Oceanarium: the building is a former Expo Pavilion so it’s pretty big and scenographic.
At the moment there is a nice movie projection about the sea called “ONE, O Mar como nunca o sentiu”: it was a bit too immersive and dark for the kids so we just left! Upstairs you find another temporary exhibition about underwater forests.
The main building is on two floors and both exhibition paths develop around a central tank with plenty of fishes which can be seen from both levels: on the first floors, there are 4 different environment rooms with different climate experiences and therefore different kinds of animals, birds, penguins and different sea creatures.
On the bottom floor, there are smaller tanks with different smaller fishes, like clown fishes, Leafy seadragon, seahorses, jellyfishes, and more: the exhibition below takes longer than upstairs so be prepared to wander in the dark for a while.
At the end of the tour, there is a nice corner with activities about renewable energies, recycling, food waste and there’s even a small slide. Elsa tried to eat the fake food and was a bit disappointed the fridge wasn’t opening for real.
After visiting the main exhibition it’s possible to go back to see the movie or the temporary exhibition Forest Underwater that we personally skipped to not overwhelm our kids with too many activities.
After the Oceanarium, time for lunch: we chose Honest Green, a lovely restaurant with a great variety of healthy bowls, which was perfect since both I and my mom are on a new nutritional regime. The food was great and the kids loved the hummus and the chicken: Elsa just loves everything all the time.
If you still have time you can visit the Pavilhao do Conhecimento with its temporary exhibition about water; otherwise, I suggest taking the cable car (tickets here) and wandering around the cute botanical gardens overlooking the river.
Between the Arena and the Portugal Pavillon, which is a great example of contemporary architecture and great structural engineering, you can also see an art piece by Bordalo, a huge Iberian Lynx built with colorful plastic trash.
Other food options are Zero Zero Pizzeria, Honorato Hamburgers, Capricciosa or Cantinho do Avillez – Parque das Nações: you also have the big Vasco de Gama mall that can be good for a group of people with different needs and has plenty of space and terraces overlooking the river.
This post may contain some affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission given by the ticketing service of some attractions and museums.
I only recommend places I went and would go myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.