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July 8, 2010

L’Aquàrium de Barcelona is the most important marine leisure and education centre in the world concerning the Mediterranean. A series of 35 tanks, 11,000 animals and 450 different species, an underwater tunnel 80 metres long, six million litres of water and an immense Oceanarium, the only one in Europe, turn this centre into a unique, reference leisure show that has already been visited by more than 14 million people.

A fascinating world of colours opens up under the sea; the coral reefs, singular architectural creations of spectacular beauty, built by small colonial invertebrates, coral. To be able to travel over the tropical seas without catching a plane, in L’Aquàrium de Barcelona we have 7 tanks representing these seas with their most characteristic species.

For the first time, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona is putting its extensive collection of mollusc shells on display to the public. Some of these shells are considered to be real jewels.

This exhibition includes examples that are highly valuable – both for their beauty, for which they are considered to be nature’s works of art, and for their rarity, which renders them highly desirable to collectors.

L’Aquàrium offers you the opportunity to have a marvellous view of a group of organisms that has been highly successful from the point of view of evolution – molluscs have colonised a wide variety of environments across the planet. Well-known examples of this animal group include clams, oysters, squids, octopuses, slugs and snails.

Notable species within the collection include the Tridacna gigas – better know as the giant clam. Specimens have been found weighing up to 300 kg and measuring more than 1.5 metres, and were once used as bathtubs. Another interesting example is the Nautilus pompilius, a living fossil whose structure has been studied by engineers because of its precision when floating. It was this creature that provided Robert Fulton with some of his ideas when working on the first propelled submarine (known as Nautilus, in honour of the creature that inspired it), commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte. Later, it would be a source of inspiration for Jules Verne, who would give this same name to his famous submarine in his novel 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.

It comes as some surprise to learn that some of these beautiful creatures – like the Conus textile – are also deadly to humans, due to their venomous harpoons which can inject poison, causing death within 2 to 6 hours.

These animals have been closely connected to human existence for time immemorial. This is a result both of their importance as a food source (in some cases, being a true delicacy) and because they have been found in many prehistoric sites, having been used as necklaces and other ornaments. Today, they are the stars of this absorbing display that L’Aquàrium de Barcelona has brought to the general public, as part of its fundamental philosophy: to make learning fun and a delight for both adults and children.

Address: Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, s/n  BARCELONA           

Opening hours: Monday to Friday – from 9:30 -21:00h, Weekends and public holidays until 21:30h, June and September until 21:30 and July and August until 23:00h                              

Tickets: Adults – 17,50€,  Children from 4 to 12 years: 12,50€, Adults over 60: 14,50€

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