This is a list of the largest and best aquariums in the world 2018 established from a thorough research containing detailed information from the largest tank, viewing panel sizes to number of whale sharks etc.
- 1. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Hengqin (China)
- 2. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta (USA)
- 3. S.E.A. Aquarium, Singapore (Singapore)
- 4. Churaumi Aquarium, Motobu (Japan)
- 5. Cube Oceanarium, Chengdu (China)
- 6. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka (Japan)
- 7. Kenting National Museum of Biology and Aquarium, Kenting (Taiwan)
- 8. Dubai Aquarium, Dubai (UAE)
- 9. Oceanografic, Valencia (Spain)
- 10. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Shanghai (China)
- 11. Honorable Mentions
- 12. Aquariums With Whale Sharks
- 13. Comparison List of the Best Aquariums in the World
1. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Hengqin (China)
— Straightforwardly the biggest and best aquarium in the world
Chimelong Ocean Kingdom Whale Shark Exhibit Aquarium (珠海长隆海洋王国), located inside the immense "Chimelong International Ocean Resort" theme park in Hengqin (China), is the largest and best aquarium in the world featuring none less than five whale sharks as well as an abundancy of other species like manta rays, corals and sharks.
Chimelong Ocean Kingdom has set the Guinness World Records for having the world's biggest underwater viewing dome and the world's largest aquarium tank. A giant 63 metres blue whale shark statue towers over the world's largest aquarium, making it also a remarkable sight from outside. The award for the world's largest tank was given to this aquarium because the record volume of 22.7 million liter includes strictly the main tank (while the 24 million liter capacity of the Georgia Aquarium consist of the main tank, rear holding tank, filters and pipes).
The Aquarium can be reached from Macau by bus or taxi in ca. 30 minutes or from Hong Kong in ca. 2 hours.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 350 CNY (ca. 46 EUR); Official Webpage (English)
2. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta (USA)
— Certainly the largest and best aquarium in the US and the only aquarium outside of Asia housing whale sharks
The Georgia Aquarium, located in Atlanta (USA), is the largest aquarium in the western part of the world.
Outside of Asia, this aquarium is the only institution housing whale sharks. In addition to the last ones, the Aquarium's notable specimens include beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins and manta rays.
The animals are displayed in five galleries: Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, River Scout, and Dolphin Tales. Each gallery corresponds to a specific environment. The large donation of US$250 million by American businessman Bernard "Bernie" Marcus rendered possible the launch of the Aquarium, which opened in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, in 2005.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 35.95 USD + tax (ca. 32 EUR + tax); Official Webpage
3. S.E.A. Aquarium, Singapore (Singapore)
— Featuring the world’s largest collection of manta rays including a giant oceanic manta ray
The S.E.A. Aquarium (South East Asia Aquarium) on Sentosa Island, Singapore, contains the world's largest collection of manta rays, including the unique giant oceanic manta ray in captivity. It was the world's largest aquarium by total water volume until 2014 when it was surpassed by the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom.
Comprising 49 different habitats, the aquarium takes guests on an underwater voyage beginning from Southeast Asia, and continues through the Arabian Gulf and the Open Ocean. The centerpiece of the Aquarium is the Open Ocean tank with more than 18,000,000 l (4,000,000 imp gal; 4,800,000 US gal) and 50,000 animals.
The Shark Seas habitat holds over 200 of these predators including endangered species such as the scalloped hammerhead shark and the aggressive silvertip shark.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 34 SGD (ca. 22 EUR); Official Webpage (English)
4. Churaumi Aquarium, Motobu (Japan)
— Widely considered the biggest and best aquarium in Japan
The Churaumi Aquarium (沖縄美ら海水族館) is part of the Ocean Expo Park located in Motobu, on the island of Okinawa. It is widely considered Japan's best aquarium. It was the largest aquarium in the world until the construction of the Georgia Aquarium in 2005.
The main tank (Kuroshio) houses whale sharks (2 at the moment) and manta rays alongside a large array of other fish species.
Following the Kuroshio Tank, there are a few other interesting tanks and displays, including an area dedicated to tiger sharks and bull sharks.
One other particularly impressive area is the one with marine life in the extremely deep waters of Okinawa, which includes displays of various bioluminescent fish.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 1,850 JPY (ca. 15 EUR); Official Webpage (English)
5. Cube Oceanarium, Chengdu (China)
— The newest mega-aquarium displaying the world’s largest viewing panel
The Cube Oceanarium (浩海立方) opened in 2015. Located in the Chinese metropolis Chengdu and inside the world’s largest freestanding building, the New Century Global Center (新世纪环球中心), it is the latest entry in our top 10 list of the best aquariums in the world.
It is more precisely situated inside the Seaside City Shopping Mall and it houses over 33,000 ocean creatures including the biggest jellyfish in the world. The main tank hosts two rather small whale sharks and numerous other fish species.
The Cube Oceanarium holds for the moment two Guinness World Records: one for the world's largest acrylic window and the other for the world's largest aquarium window (39.65 m wide and 8.3 m tall).
It displays warm and cold waters exhibits, from the Pacific across the tropical seas along the Amazon to the Northern Arctic and the main tank that holds over 10 million liter and over ten thousand marine organisms from all over the world.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 130 CNY (ca. 18 EUR); Official Webpage (English)
Main Exhibit Tank of the Cube Oceanarium
6. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka (Japan)
— An architectural masterpiece housing a whale shark
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (海遊館), designed by the famous American architect Peter Chermayeff, appears very stylish from outside and hosts one whale shark and a wide variety of other species, including otters, sea lions, penguins, dolphins, rays, and jellyfish.
Completed in 1990, it is one of the oldest aquariums in our list. Typical for this time, the size of the viewing panel is not nearly as big as in aquariums that are more recent.
Visitors enter on the 8th floor and spiral their way down around a large central tank. Several of the tanks span multiple floors making it possible to observe the animals from different perspectives.
The walk-through aquarium displays marine life in 16 main exhibits comprising 27 tanks of several habitats with a total volume of 10,941 tons of water.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan can be reached by a five-minute walk from Osakako Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Chūō Line, and is next to the Tempozan Ferris Wheel.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 2,300 JPY (ca. 18 EUR); Official Webpage (English)
7. Kenting National Museum of Biology and Aquarium, Kenting (Taiwan)
— Taiwan’s world-class aquarium off the beaten path
The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA) (國立海洋生物博物館) is located inside an enormous outdoor water park on the southern coast of Taiwan near Kenting (Checheng, Pingtung County).
The museum possesses three main exhibits: Waters of Taiwan, Coral Kingdom Pavilion and World Waters Pavilion.
The Coral Kingdom Pavilion is housing an 81-metre (266 ft.) underwater moving track, one the largest underwater tunnels in Asia.
The main ocean tank inside the Waters of Taiwan exhibition holds 5.7 million litres of seawater, has a 16.5 m × 4.85 m acrylic viewing window, and features one whale shark.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 450 TWD (ca. 13 EUR); Official Webpage
16-m whale shark in the Open Ocean Aquarium of the Waters of Taiwan Exhibit
8. Dubai Aquarium, Dubai (UAE)
— A gigantic viewing panel in one of the world’s largest shopping mall
The Dubai Aquarium (حوض دبي للأسماك - أكواريوم) is situated inside the Dubai Mall (دبي مول), the largest shopping mall in the world based on total area and sixth largest by gross leasable area.
The gigantic viewing panel itself is the top attraction. It contains over 300 sharks and rays, including the largest collection of Sand Tiger sharks in the world, but other popular denizens consist of sumo-sized groupers and massive schools of pelagic fish.
A special 'lunar-cyclic' lighting system changes the ambience of the tank depending on the time of day.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 100 AED (ca. 24 EUR); Official Webpage (English)
9. Oceanografic, Valencia (Spain)
— Europe’s finest and most futuristic marine complex on a surface of 110,000 square meters
The Oceanogràfic is situated in Valencia, Spain, inside the futuristic Cultural Complex named The City of Arts and Sciences. Designed by the famous Spanish architect Félix Candela, it is composed by nine elegant underwater towers which house samples of the most important ecosystems. Due to its avant-garde architecture one will admire not only the sea life, but also the fanciful buildings themselves.
During their route through the various installations, visitors can get to know at first hand the behaviour and way of life of more than 500 different species like dolphins, belugas, walruses, sea lions, seals, penguins, turtles, rays, sawfish, jellyfish and especially rare oceanic sunfish.
With 7 million litres of water the tank in the 'Oceans' environment is by far the biggest of the Oceanogràfic. It illustrates a journey through the Atlantic, from the Canary Islands to Bermuda. Through a 35-meter underwater tunnel, one can observe species such as the sand shark, the cow shark and various species of rays amongst others.
Inside the environment called ‘Temperate and Tropical Seas’ you are invited to make a passage from the temperate regions of the Pacific and Atlantic to the warm waters of the Indian and Caribbean via aquaria with a total of 700’000 liter of water, connected by an impressive 70-meter underwater tunnel.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 29 EUR; Official Webpage (English)
Tunnel of the Tropical and Temperate Seas environment in the Oceanografic
10. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Shanghai (China)
— Headlining the world's longest submarine viewing tunnel
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (上海海洋水族馆) is located in the Pudong New District of Shanghai, adjacent to the famous Oriental Pearl TV Tower.
Its main features are four subsea tunnels with an overall length of 155 metres.
The central building is divided into different exhibition zones: China, South America, Australia, Africa, Southeast Asia, as well as, the Cold Water Zone, the Polar Zone, Sea and Shore, Deep Ocean Zone and Special Exhibitions.
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium covering 20,500 square meters (about 263,910 square feet) consists of 2 pyramid shaped buildings.
The exhibits include more than 300 types and 15,000 water creatures and rare fish, such as poison dart frogs, jellyfishes, moonfish, leafy sea dragons, emperor penguins and in the Amazon Area several huge (more than 2 m) Arapaima, which are some of the largest freshwater fishes in the world.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 160 CNY (ca. 21 EUR); Official Webpage (English)
Arapaima in the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
11. Honorable Mentions
John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago (USA)
— The first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection presenting the largest variety of species
The John G. Shedd Aquarium, the oldest in our list of the best aquariums in the world (it opened in 1930), shows its age compared to its successors by missing many essential features, but still possessing a very impressive amount of species. It was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection.
It contains none less than 1500 species including arapaima, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects.
In 1991, the John G. Shedd Aquarium opened the Oceanarium (known since 2010 as the Abbott Oceanarium), a large addition that features marine mammals, including Pacific white-sided dolphins, belugas, sea otters and California sea lions, as well as penguins.
Entrance Fee (for 1 Adult): 39.95 USD (ca. 36 Euro); Official Webpage (English)
Oceanário de Lisboa, Lisbon (Portugal)
Additional honourable mention is Oceanário de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal (5 million litres tank, short tunnel, 450 Species, opened 1998), designed by Peter Chermayeff who also was the architect for the Kaiyukan in Osaka.
AquaDom, Berlin (Germany)
As very stylish, we recommend the AquaDom in Berlin, Germany, a 25m tall cylindrical acrylic glass aquarium (containing ca. 900,000 litres of water) with built-in transparent elevator. The stunning dome is located at the inner court of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin-Mitte and opened in 2004.
Grand Aquarium of the Ocean Park, Hong Kong (China)
Finally yet importantly, we consider well worth visiting the Grand Aquarium of the Ocean Park in Hong Kong, designed by the famous American architect Frank Gehry, which opened in 2011 and features the world's 2nd largest aquarium dome (ca. 4 million litres tank).
If you are in Hong Kong, you should not miss the opportunity for a trip to our number one Aquarium, The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, which can be reached in less than 2 hours (by ferry to Taipa followed by a short bus or taxi ride to Chimelong).
12. Aquariums With Whale Sharks
As for whale sharks, you can admire these only in a few aquariums in the whole world.
At the moment we count the nine following aquariums housing these incredible species (8 in Asia and 1 in the USA):
- Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (珠海长隆海洋王国), Hengqin (China) (5 whale sharks)
- Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta (USA) (4)
- Churaumi Aquarium (沖縄美ら海水族館), Motobu (Japan) (2)
- Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (海遊館, Osaka (Japan) (1)
- Kenting National Museum of Biology and Aquarium (國立海洋生物博物館), Pingtung (Taiwan) (1)
- Cube Oceanarium (成都海洋馆), Chengdu (China) (2 small)
- Yantai Haichang Whale Shark Aquarium (海昌烟台鲸鲨馆), Yantai (China) (4)
- Kagoshima City Aquarium (いおワールドかごしま水族館), Kagoshima (Japan) (1 small)
- Hakkeijima Sea Paradise (横浜・八景島シーパラダイス) , Yokohama (Japan) (1)
The last three mentioned aquariums seem to have rather small tanks for whale sharks. The Kagoshima City Aquarium is keeping only young whale sharks releasing them into the ocean, once they "outgrow" the aquarium.
13. Comparison List of the Best Aquariums in the World
For an overview of the top 30 aquariums, see our detailed comparison list of the best aquariums in the world 2018.
Please check out also the results of our analysis to determine the best cities in the world to visit as a tourist.
We also created a video of the Top 50 Cities in the World 2018 (ranked by 13 criteria):