So, as regular readers know we recently visited Spain and stayed in a villa for two weeks. Whilst we were there we headed to Valencia on two day trips. The first was to visit the Bioparc which I wrote about last week. As promised, I’m back talking about why you absolutely must visit Oceanogràfic – the aquarium in Valencia. It’s another fantastic family day out, with the benefit of air conditioning in places! This year I think I enjoyed visiting the aquarium even more than the Bioparc as it was so hot, the air conditioned rooms were particularly welcome, especially as I battled some first trimester nausea!
The aquarium in Valencia is massive. In fact it’s the biggest in Europe. The site is broken down into different habitats including Oceans where there is a fantastic tunnel you can walk through with sharks swimming all around you. This tends to get quite busy so it’s hard to get the best photos, but here’s what it’s like.
Then there are other zones including the Arctic where you can see beluga whales (aka, Destiny from Finding Dory!) and Antarctic where you can see penguins. There are thousands of fish in the Mediterranean and the Temperate and Tropical zones. We made it a mission to find Nemo!
Some of the best photos I took were of the jellyfish. Some were only discovered a few years ago near Japan. It kind of blows my mind that we are still discovering these type of creatures. Wonder what else is still out there!
On the way out there’s a huge one in a tank which I think said can grow up to 4.5 metres long! Waaaaaah!!!
In addition to the indoor sections there are several indoor and outdoor areas where you can view sea lions, turtles, crocodiles, flamingoes.
The Dolphinarium was the highlight of our trip this year as we watched the Dolphin show and Miss Belle, who’s now two and a half, loved it. The show is all in Spanish and from my tiny bit of Spanish understanding seems to be quite educational. They ask for a child to come out of the audience to help and from the footage shown on the big screen, they do a little segment about what to do if you find a dolphin washed up on the beach. Then the show starts, and although the commentary is in Spanish, it doesn’t matter. You just watch all the clever tricks and the smile on your child’s face. Brilliant!
Food and facilities
There are several places to eat. Usually we just grab a sandwich but this year we ventured inside to the restaurant for the air conditioning and had a light lunch.
Tickets for the Oceanogràphic can also be bought online. Adults cost 29.10 euro and child tickets (4-12) are 21.85. They also offer family tickets. There is under ground parking for an additional charge. There is free on street parking in lay-bys opposite the entrance and we always manage to park there if we arrive for 10am. If you have a few days in the city you can buy a combined ticket which will also give you entry to a science museum, the Museu de les Ciencies Princep Felipe and Hemisferic IMAX. The combined tickets are valid for up to three days so worth it if you have the time.
Both the aquarium and the bioparc often have school parties visiting in term time. This has never been a problem and just goes to show that the locals rate these attractions too!
Valencia – lots to offer families
So the aquarium is definitely another favourite family day out in Valencia. I’ll just add that we have also done a walking tour around the city before. If you walk from the aquarium towards the centre through the old river bed there is a lovely park. There are several playgrounds and amongst them a huge Gullivers Travels play area. We didn’t have time to go this year but as our children get older we will definitely visit again. There are also beaches in Valencia which are supposed to be nice, and of course, it is the home of paella! There is so much to offer in Valencia, it is fast becoming one of our favourite places to visit when we are in Spain!
Have you got any other recommendations of places to visit in Valencia? If so pop them in the comments box, I’d love to know.
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