Advantages Fantastic displays, shark tanks, kelp forest, penguins
Disadvantages Can be full of small children running around shouting about "Nemo"!
Having recently spent time in Cape Town (see my other review), I'm now going to get specific and start describing the attractions. One of my favourites was the Two Oceans Aquarium, conveniently situated at the V&A Waterfront of Cape Town. The Waterfront complex is now the tourist heart of Cape Town, and is a relatively safe and pleasant area. I say relatively, as both myself and my companion got card-frauded (we believe somewhere in the Waterfront, though we can't be sure).The Two Oceans Aquarium is one of the best that I have been to. I am a bit of an aquarium fan, so this may mean I enjoyed it more than you normally would. However, it does compare favourably with some of the other ones I have visited, and is certainly in a different league to the British aquaria at either London or (?) Plymouth.
Two Oceans is divided into a number of sections. On entering, there is now a huge tank of angel fish (or Nemo fish). This is surrounded by small children jumping around and shouting about Nemo. Cute the first time; a nightmare the next time when I was trying to push my nephew in his push chair (he was too little to appreciate the Nemos).Inside, there is then a display of tanks with different fish and sea life - eg. jelly fish, sea horses, water snakes, Moray eels (completely terrifying), huge crabs etc. Near this section, there is a touch and feel section for children, with lots of harmless things to play with like shells.
The other main sections are:
- the seals outside. At different times of the day, you can listen to talks and see feeding. There is an inside viewing panel where you can watch seals dive under.
- the section about penguins. This is adorable - you can get really close to the penguins and see the varieties that exist in South Africa. It is sadly a bit smelly.
- the section about the water cycle (I found this a bit dull, but it is educational and well adapted for children)
- the kelp forest (absolutely amazing).
- the predator tank. This is the highlight as it contains a number of huge sharks. You are able to walk around this huge glass tank, and see the various predators and the sharks very close up. There is no tunnel, however, unlike in some other aquaria. Shark feeding is (I think) on Sunday, and becomes incredibly crowded, attracting oodles of families and young children. Divers go in and feed the predators, and everyone waits to see if they will get eaten! Obviously, they don't. It is possible to arrange private diving into the predator tank, for those who are inclined to dangerous activities.
Entry when I went was about £4, on the then exchange rate, for an adult. Family tickets are available, and there are the normal reductions for elders, babies, and "scholars". You can get your hand stamped, so that you can come back all day.I think this is well worth a visit. Although a lot is aimed at a younger audience, adults with a real interest in marine life and the aquatic world will also enjoy it. Certainly, when I dragged along a number of the older generation of my family, they found it very interesting.
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