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15 Reasons to Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium
Factual Fun for Everyone
Update: 14 September 2020
Lose yourself in the stunning displays, and meet giant sea turtles, loveable clownfish, sleek predators, waddling penguins, crabs as big as toddlers and more. Whether you’re a small fry or a big fish, an escape into the enchanting world of the Two Oceans Aquarium is bound to be an unforgettable experience. The award-winning aquarium is also committed to educating visitors about the marine environments on our doorstep, and how to protect them. Here are 15 reasons to dive in and see what’s in the sea.
Note: Two Oceans Aquarium is open 365 days a year, and if you become a member, you get free entrance into the venue for 12 months.
GET FREE ENTRY TO THE AQUARIUM ON YOUR BIRTHDAY
For its 23rd birthday in 2018, the Two Oceans Aquarium launched their birthday deal, giving locals free access on their birthdays. If you celebrated your birthday between 12 March 2020 and 31 August 2020, you can still redeem your free birthday ticket during September 2020. Get all the info on the Two Oceans Aquarium birthday experience.
MEET OVER 8,000 WEIRD AND WONDERFUL CREATURES
Home to more than 8000 creatures and 288 species, the aquarium gives both adults and little ones the chance to come face-to-face predators of the deep, fish as multi-coloured as the most vibrant rainbow, crabs the size of toddlers, and our favourite monochromatic feathered friends, the adorable African penguins.
FIND OUT WHY IT IS CALLED “TWO OCEANS”
Cape Town is uniquely positioned at the confluence of the indian and Atlantic oceans, which is part of the reason our coastline is teeming with life. The warmer and colder currents mingle here at the southern tip of Africa, giving way to unimaginable biodiversity. The Two Oceans Aquarium showcases this incredible array of life.
SEE RARE AND ENDEMIC SPECIES
Two Oceans is home to many species that can’t be found in any other aquarium. For example, the strange and somewhat grotesque hagfish is an ancient fish without jaws, eyes, fins or scales. It also produces up to 5 litres of slime when it gets scared – and it can only be viewed at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Touch and feel an assortment of marine creatures at the Two Oceans Aquarium’s interactive Touch Pool. Here you have the chance to handle kelp, starfish, anemones and hermit crabs.
TURTLES, RAYS, AND SHARKS AT THE I&J OCEAN EXHIBIT
Bask in the glory of the stunning I&J Ocean Exhibit, the first display of its kind in South Africa. It features a 10-metre tunnel, and is filled with 1.6 million litres of seawater; the exhibit is undoubtedly a must-visit. Watch magnificent turtles and gentle stingrays from the viewing window, or stand in the tunnel and watch large ragged-tooth sharks glide gracefully overhead.
GET OUTTA THIS WORLD WITH THE JELLIES
Experience the other-worldly Jelly Gallery, where you can watch these extra terrestrial-like creatures perform like the blobs in a lava lamp. Displayed with a glow-in-the-dark effect; it truly gives visitors an other-worldly deep sea experience.
SEE SPECIES COMPLETELY UNIQUE TO OUR LOCAL COASTLINE
The proudly South African galjoen (also known as the black fish) may not be the prettiest fish in the sea, but it only makes its home near our shores, so we love it for that. You can meet him, and many other endemic species at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
ZONE OUT IN A KELP FOREST
The gentle sway of the canopy is enough to mesmerize even the busiest mindl. By far one of the most enchanting exhibits at the Two Oceans Aquarium, the tranquil underwater forest features countless curious fish swimming around kelp two storeys high.
WATCH THE ANIMALS GET FED
No matter which day you visit, there will be a chance to see some of the penguins enjoying a meal. Both the African and rockhopper penguins invite guests to “lunch” at 11:30am and again at 2:30pm every day. Pop past the I&J Ocean Exhibit every day at 12pm and 2pm to see the turtles and stingrays tuck in. The majestic ragged-tooth sharks feed at 3pm on Sundays. The Kelp Forest Exhibit feeds happen on Wednesdays at 1pm.
MEET PENGUINS AND TURTLES FACE-TO-FACE
Those who want to connect with the aquarium’s rockhopper penguins (the birds with the crazy yellow rock ‘n’ roll hairdos) can book a Penguin Experience. You can meet, feed and interact with the flightless birds in an informative and fun way. You can also find out more about the aquarium’s turtle rescue programme with an Ocean Experience or get a fish’s-eye view of the I&J Ocean Exhibit with mask and snorkel.
DIVE WITH CREATURES OF THE DEEP
If you have a Discover Scuba qualification (or higher) you can scuba dive in the I&J Ocean Exhibition. If you have a minimum Open Water 1 qualification, you can dive with the ragged-tooth sharks in the Predator Exhibit (no cage required). This comes at an extra cost and booking is required. If you don’t have a qualification, the aquarium also gives diving lessons.
SUPPORT A GREAT CAUSE
By visiting the aquarium, you’re also supporting the staff’s efforts to free seals entangled in litter, assist injured or stranded sunfish, rehabilitate turtles, conduct research on harmful fish parasites, and a great variety of other health and environmental concerns affecting aquatic animals. Many of the Two Oceans Aquarium’s ambassadors are animals that were rescued and can either no longer live in the wild due to their injuries or need time to recuperate. Any donations or form of sponsorship to help the rehabilitation of these animals is always greatly appreciated.
GRAB BREAKFAST OR LUNCH AT THE RESTAURANT
All that walking around can be hungry work. Dine on something delicious at the on-site Bootleggers. The sleek, chic and sophisticated eatery has a gorgeous terrace that looks out onto the V&A Marina. You could grab coffee and a pastry before you set off, or settle in for lunch with a large selection of wraps, sandwiches, soups, salads, and burgers.
RAIN, SHINE OR PUBLIC HOLIDAY, IT’S ALWAYS OPEN
Whether it’s pouring outside or it’s Christmas Day, the V&A Waterfront’s marine world awaits eager visitors. More specifically, the entertainment centre is open every day from 9:30am until 6pm. They also often have extended hours over the festive season.
GET EDUCATED ABOUT OUR PLANET
While the aquarium is all about fun and entertainment, it’s also devoted to educating visitors. Display boards can be found next to most exhibitions and installations with comprehensive information on the animals and efforts to protect them. Take time to learn the story behind many of the creatures’ existences and develop a greater appreciation for their fragile being.
Where: Dock Road | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town
Opening Times: 9:30am–6pm daily
Price: depends on age and time of year. Check out the aquarium's rates on their website.
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