It has recently undergone extensive renovation, involving the addition of new tanks, species, educational programmes and innovative services. As one of Europe’s largest aquariums, Cretaquarium offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the magnificent Mediterranean Sea world.
From large predator sharks to microscopic sea horses and spectacular jellyfish, the diversity of marine life is showcased against a backdrop of Cretan underwater seascapes, such as the rocks at Matala (South Crete) and the seabed at Vai (Southeast Crete).
Walking the Aquarium Visitors’ Route
The Mediterranean seascape comes to life in 60 different tanks, varying in size from 125 to 900,000 litres of sea water, totalling 1.7 million litres in all. There are one hundred observation points for visitors to admire approximately 2,500 Mediterranean and tropical organisms. A full tour taking in all exhibits and species lasts about 2 hours. On the aquarium visitors’ route, state of the art AV systems and innovative interactive devices such as touch screen info points, video projectors, a periscope, microscopes and stereoscopes for observing microscopic creatures add to the experience, providing supplementary information and helping to create a comprehensive view of how the Mediterranean marine ecosystem functions and is structured.
Cretaquarium offers an individual and group audioguide system in 9 languages. Small hand-held devices that operate as simply as a mobile phone add to and enrich your visit with explanations, comments and popularized information you can listen to at your own place and as you prefer, simply by dialling the tank number. It is also possible to book individually guided tours in Greek, English or French. Tours in further languages can also be arranged if advance notification is given.
Education – Promoting Awareness
As part of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Cretaquarium popularizes and disseminates scientific knowledge about the marine world, with special emphasis on the Mediterranean and the seas around Greece.
To this end, four educational programmes have been designed and implemented, focusing on Ocean Plankton; Diversity and Adaptability; Oceans in Constant Motion; and Evolution and Comparison of Marine Species.
The programmes are adapted according to level and curriculum. In groups of around 20, primary and secondary school pupils learn about the key phenomena in marine physics and biology via hands-on, innovative teaching methods. In making use of its facilities to preserve living marine species, the aquarium offers pupils the opportunity to study them in live laboratory conditions, using stereoscopes and microscopes, as well as to carry out focused observation in larger tanks on the visitors’ route, with assistance from Aquarium staff. If an entire school wishes to make an ordinary group visit, the specialist staff on the visitors’ route is there to answer any questions in detail.
Cretaquarium also offers schools in remote areas the chance to make a distance visit via webcam. Once arrangements regarding technical details have been made with Cretaquarium staff, the virtual tour is held live, using interactive communication. Visitors can act as they would at the aquarium, asking questions and focusing on what interests them most.