27 Nov 2014 | By Sun International
All about the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town
Did you know that the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town was designed to provide visitors with a window into the two mighty oceans that meet at the southern tip of Africa? It seems obvious, given the name, but it's easy to take for granted that one city sharing two oceans is a pretty unique phenomenon.
From the warm Indian Ocean's coral reefs to the moody kelp forests of the cold Atlantic, this is your chance to explore these contrasting underwater wonderlands without getting your feet wet at one of the top aquariums in the world.
If you're looking for things to do with kids in Cape Town, the Two Oceans Aquarium has to be your first port of call. It's hook, line, and sinker the most educational fun your kids will have in the Mother City. Plus, it's within walking distance from your Cape Town accommodation at the Table Bay Hotel on the V&A Waterfront.
Here are 5 fun facts all about the Two Oceans Aquarium:
- When the aquarium in Cape Town opened in 1995, it was a marvel of imagination that incorporated design features from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Sure, the Two Oceans Aquarium is not counted among the biggest aquariums in the world, but it's got sole (ahem, soul). Its philosophy rests on 3 cornerstones: excellent exhibits, innovative educational programmes and meaningful conservation initiatives.
- Among the 3 000 fish and 88 species on display, there are some that are completely unique to our coastline that can't be found in any other aquarium, like the strange hagfish and the SASSI red-listed galjoen.
- The aquarium's undeniable draw card, the I&J Predator Exhibit, is a 2 million-litre tank that houses ragged-tooth sharks, turtles and rays. It's also the home of the Save our Seas Foundation M-Sea Programme, which raises public awareness about the plight of sharks worldwide. The iconic ambassador of the programme, a 197kg ragged-tooth shark named Maxine, was released into the ocean in 2004. Shortly afterwards, the aquarium released the second ragged-tooth shark in a campaign entitled "Rethink the Shark."
- The Kelp Forest Exhibit is one of only two in the world (the other one is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium). At the Two Oceans Aquarium, three species of giant kelp provide shelter for an array of local fish, which drift among the kelp fronds.
- The peaceful environment of the River Meander Exhibit traces the journey of a river from its mouth, through a freshwater reedbed (complete with a bird hide) to its origin as a stream in the mountains. There's even a 10 year old milkwood forest, a breeding colony of African penguins (of which 13 have have been released into the wild), rockhopper penguins and a wide selection of freshwater fish, both indigenous and alien to Western Cape rivers. The first African penguin to hatch here was tagged and sent to SANCCOB to be rehabilitated and released into the wild. This is also where the first rare African black oystercatcher chick was hatched in captivity.
Book your tickets here, and spend the day exploring the underwater world where two oceans meet. These are our top things to do with kids at the Two Oceans Aquarium:
- Find Nemo
- Visit the Touch Pool
- Zoom in at the Hi-Tec Microscope Exhibit
- Meet the rockhoppers in a Penguin Encounter
- Have your picture taken at the beenthere.tv kiosk
- Watch a feeding
- Go diving with sharks – this one is not for kids!