The largest aquarium in Ireland is not in the capital city of Dublin, but along the west coast in Galway. Saltwater and freshwater species inhabit the tanks at Galway Atlantaquaria including seahorses, stingrays, eels, sharks, and a white skate nicknamed ‘Valentine’. One of the most popular exhibits is an enormous skeleton of a Fin Whale.
Designated as the National Aquarium of Ireland, this landmark is one of the most popular attractions in the west of Ireland. Tanks mimic the natural environment of marine ecosystems and ‘touch tanks’ offer the opportunity to hold starfish and spider crabs. Visitors can also help out during feeding time to get close to the marine life. Enlightening exhibits have a local perspective, including following a Galway Salmon on its journey from the River Corrib to Galway Bay. The aquarium can be visited independently or be part of a private tour of Galway.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Galway Atlantaquaria is a must-see attraction for families seeking educational opportunities.
- Don’t miss the exhibit that includes the chance to experience a waterfall from a “fish eye view.”
- Workshops and classes on a variety of topics from sustainability to marine life are available; check the aquarium’s calendar for details.
How to Get There
The Galway Atlantaquaria is located in a scenic waterfront location on the Seapoint Promenade in Galway. It is easily reached by public transportation; take the bus to Tourist Office, Seapoint Promenade stop. There is public parking for visitors that arrive by rental car.
When to Get There
The aquarium is open daily, with slightly longer hours on Saturday and Sunday (last admission is 45 minutes before closing). Check the aquarium website for details on tour times and fish feeding. It is a particularly popular attraction for kids on holidays and bank holiday weekends; visit during the week to avoid the crowds.
Life Under the Sea
The Galway Atlantaquaria transports visitors beneath the surface of the sea. Learn about a variety of marine life in exhibits spread over two floors and divided into categories like open ocean, estuary, rock pool, reef, and shallow sea. Expect to see a variety of fish from plaice to angelfish plus anemones, spotted rays, prawns, crawfish, and more.
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