American philosopher Loren Eiseley once said: ‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.’ In the case of life sustaining bodies of water such as oceans, rivers and lakes, it can be very difficult to view this magic. Either we dive, snorkel or use glass bottom boats – but perhaps the most practical way to experience an underwater exploration is by visiting a public aquarium.
These incredible structures bring the underwater world to life for everyone to view. They are also different to zoos by presenting a soothing, relaxing tempo of often exotic and brightly coloured aquatic life calmly flowing through the water.
Most of us can remember visiting a public aquarium as a child, for they have been in existence for a long time, ever since the creation of the revolutionary ‘Fish House’ in 1853 at London Zoo. This led to a public craze for aquariums that still reigns today. Al Qana will bring the entire magical aquatic world to Abu Dhabi with 5000sqm of exciting and immersive underwater discovery, the largest in the Emirate.
Why bring such a large aquarium to the capital? The answers are numerous. The National Aquarium at Al Qana will have many benefits:
As our modern world threatens aquatic wildlife through climate change and pollution, public aquariums engage in saving endangered species and preserving conservation through captive breeding and research programs. In fact, observing species in captivity provides better opportunities for research, as environments are accessible 24/7, unlike finding rare species in difficult to get to wild areas.
Local and regional economies are enhanced by public aquariums and they create paid jobs and volunteering roles too. They also become community assets that allow families and friends to connect with the natural underwater world. Nothing compares to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ generated by visitors when they see marine life up close.
Children benefit hugely from public aquariums and accompanying education programs allow for better understanding of conservation and the environment as a whole. Kids receive visual stimulation, enhance their vocabularies and let their imaginations run wild. A child can research a shark on the internet, but there’s nothing like seeing one swimming overhead in real-life.
Although public aquariums are essentially visual, touch tanks allow visitors to better understand underwater creatures and adds another dimension to understanding. For example, children can get up-close and personal with fish, amphibians, crustaceans and plant life and find out what they are really like.
Public aquariums also assist in developing a greater knowledge and interest in science, particularly for those who are underrepresented in the field. They also assist in training teachers to deliver science curriculum to their students.
Our aquatic adventure at Al Qana will impress and amaze both residents and tourists. It will include the longest underwater tunnel in the UAE, encouraging visitors to dive deeper into understanding of 250 species of fish, amphibians, crustaceans and reptiles. We will have over 60 educational exhibitions, underwater shows, live-feeding sessions plus extra service facilities, so young and old, families and friends can all capture magical and scientific memories that will last a lifetime.