What do you get when you combine one of the world’s largest aquariums with one of the world’s most amazing cities? Fishtanbul!
Yes, it’s not something a lot of people think about doing when they come to Istanbul – a trip to the aquarium. In fact, the Istanbul Aquarium is worth the visit. It is considered one of the top aquariums in the world thanks to it’s variety, thematic arrangement, and unique design.
The aquarium is arranged so that visitors can not only learn about fish and the undersea world, but also learn about Turkey and the many bodies of water that surround it. With sections on the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles, the Mediterranean, the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea – visitors get to learn about the history of Turkey and the fish that live surrounding it.
In addition, the aquarium has Atlantic, Pacific, Antarctic, and even Amazon Rainforest sections with Piranha – Caiman crocodiles, tarantulas, colorful frogs and even the worlds biggest mouse – a south american capybara. With 64 tanks and more than 6,800 cubic meters of water that hold more than 1,500 species and more than 15,000 land and sea creatures in total.
The restaurant was about what you would expect with overpriced mediocre food so be sure to bring your own lunch! Also, if you can time things so that you aren’t caught between the many school groups – you will be able to enjoy seeing the tiger sharks, rays and other fish with less screaming energy – although, there is certainly something to be said for how fun it is to watch kids enjoying a field trip.
To get to the Istanbul Aquarium, take the commuter train from either Sirkici or Kumkapi to Florya near the airport. Once you get off the train, catch a taxi – it will cost about 5 turkish lira and if, like us, you have kids or a baby along, it’s probably too far to walk – though you could probably make it in a half hour or less if you want to.
For me, coming from Hawaii and having spent considerable time in and under the water- this was still a very enjoyable aquarium. For my wife, who had never been to an aquarium before – this was a top ten travel moment. For the baby – well, she seemed to enjoy herself too, but she always loves seeing other kids around her and of those, there were almost as many as the 15,000 fish.
Here are a few pictures from our day at the Istanbul Aquarium which I think should be called Fishtanbul! Admission is 29 Turkish Lira per person and the 5-D films are 7.5 Turkish Lira per person, but since we had the baby with us, we couldn’t watch them this time.
By the way, there is a second Istanbul Aquarium at The Forum Istanbul called Turkuazoo which has a shark tank that is rather famous, but so far, we haven’t visited that one yet.