Middle East’s largest aquarium to open in Abu Dhabi in 2020

The National Aquarium is now 70% complete and will feature 33,000 marine creatures

Gulf News: The largest aquarium in the Middle East, The National Aquarium at Al Qana in Abu Dhabi, is now 70 per cent complete and will open next year.

The 10-zone, giant aquarium measuring over 7,000 square metres is expected to welcome an estimated 1 million visitors per year. The aquarium will form one of the key anchor features at Al Qana, the much-anticipated waterfront destination in the heart of the UAE capital. It is being developed by Al Barakah International Investment and is set to fully open by the final quarter of 2020.

NAT Al Qana National Aquarium 3-1562756525010
Al Qana National Aquarium. Image Credit: Supplied

Home to more than 33,000 marine creatures, responsibly and ethically sourced from around the world, The National Aquarium will be led by a world-class team of 80 marine experts and specialists. Through themed zones of learning, the journey will highlight the conservation required to protect the planet.

Commenting on the progress of the project, general manager of The National Aquarium Paul Hamilton, who was also behind many of the world’s most prestigious aquaria including the Dubai Aquarium, said: “This is the 12th public aquarium that I’ve worked on and probably the most exciting, in terms of the scale, uniqueness and attention to detail. This will bring the excitement and wonder of the oceans to the doorsteps of Abu Dhabi’s community and to visitors from all around the world.

“People across the UAE are becoming more conscious of how they can look after the environment around them, to ensure that the habitats and ecosystems of animals are safeguarded for generations to come. Through accredited educational programmes and accessible information, people of all ages will be able to understand more about the marine world at The National Aquarium,” he added.

The National Aquarium will have a whole department dedicated to education. It will have the capacity to welcome 50,000 schoolchildren a year to visit and learn at the site. Guests will be able to learn about more than 250 species, spanning from the tropical waters of the Pacific and freshwaters of the Amazon through to the frozen ice caps of the Arctic and the caves of the Mediterranean. At its core, The National Aquarium will educate about the UAE and Arabian Gulf, celebrating the marine marvels of its home nation.

National Aquarium facts

  • Largest aquarium in the Middle East
  • Aquarium will span 7,000 square metres and will be located at Al Qana, Abu Dhabi
  • Aquarium will be home to more than 33,000 marine creatures from around the world
  • Aquarium will be split into 10 different zones
  • 80 qualified marine experts and specialists on hand
  • Aquarium set to open in the final quarter of 2020

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