The Melbourne Aquarium was officially opened in January 2000 and is now host to over 30 exhibits and providing a home for 3,000 animals. It is located on the corner of Flinders & King Streets and overlooks the Yarra River. It has a striking view directly across to Crown Casino and to the east, up-river, to Southgate. It is also adjacent to the location purported to be where John Batman declared "this will be the place for a village" on the founding of Melbourne.
Entry to the Aquarium is from Flinders Street via a tunnel under the elevated train tracks connecting Flinders Street and Southern Cross Stations. The Melbourne Aquarium is situated equidistant from both Stations.
At the end of the tunnel and having passed through the turnstiles the tour begins with the Antarctica exhibition, a display of a variety of penguins frolicking, swimming, socialising and watching you watching them. You then follow a meandering path which passes further Experiences, of what the Aquarium has classified as, the Weird & Wonderful, River to Reef and ending with Sharks Alive.
The Sharks Alive exhibit is located at the lowest level of what is a multilevel Aquarium with the top of the tank for this exhibit being one floor below the Yarra River with the viewing area a further floor below that. The doughnut shaped tank in which a multitude of fish, including sharks & rays, swim is viewed through a 200 millimetre thick acrylic wall which holds back 2.2 million litres of sea water. The engineering behind keeping the water clean, recycled and fit for the fish to survive must be truly staggering. To achieve this the Aquarium uses cutting edge technology. Entry to and exit from this 360º viewing area is via two viewing tunnels at opposite sides of the main arena.
Visitors who wish to experience something different can Dive With The Sharks or try the Shark Walker experience, both of which are conducted in the main tank.
The Melbourne Aquarium experiences near to 55,000 visitors per month with its most people viewing The Antarctica and Fish Bowl exhibits.
The Aquarium is open all year round between the hours 9:30 to 18:00 daily and from 1st to 26th January from 9:30 until 19:00 daily. Wheelchairs access is available to all exhibits.