The Two Oceans Aquarium provides a fascinating and close-up glimpse below the surface of the ocean that surrounds the South African coastline. This Aquarium has become increasingly popular, not only in Cape Town, but throughout South Africa, and even internationally. If you're prepping for a visit and wondering what to expect, or you've visited in the past and may have missed a few things, then sit back, kick your feet up, and enjoy this "tour" of the Two Oceans Aquarium.
As you enter the Aquarium through the turnstiles, you'll receive a warm welcome from the enthusiastic Happy Snappy staff, who are available to capture all of your initial excitement in a photo and provide you with a custom print-out featuring some cool marine-themed backdrops.
We then kick off our tour in the Indian Ocean Gallery, which is the first one you'll see as your journey begins. The Indian Ocean Gallery is home to some of the most colourful and diverse species found in our oceans. These include four different types of moray eels, as well as the most spectacular coral reef around.
Once you've soaked up the beauty that is the Indian Ocean Gallery, you'll then make your way through the double doors, into the Atlantic Ocean Gallery. The Atlantic Ocean Gallery is home to a large abundance of fish and many different invertebrates. Amongst the species in this gallery, you'll find seahorses, little rays, and a John Dory, to name a few. This gallery is also where you'll find our octopus, which is often hard to spot, as it spends most of the time hidden in its rock structure. It's definitely there though, we promise!
Before leaving the Atlantic Ocean Gallery, check out our MPA Exhibit to learn all about Marine Protected Areas and how they contribute to our biodiversity.
At this point, you'll have seen a dark room, neon lights, and a "Jelly Gallery" sign. Before you read any further, we must warn you - this gets really cool! Welcome to our Jelly Gallery. This section is home to some seriously cool jellyfish, that have been responsible for many "Oohs", and even more "Aahs". What makes this space so intriguing to look at is the dark room, coupled with the coloured lights in the displays that house these jellies.
Don't worry, it's okay to leave the Jelly Gallery, the coolness does not end there. We can almost guarantee that as you enter our I&J Ocean Exhibit and see the four-metre-high viewing window, your jaw will drop. This is the main viewing window, which is nine metres wide and weighs 22 tons. The best part of this exhibit, however, is found behind this window. The I&J Ocean Exhibit is home to many beautiful species and is definitely a "fan favourite" at the Aquarium. In addition to spotting a stingray or green turtle, you might spot a diver completing one of our diving courses in this exhibit as well. The I&J Ocean Exhibit is also a particularly great place for photos and is where you'll find our tuckshop if you're feeling peckish.
You'll then leave the I&J Ocean Exhibit through the transparent tunnel, which gives you a taste of what it's like to be underwater with these beautiful animals.
As you exit the tunnel, you’ll pass an extension of the Atlantic Ocean Gallery, where you can find an array of interesting and diverse species, and learn some interesting things about some of them. Here, you'll also find our Turtle Wall. This section aims to educate and inform visitors about the dangers turtles face and ways we can all contribute to their well-being.
We're now heading to our Microscope Exhibit. Exciting right? The Microscope Exhibit allows you to experience the ocean's hidden wonders, which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Right across the way from all of the microscopic fun, is the Touch Pool Exhibit, which allows you to get a literal feel of some of the ocean's organisms. Both the Microscope Exhibit and the Touch Pool Exhibit are manned by an Aquarium staff member who is ready to inform and educate, while also answering any questions you may have.
Right about now is when you'll start hearing screaming, laughing and bursts of excitement! This is all thanks to our I&J Children's Play Centre. Quite simply, the epitome of edutainment at the Aquarium, the I&J Children's Play Centre is a space where kids can quite simply be kids. Courtesy of the marine-themed puppet shows and some cool arts and crafts, the kids are guaranteed to have a ball of a time, all while learning about the ocean and its wonders.
Leaving the I&J Children's Play Centre, you now make your way up the ramp, which by the way, is not just an ordinary ramp. Besides providing amazing photo ops in front of the beautiful mural running along the wall, the ramp wall also provides some very valuable information on plastic pollution. In addition to that, the ramp also contains a whale skeleton made up of eco-bricks, to symbolize the many ways of recycling plastic and keeping it out of our oceans.
So, we hear you asking, "Where does the ramp lead?" Well, dear friend, the ramp leads to another one of our fan-favourites, the Penguin Exhibit. The Penguin Exhibit is home to both African penguins, as well as rockhopper penguins. Our penguin feeds are wildly popular, which often means a packed exhibit. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the penguin waddle, which happens after the rockhopper penguins come from their morning swim.
Leaving our Penguin Exhibit, just a few steps away, you'll find our Kelp Forest Exhibit. This is one of our larger exhibits. Not only is this exhibit filled with beautiful kelp, but it is also home to many species of large fish and small sharks. If you're here at the right time, you may spot our rockhopper penguins enjoying a swim in this exhibit.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Where are the sharks?" Well, here you go. After leaving the Kelp Forest Exhibit, you'll find yourself looking down at some of the most amazing ragged-tooth sharks, in our Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit. Watching these "raggies" circle the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit is one of the most captivating things to see during your visit. You can also watch these animals being fed by our divers during their feeding time presentations.
As you make your way down to the ground floor area of the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit, you'll pass through Shark Alley, which is an alleyway where you can learn all about these marvellous animals. You'll also find yourself in the shark exhibit tunnel, another section from which you can view our raggies. Once again, photo-op alert! This spot is perfect for a few selfies with the sharks in the background, courtesy of the mirrors that make up half of the tunnel.
So, now that you've seen some sharks, looked through a microscope and touched some seaweed, we've reached the end of this "tour". Although you may have enjoyed this virtual journey through the Aquarium, the real fun starts when you walk through the doors and experience everything up close. We cannot wait to sea you!