Top 10 Exhibits at the Melbourne Aquarium You Must See
Heading to the Melbourne Aquarium? Find out which are the most popular exhibits and what you will see at each exhibition area.
1. Melbourne Aquarium Sharks at ‘Mermaid Garden’
Perhaps the most popular display at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is the Oceanarium, a 2.2-million-litre-tank (581,000-gallon) containing 3,200 animals from 150 species. Rays, gropers and sharks as well as vibrantly coloured fish cruise around this tank, watched closely by visitors from a see-through tunnel.
Ocean Predators Talk
Learn about the amazing underwater world of the Oceanarium at one of the dive-feeding demonstrations at 10:30am and 2pm. Find out about the giants of the deep, including Mr G, the Queensland grouper, Mitch, the Grey Nurse Shark, and the massive Smooth stingray, Mars.
Swimming with Sharks in Melbourne Aquarium
If you’re a daredevil and would like to swim with sharks at the Melbourne Aquarium, you can participate in the Shark Dive Xtreme Experience. The program allows you to get inside the giant tank with the aid of scuba equipment. You don’t need to be a qualified diver as basic scuba training is provided so that you can dive underwater with no experience necessary. Fully qualified instructors will ensure your dive is a thrilling, never-to-be forgotten experience.
The minimum age is 15 years. The program runs from Friday to Monday each week. Booking are essential for this and can fill up to 3 months in advance.
Glass Bottom Boat Tour
You can also take a glass-bottom-boat ride over the Oceanarium and a “behind the scenes” tour with divers and marine biologists. While on tour, you will find out the secrets of the Oceanarium, learn about the animals, their home, and get a glimpse of how it all works behind the scenes.
The 45-minute tour leaves on weekdays at 12pm and 1pm, on weekends at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm, and during school holidays and public holidays at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Stingray Encounter Experience
If you would like to get up-close and personal with the stingrays at Melbourne Aquarium, sign up for the Stingray Encounter Experience. Meet the large yet graceful stingrays in their Oceanarium home and gasp as they pop up right next to you while your guide hand-feeds these spectacular animals. Tour behind-the-scenes to see the aquarium’s food preparation area, vet lab, and dive zone.
2. Melbourne Aquarium Penguins at ‘Penguin Playground’
Since it’s grand reopening in 2008, the Melbourne Aquarium has hosted Australia’s one and only Antarctica display featuring 52 captive-bred King and Gentoo penguins. These beguiling birds are Australia’s only collection of sub-Antarctic penguins.
Head over to the Penguin Playground and press your nose to the glass in the Antarctica exhibition to watch these penguins waddling around on snow-covered ice or playfully darting through the water in the Penguin pool (with underwater viewing). Look out for the fluffy, brown baby penguins in the corner on the left of the exhibit.
Daily Feeds & Talk
Meet the keepers and watch the penguins get fed buckets of fish at 11:30am on land and 3:30pm in the water. Learn more about King and Gentoo penguins including penguin conservation programs during the presentation talks at the above times.
Penguin Passport Experience
If you would like to get up-close and personal with these cute little birds, you can participate in the Penguin Passport Experience where you don snow gear and sit among the penguins. In addition, go behind-the-scenes to see food preparation and veterinary areas, as well as how the state-of-the-art exhibit maintains sub-zero temperatures.
3. Melbourne Aquarium Crocodile at ‘Croc Lair’
Head over to the triple-level Croc Lair to see Melbourne Aquarium’s latest addition – Pinjarra, one of the biggest Saltwater crocodiles on display anywhere in the world. Weighing in at 750 kg and measuring over 5 m, this 52-year-old Saltwater crocodile needs to be seen to be believed. Climb up to Level 2 to get a 360-degree view of the croc lair and Pinjarra who likes to bask under the bright lights.
After a significant flood Pinjarra was found stranded on a cattle farm, and was then relocated to a crocodile farm near Rockhampton, Queensland. Pinjarra came to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium as he had become a danger to other crocodiles at the farm.
Pinjarra is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place of soft grass and smooth water’. Pinjarra eats chicken once or twice a week and is expected to live for another 20 years.
If you would like to know more about Pinjarra and learn about crocodile conservation, visit the Croc Lair at 11am or 4pm daily for a fun-filled presentation.
4. Melbourne Aquarium Coral Gardens at ‘Coral Atoll’
The spectacular floor-to-ceiling display situated next to the main café is home to some of the most colourful tropical animals in the world. This magnificent underwater wonderland is home to a variety of exotic animals, including sting rays, moray eels, sea stars and hundreds of multi-coloured fish. Like an artist’s palette of brilliant paint colours, the animals and corals at this coral reef are a treat for the eyes.
Wander around the Coral Atoll display while you wait for a coffee, snack or lunch at the café nearby.
Coral Feed Talk
Head over to the Coral Atoll display at 1:30pm daily for an insightful presentation on coral caves and the tropical fish that live there. Watch as the sting rays are fed from the top of the display and get into a feeding frenzy. Learn about the tropical ocean and how to protect it from destruction.
5. Melbourne Aquarium Seahorses at ‘Seahorse Pier’
A long-time favourite of visitors to the Melbourne Aquarium is the Seahorse display now located at the Seahorse Pier. It’s no surprise that the Aquarium houses the largest collection of seahorse and seadragon species in the world. The exhibit is also home to the Aquarium’s internationally-recognised Weedy Seadragon breeding program and dedicated seahorse breeding facility.
This mystically-themed underwater wonderland is home to some weird and wonderful creatures including the Big-bellied Seahorse, the largest species of seahorse, and Seadragons that blend into their surroundings easily.
6. Melbourne Aquarium Sting Rays at ‘Bay of Rays’
Head over to the Bay of Rays to see sharks that are not actually sharks but rays. The bay is home to the world’s only display of Elephant sharks and also contains Port Jackson sharks named after Sydney Harbour. In addition to these, you can spot graceful Fiddler rays and other residents including the Eastern and Western Shovelnose rays through the see-through underwater display.
Learn more about these strange animals at the Bay of Rays talk that happens daily at 11:30am. Find out where these creatures come from, how they are bred at Melbourne Aquarium and how we can protect these local species.
7. Melbourne Aquarium Crabs at ‘Claws’
New to the Melbourne Aquarium is the exhibit on Crabs appropriately named ‘Claws’. From April 2015, you can see several varieties of crabs from the small Hermit Crabs to the giant Japanese Spider Crabs.
The amazing Japanese Spider Crab is not only the largest species of crustacean but also the oldest. These claw-some animals can live up to 100 years old in the wild and can grow over 3 metres wide. The Colossus’ front leg is 1.2m long!
Apart from crabs, this new zone features other crustaceans big and small including lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles.
8. Melbourne Aquarium ‘Rockpool’
If you would like to get your hands wet (or your kids’ hands), hop over to the interactive area called Rockpool situated besides Bay of Rays. Here, you can pat sea stars, hold sponges and even pick up shark eggs.
Rockpools appear when the tide goes out. They give us a great window on the underwater world that is left behind. Creatures that can be seen in rockpools include a variety of seastars as well as Hermit crabs.
Rocky Reef Talk
If you would like to learn more about the Rockpool creatures in front of you and find out which sharks made those eggs, stay around for the Rocky Reef talk at 11:30am daily. In addition, find out how you can be a part of the conservation programs to protect these rockpools.
9. Melbourne Aquarium ‘Rainforest Adventure’
The Rainforest Adventure exhibit is one of the newest displays at the Melbourne Aquarium. This interactive exhibit showcases unique animals from the tropical north including bizarre bugs, Lungfish, freshwater turtles, frogs and the world’s largest display of Archerfish. The dry touch pool is a must see, allowing even the smallest curious hands to get up-close to Hermit Crabs and smooth scaly Blue Tongue Lizards.
Head over to the Rainforest Adventure enclosure at 2:30pm daily for an interesting presentation on tropical animals including a billabong feed.
10. Melbourne Aquarium ‘Coral Caves & Jellies’
The most photographed fish in the world is located in the Coral Caves & Jellies area of the Melbourne Aquarium. Can you guess it? Yes, it’s Nemo, the famous clown fish who likes to clown around and dart between the anemones’ tentacles. Watch Anemone Clownfish and Moon Jellies as they float serenely through the water in the Coral Caves beneath the Aquarium floor.
Melbourne Aquarium Feeds & Talks Schedule
[table id=2 /]
Melbourne Aquarium Prices (as at August 2015)
Adult – A$38
Adult Concession (Vic Student or Senior) – A$30
Child – A$22
Family (2 adults, 2 children) – A$96
Single Adult Family (1 adult, 2 children) – A$66
Melbourne Aquarium Membership (as at August 2015)
Adult – A$79
Child – A$50
Family (2 adults, 2 children) – A$250
As part of the Melbourne Aquarium membership you receive an Annual Pass which allows you enter the Aquarium as often as you like every day of the year.
If you’ve already purchased a general admission ticket, you can upgrade your ticket at the customer service desk upon arrival. Upgrade offer is only valid on the day of visit.
Melbourne Aquarium Tickets
Tickets can be purchased online from Melbourne Aquarium.
Melbourne Aquarium Discount Tickets
You can save 20% of a full-priced ticket by purchasing online from Melbourne Aquarium before your visit. Simply visit Melbourne Aquarium for cheap Melbourne Aquarium tickets.
Melbourne Aquarium Discount Voucher
If you’re unable to purchase tickets online from Melbourne Aquarium (don’t have a credit card or access to Internet), you can get discount vouchers which give you 20% discount on any ticket to the Melbourne Aquarium. Simply go to the Melbourne Visitors Centre at Federation Square in the CBD and look for either the Official Visitors Guide (see middle two pages) or the Melbourne Aquarium flyer.
Melbourne Aquarium Parking
If you’re driving to the Melbourne Aquarium, the closest parking you will find is on Flinders Street opposite the Aquarium. Alternatively, you can park in the Crown Complex accessible via Kings Way.
Melbourne Aquarium Opening Hours
The Melbourne Aquarium is open 365 days a year from 9:30am to 6pm. Last admission is at 5pm.
How to get to Melbourne Aquarium?
If you’re taking public transport to the Melbourne Aquarium, you can get there by train or tram.
By Train – Get off at Southern Cross or Flinders Street station and walk about 10 to 15 minutes.
By Tram – Tram Nos. 70 and 75 will stop in front of Melbourne Aquarium.
Melbourne Aquarium Address
Cnr King & Flinders Streets,
Melbourne Aquarium Contact
Official website: www.melbourneaquarium.com.au
Phone: 1800 026 576
Tell us what you think. Which exhibits are you most excited about seeing? If you’ve been to the Melbourne Aquarium before, which exhibits were your favourite?
We love to hear from you so please leave your comments below.