Stand inches away from a shark or touch pythons and iguanas at this marine park that houses more than 250 different species of aquatic life.

Aquatopia is an aquarium in central Antwerp. It houses more than 10,000 fish from 250 species. See them swim, float and glide through more than 260,000 gallons (one million liters) of water. Journey through a tropical rainforest where piranhas prowl the waters or be amazed by the range of rainbow hues living around the coral reefs. There are shark-feeding demonstrations and a laboratory with jellyfish and seahorses. 

The aquarium is located beneath the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel. It contains 35 different displays split over two floors. The aquarium is divided into seven “worlds,” covering everything from the creatures of the Pacific North to the multi-colored life that inhabits the tropics. Watch giant manta rays glide about in the Ocean Zone. Try to spot the three species of shark and two types of grouper fish.

Study the unusual shapes of seahorses in the Lab. The Lab exhibit has some of the ocean’s quirkier creatures, such as the upside-down jellyfish and white-banded cleaner.

All tanks and exhibits have detailed explanations beside them, so you can learn more about the creatures you are viewing. Find out where they come from and how they live in descriptions written in English, French and Flemish.

Make time during your visit for one of the regular feeding shows. Sharks and manta rays are fed every day as part of a demonstration, when staff members are happy to answer any questions. Ask at the reception area for times and details. 

The aquarium’s cafe is located adjacent to the shark tanks. Watch black reef tip sharks, nurse sharks and zebra sharks prowl the waters as you safely enjoy your lunch just beyond their reach. The cafe is only open on weekends, school vacations and public holidays. There is a play area next to the cafe for young children. 

Aquatopia is open daily with a charge for admission. You can also buy tickets from the nearby zoo. Receive a reduced rate if you buy a zoo and aquarium combination ticket. 

The aquarium is located opposite the central train station. There is on-site parking for a fee.

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