4 of the Best & Biggest Aquariums in Istanbul

Aquariums in Istanbul, known to locals as underwater zoos, are a fun, educational day for kids and adults alike. If you visit Istanbul and want to see what the city has to offer, we’ve compiled four aquariums in Istanbul that’ll marvel everyone.

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1. Istanbul Aquarium

Image credit: Istanbul Aquarium

There’s a lot to gush about when it comes to the Istanbul Aquarium. Istanbul Aquarium can proudly boast about its interactive new generation technology, which, compared with other aquariums in Turkey, really brings the sea to life. It is an official member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Each tank has architectural characteristics that focus on each area’s cultural, geographical, and historical aspects. The six thematic areas focus on the different types of fish species living in seas and oceans. Visitors are indulged with species from places as wide as the Black Sea, Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, and even an Amazon rainforest. You can explore the world via a well-planned travel route. 

Suppose you want to explore marine life and explore the different species of aquatic animals. In that case, you may wish to book in advance to save money. 

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2. Istanbul Sea Life Aquarium

Sea Life Istanbul is one of the best aquariums in Istanbul
Image credit: Sea Life Istanbul

Locals sometimes remember this aquarium as TurkuaZoo. It was the first public aquarium in Turkey and is one of the largest aquariums in Europe. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that it is the biggest aquarium in Turkey. Especially when the Sea Life company has 48 different aquariums around the world, so you know that their Istanbul aquarium has the same attention to detail as the one in Arizona or London. Unlike Arizona, however, their Istanbul Aquarium has a glass-bottom boat so that you can see the sea life in its natural environment. Well, as natural as it gets. 

Sea Life Aquarium is located in Forum Istanbul, a shopping mall. If you’re going on a family trip, the shopaholics can grab a new outfit. At the same time, the kids can be fascinated by the largest aquarium tunnel in Europe or the most extensive collection of sharks in Europe. 

Children can touch a starfish and other sea creatures in the Rock Pool Experience, just as it is in the Sea Life Aquariums around the world. They can discover facts about the animals in the tanks because the signs are in English. In other words, this isn’t an aquarium just for the locals. 

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3. Emaar Aquarium

Emaar Aquarium is a little closer to the attractions on the Asian side of Istanbul. It’s a small aquarium located inside a shopping mall. However, don’t let that deter you, as they have virtual reality games available in the mall. This aquarium also allows children to explore the underwater world in the “Dreamers Island” section, a digital interactive play area.

You can watch the mermaid show or scuba dive to hang out with the devil rays. You may not get to chill with guitar-nosed sharks. Still, you can walk around the various thematic areas to meet cute penguins at Penguin Island in Antarctica. There’s the Crocodile Kingdom, the Rocky Shores, various rivers and falls, a mesmerizing Jellyfish Gallery, and even a recreation of the Amazon rainforest. 

Though it is one of the smallest aquariums in Istanbul, it does have 20,000 different species of marine animals and about 200 species of amphibians. 

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4. Viasea Aquarium

Image credit: Viasea Aquarium

Viasea Aquarium is on the Asian side and is a bit of a distance away from the main attractions in Istanbul, but it’s worth the trip. The aquarium is actually inside a funfair which also hosts a lion park. Think of this as a family day out where you get to see snakes, spiders, lions, and you get to play with merry-go-rounds. There’s enough here to keep children entertained for hours. 

You enter the aquarium through the mouth of a crocodile which makes sense considering the crocodile park inside. There are also the lovely tropical birds in the Bird Paradise and century-old tortoises. You can feed some of these species by hand. Around lunchtime, you may be able to see the feeding of the piranas, otters, and scallops. 

The climate-themed aquarium has over 12,000 sea creatures with 24 themes. These include exotic koi fish, stingrays, and predatory sharks.

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