Museums top attraction.jpg

Museums top attraction

LISBON’S WORLD famous Oceanarium is celebrating its tenth anniversary by allowing visitors aged 10 in for free until June 22.

The country’s number one tourist attraction, which was opened in May 1998 for the Expo 98 World Fair, has seen 12 million visitors pass through its turnstiles in that time.

The largest aquarium in Europe at the time, the Lisbon Oceanarium is a microcosm of the four main marine ecosystems on the planet with the massive central tank containing seven million litres of sea water representing the Atlantic Ocean.

It contains giant manta rays, sharks, shoals of tuna, mackerel, sea bass and an enormous and strange looking sun fish.

In all the attraction boasts 8,000 fish and plants, many aquatic birds, including penguins and a pair of sea otters, from a total of 500 species.

It was also involved in the Mantra Birostris Back to the Wild documentary which later formed the basis of the very first National Geographic documentary done in Portugal.

Last year the Super Cool Sea Monster Exhibition was opened which features models and skeletons of long-extinct marine mammals and reptiles such as the long-necked elasmosaur (a kind of plesiosaur), the Mosaurus (the killer of the seas), the Kronosaurus (a 10 metre long  vicious hunter with sharp teeth) and the Opthalmosaurus (a giant dolphin-like creature with massive eyes). The exhibition is still running.

Oriental museum

The recently-opened Oriental Museum has already clocked up 37,000 visitors since it was opened in May.

“The number went beyond our wildest expectations,” said a spokesman for the museum, which houses one of the finest collections of art and artefacts from the Far East in Europe.

Owned by the Orient Foundation, Fundação Oriente, the museum was installed in the former bacalhau codfish warehouse in Alcântara built in the 1930s.

In all, the museum boasts some 13,000 pieces of which only one thousand pieces are on display at any one time.

On July 8 the Orient Museum will inaugurate an exhibition on the Olympic Games which will feature the participation of the Portuguese Olympic Team.

With a patrimonial heritage worth 325 million Euros and 12.3 million Euros in annual receipts, the Orient Foundation is one of the richest and largest in Europe.

Lisbon’s Coach Museum enjoyed a good year in 2007 when it ranked as the most visited museum in the city in any one year with a staggering 200,000 visitors.

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