Malta National Aquarium

Exploring the Wonders of the National Aquarium in Malta

Nestled on the beautiful southern Mediterranean island of Malta.  The National Aquarium stands as a captivating testament to the diverse marine life.  That inhabits the surrounding Mediterranean waters.  The Malta National Aquarium opened its doors in October 2013.  This state-of-the-art facility is situated in Qawra.  A popular tourist destination on the northeastern coast of the island.  The complex’s area spans over 20,000sqm and includes several facilities.  The aquarium itself is constructed out of glass and metal in the shape of a starfish.  Offering an immersive experience for visitors of all ages.  

In this article, we’ll delve into the wonders of the Malta National Aquarium.  Exploring its exhibits and conservation efforts.  Along with the importance of raising awareness about marine biodiversity.

A Journey Beneath the Waves

As visitors enter the National Aquarium, they are transported to an underwater wonderland.  The facility boasts a mesmerising array of exhibits.  With around 51 tanks which are home to more than 250 species.  Including fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects.  The Malta National Aquarium has freshwater and saltwater fish.  Including those native to the Mediterranean sea.  Along with jellyfish, seahorses and other exotic species. 

Each tank is curated to showcase the rich marine ecosystems.  Those found in the Mediterranean Sea and beyond.  From vibrant coral reefs teeming with colourful fish to mysterious deep-sea environments.  The aquarium provides a glimpse into the breathtaking diversity of marine life.

One of the standout features of the Malta National Aquarium is its impressive tunnel.  This is the aquarium’s main tank.  Allowing visitors to walk through a glass-enclosed corridor submerged in a massive tank.  This tunnel provides a 360-degree view of marine life.  Offering an up-close encounter with majestic rays, sharks and schools of shimmering fish.  It’s an experience that not only educates.  But also fosters a deep appreciation for the beauty of the underwater world.

Zebra Sharks

Attractions at the Malta National Aquarium

The Malta National Aquarium offers a captivating array of exhibits and attractions.  Providing visitors with an immersive experience into the diverse marine ecosystems.  The complex has a laboratory, food preparation room and quarantine facilities.  

Here’s a guide to the must-see attractions in the 6 zones of the Malta National Aquarium.  Zones are themed with underwater backdrops representing scenes from Malta.  With each tank designed to reproduce the natural habitat of its species. 

Zone 1 displays Malta’s western shoreline.  The tanks’ habitats include the Blue Grotto and St. Paul’s islands.  Explore the tanks dedicated to display the rich marine life of the Mediterranean.  Admire species indigenous to this region.  The likes of gilt-head sea bream and European sea bass.  

Zone 2 replicates the Valletta Grand Harbour.  Here visitors can admire native fish in the Maltese waters.  Such as the mottled grouper.

Located in Zone 3 is the aquarium’s main tank with a 12-metre diameter.  Walk through the glass tunnel to experience the underwater world at a much closer range.  Stand under the tunnel and get captivated with your sight.  This tank features a kaleidoscope of colours.  With coral reefs and a diverse range of exotic fish from the Indo-Pacific Ocean.  Look out for the vibrant fish that call tropical waters home.  The likes of pompano fish, batfish, zebra and leopard sharks.  Marvel at the graceful movements and the vibrant colours of various fish species. 

Zone 4 depicts ancient Roman remains.  The underwater fish tanks exhibit the Roman times.  One of which includes a shipwreck.  Fish from the depths of the Mediterranean swim in this area’s tanks.

Zone 5 displays famous landmarks from Gozo and Comino.  Such as the Azure Window, Xwejni salt pans and the Blue Lagoon.  Freshwater fish species swim in these tanks.

Zone 6 leads you to the reptiles and amphibians area.  The animals in this zone come from all over the world.  Such as stick insects, beetles, leopard geckos and more.

Ensure to check the aquarium’s schedule for feeding times.  Or special events that might enhance your visit. 

Educational Initiatives

The Malta National Aquarium is more than a spectacle.  It serves as an invaluable educational resource.  Various educational programs and interactive displays are incorporated throughout the exhibits.  This teaches visitors of all ages about marine life.  The importance of environmental conservation in an enjoyable and interactive way.  

For young learners, the aquarium offers educational workshops.  It has engaged in a collaboration agreement with iLearn Biology.  This program nurtures high-level education in collaboration with Malta’s National Curriculum.  

Guided tours cover topics such as marine biology and environmental conservation.  These tours voice the impact of human activities on the oceans.  These initiatives aim to instil a sense of responsibility.  To inspire the next generation to become stewards of the environment.

Inside, visitors can watch a 10 minute film.  This video gives information about marine evolution.  As well as the conservation challenges faced.

Fish at the Aquarium

Conservation Efforts

Beyond education, this facility is committed to raising awareness about marine conservation.  Besides the importance of preserving aquatic ecosystems.  The Malta National Aquarium participates in conservation efforts to safeguard marine life.  The facility collaborates with research institutions, governmental bodies and environmental organisations.  It contributes to the understanding and protection of local marine ecosystems.

One noteworthy conservation initiative is the breeding and rehabilitation program for endangered species.  The aquarium plays a crucial role in raising awareness about the plight of species.  Such as sea turtles and promoting efforts to protect their natural habitats.  Visitors can witness firsthand the dedicated efforts to nurture and rehabilitate marine animals.  Before releasing them back into the wild.

The aquarium also emphasises sustainable practices within its own operations.  From responsible waste management to promoting eco-friendly alternatives.  The facility strives to set an example for visitors.  It encourages a collective commitment to environmental sustainability.

Interactive Exhibits

The Malta National Aquarium goes beyond traditional exhibits.  Incorporating interactive displays engages visitors in a hands-on exploration of marine life.  Touch tanks, for instance, allow visitors to interact with sea creatures.  Like starfish and sea urchins under the guidance of knowledgeable staff.

These interactive experiences not only make learning enjoyable.  But foster a deeper connection to the marine environment.   By encouraging visitors to touch and observe marine life up close.  The aquarium aims to promote a greater understanding.  In respect of the importance of preserving these delicate ecosystems.

Community Involvement

The Malta National Aquarium recognizes the significance of community involvement.  In achieving its conservation goals.  The facility engages in an active manner with local communities.  Through outreach programs, beach cleanups and collaborative projects with schools and community groups.

These initiatives not only strengthen the bond between the aquarium and its community.  But empowers individuals to take an active role in protecting the marine environment.  By fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility.  The Malta National Aquarium strives to create a ripple effect.  Of positive change that extends beyond its walls.

Opening Times and Tickets

The Malta National Aquarium opens every day from 10am till 6pm.  An adult ticket costs €15.90.  An entrance ticket for a child aged 4 to 12 costs €9.90.  Kids from 0 to 3 enter for free.  Discounted tickets are available for persons aged 60+.  Visitors who buy tickets online get a discounted price.

Add an extra layer of excitement to your experience!  Take a behind the scenes tour for an extra charge.  Visitors will appreciate an interesting insight on the aquarium’s operation.  This guided tour takes visitors to areas which as a rule are not seen.  Look into the largest tank from above.  Enter the feed kitchen and laboratory.  

Viewing the fascinating underwater life at the aquarium takes around 2 hours.

How to reach the Malta National Aquarium

Reaching the National Aquarium in Malta is a straightforward process.  There are various transportation options available. 

The best way to reach the aquarium is by public transport.  Malta has an extensive public bus network.  You can take a bus to Qawra from various locations across the island.  The closest bus stop to the National Aquarium is “Ben”.  From Valletta catch bus number 45.  Bus number 212 leaves Sliema to Buġibba.  You can take this bus and walk along the promenade to the aquarium.  From the north of the Malta you can catch bus 221 that leaves Ċirkewwa.  Stop at “Gżejjer” and walk the short distance to the aquarium.  From the south of the island you can take bus number X3 and stop at “Gżejjer”.   

The National Aquarium has a parking facility.  Individuals who have their own means of transport can make use of this facility.  Parking is free but tell the cashier when buying the entrance tickets. 

Another option is to take a cab.  You can either hail one on the street or use a taxi-hailing app. 

Facilities at the Malta National Aquarium

Located in a wonderful location with a landscaped belvedere along the promenade.  Malta’s National Aquarium complex area sports various facilities.  It features a children’s adventure playground with a kiosk serving drinks and snacks.  The play area is open 24/7.

The aquarium runs a merchandise outlet which visitors can visit on their way out.  This gift shop is open during visiting hours.  It sells children’s toys, books and souvenirs. 

It has a family-friendly restaurant, named La Nave Bistro.  This eatery serves both lunch and dinner.  With indoor and outdoor seating.  Patrons sitting at tables on the terrace outside will enjoy magnificent sea views.  The restaurant serves a selection of Mediterranean dishes. Besides catering for all dietary needs.  It also offers a kids menu. 

In the summer season, the aquarium runs a beach club, Cafe del Mar.

Visit the Malta National Aquarium for some family quality time.  It will keep kids entertained for a couple of hours!  Yet, the National Aquarium in Malta is not only an entertainment venue.  It stands as a beacon of marine conservation.  Blending education, entertainment and community involvement.  Through its captivating exhibits, educational initiatives and conservation efforts.  


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