The Antalya Aquarium, billed as “the world’s biggest underwater tunnel aquarium” opened recently in Konyaalti, between the Migros mall and Beach Park. The modern building is impressive; it has a Guggenheim-like spiral walkway, and a fountain with an emerging whale.
The inside, however, was somewhat less impressive. While creative details were added to each tank, tying the fish to the culture from which they come, this failed to make up for the lack of interesting fish and sea life. If I want to see Egyptian statues, I’ll go to a museum. When I go to an aquarium, I expect to see fish at least as large and colorful as those in the Koy pond at my brother’s house in Los Angeles. A tank full of levrek, the same fish I see every week at the pazar, just doesn’t cut it.
Flash photography was prohibited, so I didn’t get the greatest photos. (Time to re-read my camera’s manual and learn to use all the settings.) Here’s one of my more colorful shots:
But does this look any different from your average apartment fish tank?
And here’s a shot of some fish swimming with Ganesh, India’s Elephant-head god:
The underwater tunnel was nicely constructed. You walk through it and feel like the fish are swimming above and around you. At the end of the tunnel I spotted a crowd straining to see one particular exhibit. Aha, I thought, that must be where the exotic giant multi-colored jellyfish are! But no, the excitement was caused by two guys in pirate costumes in the tank. Kids were clamoring to get their pictures taken with the pirates.
I didn’t feel like fighting my way through, so I settled for a photo of the pirate treasure:
I don’t want to be too negative, but for anyone who’s been to a great aquarium ( e.g. the National Aquarium in Baltimore, or the Seattle Aquarium ), the Antalya Aquarium is bound to be a disappointment.
Of course, the Antalya Aquarium does have snow world, and we know kids (especially kids who live in Antalya) love snow. But still.
The entrance fees to the Antalya aquarium are 55 TL for adults and 42TL for kids, plus 18 TL for snow world. This adds up to 73 lira ($40.00) for the total experience as an adult. When you compare that to the $30.00 entrance to the National Aquarium, and $20.00 for the Aquarium in Seattle, Antalya’s price seems a bit out of line.
The price is even more ridiculous when you consider the buying power of 73 lira in Antalya. Here are a few examples of alternative ways to spend that amount of money in this area:
1. Go to Antalya’s world-class Archaeology Museum – three times.
2. Go to the most expensive restaurant in town and order the most expensive thing on the menu.
3. Rent a car, drive up to Saklikent, take the ski-lift and have dinner in a restaurant with an Alpine view.
So, in conclusion, if you have kids, by all means take them for a special day at the Aquarium; especially if they’re into pirates or snow. If you’re an adult looking to explore underwater life, check out the website for the National Aquarium and do a virtual tour of some fascinating sea life. Then go out and have that expensive dinner.