The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is celebrating its 25th birthday, having welcomed more than 10 million visitors since opening for the first time on November 13, 1995.
Since then the attraction has welcomed families, tour groups and solo travellers from around the world and locally, and its popularity as an unusual venue to hold a meeting or conference, has grown. The aquarium has a bespoke conferencing venue adjoining it, plus many of the spaces inside the aquarium itself are available for gatherings, under safe conditions.
Marketing manager, Ingrid Sinclair Ingrid said the aquarium relied on visitors for funding and had made strategic partnerships enabling it to continue with its work in ocean conservation. “A recent achievement we are most proud of is the establishment of our non-profit partner organisation, the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, which has been mandated with growing the education, research and conservation work that we have been pioneering for the last two and a half decades.”
The aquarium’s largest exhibit is the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit, which has been part of the aquarium since 1995 but underwent a complete refurbishment and reopened in 2017. The exhibit holds two million litres of water and is home to Ragged-tooth sharks and shoals of fish.
The I&J Ocean Exhibit opened in 2016 is the aquarium’s second-largest, holding 1,6m litres of water. A unique feature is a 10-metre-long tunnel that gives visitors the feeling of being underwater.
One of the original exhibits, the Kelp Forest Exhibit, was refurbished in 2018 and is uniquely South African and home to endemic fish.
“The Aquarium has also been extremely fortunate to enjoy great support from the larger international community. From an industry point of view, we are close to our peers in North America, Europe and Asia who, like us, consider education about, and protection of, the ocean to be a public aquarium’s core purpose,” said Ingrid. “Thanks to this purpose, international tourists – from the African continent and beyond – have consistently chosen to visit us. Over the years an average of about 45% of our visitors have been from outside of South Africa. We look forward to welcoming them back!”
Adventure seekers can dive in all of the aquarium’s larger exhibits.