Inside the structure you can visit several different biotypes, and observe the different environments of the Antarctic, the corals of the Indian Ocean, the rocky coasts of the Pacific and the whole Azores coast in the heart of the Atlantic in one place!
The most breathtaking sight, however, is the central tank in which you’ll see dozens after dozens of a number of species of fish, from sharks to barracudas, from manta rays to tuna fish, from smaller tropical fishes to the enormous sunfish. The tank is so big that you can’t see the end of it on the other side. The fishes swim by, aimlessly and carelessly, as if floating above us. As we watch them, everything else seems to dissolve. (218 917 002. www.oceanario.pt. Esplanada D Carlos I, Doca dos Olivais. Winter: 10 am – 6 pm; Summer: 10 am – 7 pm. Children from 4 to 12 years old €5,50; adults € 11; senior citizens €6).
Built in 1998 to present the Universal Exhibition of that year, it is a model for the urban revamping and creation that occurred in the marginal area of Lisbon. Before this date, it was packed with derelict factories, ruins of the Industrial Revolution. Then it transformed into Expo98, and today it remains a noble area, in which most pavilions were turned into designer buildings, most of the leisure spots were kept, as for instance the theatres, and new ones were built, as in the Lisbon Casino.
But the most outstanding thing about the area is the chain of little, thematic gardens that are found interweaved with the rest of the buildings. All in all, it creates a lovely area facing the so-called “hay sea” (a part of the river), pricked by the columns of one of Europe’s largest bridges, the Vasco da Gama bridge. The Parque das Nações (“Park of the Nations”) is a symbol of a Pro-European attitude, openness to the world, and a new urban and modern geist for Portugal.