Just across the Channel on France’s north coast, a major marine landmark is shimmering more brightly than ever this year, thanks to a brand new expansion due to be unveiled in May.
Nausicaá, on the seafront in Boulogne-sur-Mer, is more than a mere aquarium: it’s the largest exhibit in Europe dedicated to the discovery and protection of the marine world, and its cutting-edge innovations allow for a closer-than-close oceanic experience.
With over 58,000 individual animals on display, Nausicaá is already a fabulous attraction for families, who come to marvel at majestic rays and hammerhead sharks, explore the beauties of a tropical lagoon and watch sealions in training. Since its first opening 26 years ago, over 15 million visitors have enjoyed an educational day out here.
But on 19th May, a spectacular extension built in the shape of a Manta ray will open to the public, containing a tank holding 16,000m3 of water – equivalent to four Olympic pools – and inspired by the island of Malpelo, off the coast of Colombia. Designed by Jacques Rougerie, the extension will double Nausicaá’s current footprint in northern France.
Other features at Nausicaá include an 18-metre-long ‘submarine’ tunnel, allowing visitors total immersion in the wonders of the ocean as sharks, manta rays and schools of fish swim all around them – and a vast viewing panel measuring 5 metres high and 20 metres wide. There are also over 15 species of jellyfish bred on site. New technologies and interactive tools will enhance the visitor experience for 2018; an interactive TV platform allows virtual visits to aquariums and animal reserves all over the world, with its live broadcasts.