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© RIA Novosti. Антон Денисов

Flippers and fins, flora and fauna

by at 21/11/2011 19:44


A visitor watches an aquarium worker swim above him

© RIA Novosti. / Alexey Philippov

A visitor watches an aquarium worker swim above him

Rio retail-entertainment center, property 163 Dmitrovskoye Shosse, (495) 988 5112, m. Petrovsko-Razumovskaya, Altufyevo, Medvedkovo
Open daily 10 am-10 pm; ticket office until 9 pm
Adults 500-600 rubles, children 100-150 rubles

The first Moscow oceanarium opened at the end of October, drawing long lines of curious people who had previously only seen oceanariums in movies or on TV. Although buried in the dungeons of the Rio shopping mall, it is attractively designed, covering an area of 3,500 square meters and featuring some side entertainments such as a huge pool hall, bowling and a 5D cinema, where you can feel the earth shivering, the wind blowing, and splashes of water.

On a recent weekend, oceanarium- goers who expected to see something huge and exciting were overheard grumbling as they left the mall. “Those fish are tiny!” complained some. “What’s the point of it without real sharks?” moaned others. The only people who genuinely seemed impressed by the 37 huge aquariums and dimly lit terrariums were the children.

The oceanarium is divided into areas for different geographical zones

© RIA Novosti. / Alexey Philippov

The oceanarium is divided into areas for different geographical zones

The oceanarium is divided into several sections. “Arctic regions and Antarctica” shows small African penguins, Kamchatka crabs and Far East trout, “Lagoon” is full of corals and tropical fishes, and “Rainforest” with reptiles and snakes is soon to become home for tiny antelopes as well. Tropical birds and monkeys are already here, while “North” has playful seals.

Predatory piranhas have settled in a separate aquarium in the “Amazon” section; the grey dears look harmless and peaceful. The terrarium’s corner is inhabited by Cayman crocodiles and turtles, chameleons, lizards, geckoes, various kinds of snakes and a huge anaconda.

The oceanarium claims to be unique because it represents flora and fauna from all over the world: fishes, coral, animals, birds and reptiles. Some, like the raccoons, pheasants and parrots, look a bit lost behind the glass among aquariums; one can’t help feeling sorry for them, and for the rays in a couple of small aquariums under visitors’ feet in the floor.

An exotic sea creature up close at the oceanarium

© RIA Novosti. / Антон Денисов

An exotic sea creature up close at the oceanarium

The sharks are indeed tiny, but cute. The real attraction is the jolly seals, which perform some acrobatic tricks in the water, stare you into shame through the glass and sometimes even strike poses.

The most important part of an oceanarium is the transparent tunnel, which is tiny here, but gives locals the chance to see the fish from the point of view of a diver – something few experienced before.

The organizers promise to boost the number of creatures and arrange fascinating underwater shows of sharks being fed and performances of seals. All in all, it’s an enjoyable experience – if you don’t go there among the weekend crowds.


How to get there:


- from m. Petrovsko-Razumovskaya take bus №763K or marshrutka 735

- from m. Altufyevo take the free “Rio” bus, any marshrutka marked “Rio,” or buses 644, 685 or 836 (to the “Rynok” stop)

- from m. Medvedkovo – semi-express “Rio”

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