Cape Town - Two Oceans Aquarium
Aquariums are special places. It’s where children of all ages (1 to 100) are introduced to a part of our world that many will never see otherwise. It’s where we learn to marvel at the part of Creation that’s invisible to our eyes beneath the watery depths that cover more than 70% of our planet. It’s where we meet and fall in love with dolphins, where we encounter the shy hermit crab and where we learn about the way our lack of forethought is harming many sea-dwellers.
The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town is one of my favourite stops in the Mother City, especially on a day when the Cape Doctor is wielding its might. Stepping into the filtered-light sanctuary where tanks of transparent jellyfish gently drift and clownfish glide along immediately calms my thoughts, and it’s extremely easy to switch off, unplug and step into a different world for a while.
There are many things to see and do here. Taking time to inspect tiny wonders at the microscope exhibit or walking down a glass tunnel when a “really big shark” gracefully glides overhead; stopping at the touch pool to hold a starfish or lounging around the tank where about a zillion tropical fish (definitely a zillion, maybe two) flaunt every single colour in the spectrum; returning to your childhood by trying to walk like a penguin or marveling at the size of that humungous crab; all of these serve a few purposes. It teaches us about mysterious parts of our earth. It encourages us to do what we can to protect these animals and their homes. It automatically brings a quietness to your soul. Most importantly, it shows me many new and extraordinary things to be thankful for.
My favourite corner in the Two Oceans Aquarium is the Kelp Forest (currently closed for renovations). There is a small nook where you can sit. The window reaches to the ceiling. A dense thicket of kelp grows here and sways gracefully from side to side and sunlight filters through the water to provide dim light to the room. It would be enough for me to sit here and relax for an unspecified amount of time. It would be a place to sort out thoughts about life, a place to nurture creative thoughts. But the kelp forest also houses many species of fish. They are not the rainbow explosion of the tropical fish tank, but the “ordinary” silver fish, the bigger ones. You can sit here and marvel at how spectacular these ordinary fish are to look at. You can sit here and wait to see all of them, one by one, and feel as if nothing else in the aquarium matters. It’s not clear why this tank has caught my attention as it has, but one is thing is sure: it’s my favourite place at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
For those of you who want to visit the Two Oceans Aquarium, we’ve gathered some interesting trivia about it, as well as practical information for your trip.
DID YOU KNOW?
• The main window of the I&J Ocean Exhibit is 9 metres wide, 4 metres high, and weighs 22 tonnes.
• Short-tail stingrays give birth to live baby stingrays.
• The Red and Blue Hop On Hop Off Bus stops at the Aquarium.
• Sunfish can lay up to 300 million eggs at a time.
• Seahorses have two things in common with chameleons: Their eyes move independently, and they have the ability to change colour in order to camouflage into their surroundings.
• The Afrikaans name for the Black Musselcrackers is “poenskop,” roughly translated as “skinhead.”
• The Brindle Bass can reach sizes of up to 2.7 metres in length, and about 300 kilograms in weight.
• Giant Spider Crabs live about 400m below the surface of the ocean.
• Green turtles are actually brown, but are called green because of the colour of the fat layer beneath their shells.
• You can watch animal feedings 4 times daily; 5 times on a Sunday, when the sharks are fed.
• Sunfish can weigh up to 1,600 kilograms.
• Short-tail stingrays can grow up to 4.3 metres in length and 2.1 metres in width, and weigh over 300 kilograms.
• You can save 10% off the entrance fee by booking online.
• Most species of butterflyfish change colour at night.
• Eels are not snakes, but fish.
• The I&J Ocean Exhibit contains 1.6 million litres of water.
• The smallest seahorse measures only 3 centimetres in length.
• Green turtles lay around 600 eggs per season (about 150 eggs approximately every 12 days).
• Children between 3 and 9 years of age can watch puppet shows at the Two Oceans Qauraium three times per day.
• Clownfish are immune to the stings of anemones, because they cover themselves in the slime that the anemones use to protect it from its own stings.
• The MyCiTi 104 Bus stops outside the Aquarium.
• Giant Spider Crabs have been known to a size of 1 metre in length, with a leg stretch of 4 metres.
• If its eye can fit through a hole, an octopus can squeeze its whole body through that opening.
• Seahorse babies hatch from a pouch in the father’s belly.
• The Aquarium has a craft and play centre for children.
• Clownfish act as security guards for their host anemones, by chasing away the butterflyfish and any other fish which attempt to feed on the anemones.
365 days per year
Weekdays - 09:30 to 18:00
Weekends - 09:00 to 18:00
Ticket Office Price Online Price (10% Discount)
Adults R165 R149
Children 14-17 R120 R108
Children 4-13 R80 R72
Children under 4 Free Free
South African Pensioners R120 R108
South African Students R120 R108
Online tickets are non-refundable, valid for three months after date of purchase, but may only be used once.
ANIMAL FEEDING TIMES
I&J Ocean Exhibit – Daily 12:00 and 14:00
Penguin Exhibit – Daily 11:30 and 14:30
Predator Exhibit – Sundays 15:00
(General Aquarium Entrance Fee Included)
Adults Children 8-17
PENGUIN ENCOUNTERS R495 R425
OCEAN EXPERIENCE R492 R425
Aquarium Gear Own Gear
SCUBA DIVING - MEMBERS R870 R660
SCUBA DIVING - NON-MEMBERS R655 R495
(For children 3-9 years old)
I&J Children’s Play Centre – 10:30, 13:30, 15:30 – play room for keeping them occupied in between puppet shows
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