17 April 2012

Beneath the Water - Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

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Shanghai Ocean Aquarium SOA for short, comprising a built up area of 20,500 sq meters opened in 2002 to rave reviews and receives a million visitors a year since opening day. Situated in Lujiazui next to the famous Oriental Pearl Tower, SOA houses more than 450 aquatic species from five continents and four oceans. Visitors are introduced to the exhibits in 9 thematic zones that simulate the aquatic home environments of the various species and bringing forth the uniqueness of each region.

An underwater exhibit of Yangtze River eco systems takes pride of place as this is the first time that aquatic animals from China are being showcased separately. As the first of several journeys through some of the word’s arterial waterways, visitors are introduced to Chinese sturgeon, Chinese sucker fish, the Yangtze alligator and the Chinese giant salamander among others in their natural habitats. The journey moves on to South America’s flooded forests of the Amazon and to a very different collection of freshwater aquatic species endemic to this river system such as the electric eel, South American lung fish and the Arapaima. Australia’s mangroves and billabongs provide another interesting part of the journey with exhibits of unique freshwater fish found nowhere else on earth such as barramundi, freshwater saw fish, archer fish and rainbow fish. On to Africa’s rivers full of ancient life forms lurking in their depths. The Cichlid and the feather fin catfish are some of the aquatic species that have evolved over centuries in its lakes and rivers. The journey through tropical river systems ends with exhibits of the green Chinese water dragon generally found in trees on the edge of rivers, the giant gourami and the walking cat fish found in many South East Asian rivers running through dense rainforests.

Leaving the river systems and freshwater aquatic species behind, visitors are transported all the way to the Antarctic Ocean and to the dark depths of the sea in the cold water and polar zones of the SOA to see the unique display of spotted seals and to travel on one of the world’s longest ‘travelators’ through underwater viewing tunnels to enjoy really close views of several large marine species such as sand tiger sharks, eagle rays, tawny nurse sharks and the giant grouper. The sea and shore display introduces visitors to marine life in the proximity of beaches. See horse shoe crabs that have been on earth for millions of years scuttle away along the sand, the giant Japanese spider crabs the largest of the crustaceans, weedy sea dragons fierce only in name and many species of sea horses.

This modern facility aims to educate and inform and address issues relating to improving the conditions of the earth’s oceans and river systems. The stunning exhibits and interactive programs bring home to viewers the importance of environment conservation and management.

In an iconic location right on the Bund, The Peninsula Shanghai does what it does bests, deliver luxurious comfort to the entire satisfaction of its many discerning guests. From the selection of spacious comfortable rooms and suites equipped with the latest in room technology and amenities targeting the comfort and convenience of guests to the selection of superb food and beverage and leisure options this Shanghai hotel is definitely one of the best places to stay to capture the essence of the city’s unique atmosphere and history. Featuring some of the most happening bars Shanghai, the hotel is known as one of the most ideal places for drinks and European cuisine in the city.