Fun for the Family at the Largest Aquarium in Europe Acquario di Genova

You might be surprised to hear that the Acquario di Genova is one of the most famous attractions in Italy, with more than 1,200,000 million people visiting the aquarium each year. Placing the aquarium among the ranks of other famous Italian attractions such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum. Actually, it doesn’t come as a surprise, although the front-exterior might not give it away, once inside the place is magical and entertaining for all ages.

review of acquario di genova porto antico
The Acquario di Genova. Porto Antico. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

If you decide to visit the aquarium then it’s important to arrive early and make room to watch the feeding of the dolphins, which is scheduled at 12am and 2.15pm daily. It’s entertaining to watch the interaction between the animals and trainers during feeding time. Expect to spend a lot of hours at the Aquarium because place is huge and 2 hours would be a quick trip through the exhibition.

interactive exhibition of large fish in genoa
The interactive exhibition in the Acquario di Genova. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

Acquario di Genova opened in 1992

Since the opening of Acquario di Genova in 1992 there has been a lot of advances in the tanks and improvements in the experience of visiting the aquarium. Once inside the aquarium you will notice that the information on the tanks is provided in both a classic and interactive way. There is a good equilibrium of providing information and keeping the aquarium entertaining while at the same time safeguarding the aquatic fauna.

We were blown away by how every tanks allowed you to get close to the fish and how curious the fish were with its audience. Manatees are known to be the shyest “cow like” creatures of the sea, however during our visit we were able to look at them in up close!

manatees and fish swimming inside the tank
The gentle giants of the Sea. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

We noticed some other fish were living in the tank as well which looked like “lunch” for the sharks, however the sharks only eat a few small meals per day and the other fish in the tank are its neighbors.

sharks at the acquario di genova
Shark Tale! Photo by Bruno Zhang.

We tried to take some photos of us at the penguin tank with our mobile phones (without flash) but the back light made it very difficult. If you are lucky and have a good camera with you then you will certainly have the pleasure of photographing these photogenic creatures.

penguins inside the tank at the acquario di genova
Penguin Models. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

We arrived at the Dolphin tanks right at the beginning of the demonstration. This was all in Italian, but easy to understand what they were doing. If you have never heard a Dolphin speak before then prepare to be amazed. The balcony windows open up and you will feel as if you are directly in the middle of the performance.

dolphin show aquarium genoa europe
The Dolphin Show at the Acquario di Genova. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

Dolphin trainers in action at the Aquarium of Genoa

This is really the main spectacle of the Aquarium. Watching the dolphin trainers “Acquariologia” with the dolphins in the center of the building all while enjoying an amazing view on the city of Genoa. This new Pavilion hosts up to 10 bottlenose dolphins. The Cetaceans’ Pavilion is a really unique part of the structure, both in terms of engineering and in the aspects of the well-being and caring for the animals.

view of genoa with dolphins at the aquarium
View of Genova and Dolphins. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

After the lovely dolphins you will find the cafe/restaurant and a deck in which you can enjoy the view of Genoa all while having a cafe. We spent about an hour here enjoying the sun and there is plenty of room for everyone.

Frogs! Photo by Bruno Zhang.

There is quite a big section with flatfish and reptiles. You will find plenty of frogs, tortoises and salamanders in a cool and dark environment which compliments the experience.

frogs acquario di genova
View from the top of the Aquarium. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

Another impressive part of the trip was that we were able to see the animals from the top of the tank by walking over carefully laid out bridges.

view from the top of aquarium tanks
Perfectly still crocodile. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

We even managed to find a completely motionless crocodile in one of the tanks.

keeping a crocodile in a tank with fish
Coral. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

One of the last sections of the aquarium are the Jellyfish and various types of Coral. You will find some fun facts here explained by the likes of Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick.

amazing coral at the acquario di genova
Jellyfish bathing in light. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

All the tanks are illuminated in such a way that one can truly appreciate the beauty of the Jellyfish.

jellyfish acquario-di-genova
More jellyfish bathing in light. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

One of the last exhibits is the nursery in which we saw the dolphin calf “Goccia” and her mom “Naù”.

more jellyfish at the aquarium in genoa
Family of dolphins. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

Nemo was well represented in the gift shop.

gift shop acquario-di-genova
Nemo in the gift shop. Photo by Bruno Zhang.
nemo and other gifts at the aquarium in genoa
More cute gifts. Photo by Bruno Zhang.

Night with the Sharks

Is an event scheduled once a month at the aquarium. Its an experience in which kids spend a night at the aquarium and learn about the nocturnal behavior of these magnificent animals. For more information visit Night with the Sharks.

Other things to do with the family in Genoa

The city of Genoa has plenty of other great experiences to see such as the Galata Museo del Mare with the submarine Nazario Sauro, the Biosfera and the Bigo panoramic lift. We ended up staying over four hours at the Acquario di Genova, so we will have to come back to the city again sometime to enjoy the other attractions!

Acquario di Genova

For further information about Acquario di Genova, please visit

Area Porto Antico, Ponte Spinola 2, 16128 Genova, Italy

Written by Alexander de Jong

I've always loved travelling abroad, finding new experiences and enjoying conversations with strangers, perhaps making a few friends on the way. Putting these experiences online for other people to read is my way of sharing. I enjoy film, travel and web development!

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