One of our children’s favourite trips is going to the ‘Planet Ocean’ aquarium in Montpellier. Every year we try to go at least once, even now the children are older. Although we mainly go for the kids, I always really enjoy going as well. Marvelling at the wonders of the sea for a couple of hours always leaves me in a zen state of mind.
From the outside, Planet Ocean does not look very inspirational, but once inside you will become immersed in the amazing underwater world. Follow the marked path, and you will encounter different, beautifully designed environments and their inhabitants. On top of that, the aquarium is interactive. Every week, especially during French holidays, you can watch demonstrations, feedings and an immersive astronomy display on a domed ceiling. We started our visit in the Mediterranean waters. I never realised the variety of different fish and other aquatic species that live in this part of France!
Not only are the sea animals fascinating to watch, but there are also plenty of other things to do and experience. From the Mediterranean environment, the path led us on to a simulation of a boat in a serious storm. Then from there, we went 3,780 feet below sea level to enter the ‘Abyss Station’. This submarine simulator made us feel like real underwater investigators. At this depth, we encountered some bizarre-looking creatures. Coming out of the submarine, we met some- rather smelly- penguins, followed by a huge aquarium where we admired real sharks, stingrays and other greats.
After this little break watching the mesmerising water dance in the huge aquarium, we continued on our way. Time for another change of scenery, as we stepped into Oceania and the Southern Seas with its coral reef lagoon. Even in this tropical aquarium, we spotted sharks with their dorsal fins circling above the surface. The colourful fish can be admired from above as well as through a glass bubble that gives you the feeling of being part of this wonderful vivid undersea decor. And yes, we even spotted Nemo!
From the coral reef lagoon, we crossed a bridge that led us to the tropical rainforest and mangroves. The kids slid downstairs trough a tree slide, while I preferred taking the stairs. After admiring the dancing jellyfish in the Blue Planet section and a short visit out in space at the planetarium, we came to another fun part. Right before the exit is an open aquarium where we literally gave high fives to a couple of very friendly rays. It looked like they said: “See you next time!”