Home to more than 450 species spread across nine different zones, from the deep ocean to China, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is one of Asia’s largest aquariums and the country’s best. Expect to see everything from jellyfish and sharks to Yangtze alligators, Humboldt penguins, and giant stingrays—as well as one of the world’s longest aquarium tunnels.
Set in the heart of town, opposite the Bund in Lujiazui, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is so easy to reach and navigate that most travelers visit independently. Families will want to note that tickets are priced by height; children under 3 feet 3 inches (1 meter) go free, children between 3 feet 3 inches and 4 feet 7 inches (1 to 1.4 meters) pay a reduced rate, and everyone taller than pays adult rates.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A must-do for families with younger children, the aquarium has enough unusual marine life to keep even solo adults entertained. Regions covered extend from the Amazon to the Antarctic.
- At 509 feet (155 meters) long, the submarine viewing tunnel at the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is one of the longest in the world.
- There’s more than just fish to the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium; aquatic ecosystems on display include mangroves and coral.
How to Get There
In a nation that can be hard to navigate, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is blissfully easy to reach. It’s across the river from the Bund in Lujiazui, next to the spaceship-style skyscraper known as the Oriental Pearl Tower. If you’re traveling by Shanghai’s efficient metro system, Lujiazui is on Line 2.
When to Get There
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is open from morning till early evening seven days a week, with the exception of China’s peak seasons when operating hours are extended. If possible, try to avoid visiting during these times, as crowds can swell to unpleasant levels. If you’re with kids, time your visit to one of the twice-daily feeding sessions for seals, penguins, and sharks.
China’s Weird and Wonderful Marine Life
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium created the world’s first exhibition devoted to weird and wonderful aquatic creatures from the Yangtze River. In addition to the enormous Chinese sturgeon, species here include the Yangtze alligator, the Chinese water dragon, and the giant salamander. Displays also highlight the ecology of the Yangtze river valley.