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The Underwater Observatory, with the Coral 2000 glass-bottom boat
|No. of animals||20,000 (Not including the wild aquatic animals that can be seen from the observatory, and hatchlings, considering most aquatic species are capable of laying hundreds of eggs)|
|No. of species||850 (Not including the wild aquatic animals that can be seen from the observatory)|
|Volume of largest tank||3,000,000 l (790,000 US gal)|
|Memberships||Coral world international|
|Major exhibits||Underwater observatory, Shark World, Rare Fish exhibit, Coral 2000, Amazon Hut, Red sea circular exhibit, Sea turtle exhibit|
Eilat's Coral World Underwater Observatory is a public aquarium, park and conservation center located in Eilat, Israel. It is the biggest public aquarium in Israel, and it hosts over 800 species. It was founded in 1974 and was the first of its kind. The park and aquarium is located to the south of Eilat's Coral Beach nature reserve.
- 1 History
- 2 Exhibits
- 3 Additional attractions and activities
- 4 External links
The park was founded in 1974 by the zoologist and marine biologist David Friedman. The idea of the observatory was planned in 1972, it took careful planning to create the observatory without harming the natural environment. The observatory was built completely on land, which was then flooded with water from the Red Sea using armory parts and other metals. The base of the observatory was connected to large iron chains, and after the observatory was placed many corals were planted on and around the observatory in order to repair the damage that was done during the making of the observatory. The coral reef around the observatory flourished and became a major feeding spot for many fish and other marine wildlife, both carnivorous and herbivore.
The entrance aquarium is a medium cubic aquarium in the entrance square of the park. It features several species such as corals, butterflyfishes, crabs, and more. The aquarium (as well as in all the other exhibits at the park) is connected directly to Red Sea, and so the water is pumped and replaced constantly with Red Sea water, and so fully natural conditions are kept within the aquarium.
Red Sea circular exhibit
The Red Sea Circular Exhibit is a 360 degrees exhibit in which the visitors stand in the middle and are surrounded by 360,000 litres of water featuring a complete natural ecosystem. The exhibit features corals, herbivore fish, carnivorous fish, parasites, crabs, shrimps and more, all living in one functioning ecosystem. All the animals are fed daily thus ensuring they don't harm each other. The Circular exhibit is used for research about the unique ecosystem of coral reefs. The water in the circular exhibit are pumped from 42 meters deep in the Red Sea and are circulated 24/7.
Parrotfish at the Circular exhibit
Turtle and stingray pools
The Turtle and Stingray pools are three shallow (3.5 meter deep) pools, which exhibit hawksbill sea turtle, green sea turtles, and spotted eagle rays. In the middle of one of the pools there's a small sand island for female turtles to lay their eggs on. When the eggs hatch, the baby sea turtles are taken into a small aquarium, where they are safe from predators and where they get food and vaccinations. When they grow they are transferred to bigger aquarium, and finally when they are two year old with very high chance to survive in the wild they are released into the ocean. The Underwater Observatory's turtle conservation program is one of the leading programs in the field and so far has released hundreds of turtles back to nature.
Female Green sea turtle in the turtle pool
Rare fish exhibit
The Rare Fish Exhibit is a large exhibit separated into three rooms which exhibits rare fauna and flora of the red sea in medium sized aquariums. The first two rooms feature animals such as lionfishes, Red Sea clownfish, star fish, rare corals, moray eels, lobsters, sea horses and more. In the exhibit there is a total of 250 species, featured in 35 medium aquariums. Some of the animals in the exhibit are endemic to the Red Sea, and are in the observatory park for means of breeding and conservation. The sea horse conservation program is a success, and since 2002 thousands sea horses has been released into the Red Sea. Despite the animals the aquariums are designed to mimic the animals' natural habitat and thus educate visitors about different marine biomes and habitats.
The third room of the exhibit is the nocturnal room. The nocturnal room features various nocturnal animals such as flashlight fish, squids, jellyfishes, crabs and more. The exhibit also features active and awake corals - as corals are nocturnal animals. Most of the animals in the exhibit are capable of bioluminescence.
Sea goldies at the rare species exhibit
common lionfish at the rare species exhibit
Red Sea clownfish at the rare species exhibit
Seahorses at the rare species exhibit
The Amazon Hut is a rainforest theme exhibit featuring both aquatic and land-based wildlife from South America, such as caimans, electric eels, piranhas, arowanas, dart frogs, lizards, tarantulas, and more. It is used to explain fresh water ecosystems, and the importance of rainforests.
The "Shark World" exhibit is a huge exhibit containing 3,000,000 l (790,000 US gal) of water, and featuring 20 shark species, rays and corals. The exhibit has a huge viewing window, an underwater tunnel and an interactive explanations area with educational stations about the importance of sharks and the threats that make sharks endangered.
Whitetip reef sharks at the shark exhibit
Real life size statue of a Whale shark at the interactive explanation area.
The underwater observatory
Additional attractions and activities
The Oceanarium is a 4D movie documenting the life of sharks in the wild, and in particular, the rare Whale Shark.
Opening pearl oysters
In addition to the animal exhibits, educational stations and daily activities, the park hosts several shops including two for jewelry, one for photography, a diving shop and a gift shop. There are also three food kiosks, a coffee house and a "Shark Bay" restaurant on site.
- Official website
- Media related to Underwater Observatory, Eilat at Wikimedia Commons
- Media related to Underwater Observatory Marine Park at Wikimedia Commons
- Eilat Marine Park on zooinstitutes.com