Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oceanarium & Vasco da Gama bridge

The Oceanarium in Lisbon is supposed to be Europe’s largest aquarium, and is a must do especially if you have children.. they will just love it!

Designed by American architect Peter Chermeyeff, the Oceanarium is a glass & steel modern structure that almost looks like that its rising from the river.

There is a central tank which is reputed to be the size of 4 Olympic size swimming pools! The space in the central tank is divided by transparent acrylic partitions with different sea life forms from diff environments inhabiting each partition. Since the partitions are transparent, it appears almost like different sea creatures from different sea environments are all sharing the same single space!

The penguins are just adorable! They are nice and fat and my son spent his entire roll of film clicking away!

Interesting titbit: The Osaka Oceanarium in Japan was built by the same architect who designed the Lisbon Oceanarium – Peter Chermayeff. Work speaks for itself!
There are a couple of restaurants / cafes downstairs where you can grab a snack and coffee...where we ordered a chicken sandwich which no one would eat, but that's another story!

There is a delightful red toy train running around the complex which is a great attraction for younger kids.

Also close by is another marvel of steel & glass - the Vasco da Gama Tower & bridge.

Vasco da Gama Bridge is 17km long (10km of which pass over water), making it the longest bridge in Europe when it opened in 1998 and still today one of the longest in the world. (It has the same length as the road-rail tunnel-bridge linking Denmark and Sweden).

Interesting titbits: The bridge's length forced engineers to factor in the curvature of the Earth during its construction. That makes it a superb feat of engineering, made up of several sections supported by pillars, built at a cost of one billion US dollars.
When you look back at Lisbon from the bridge, you realise that the bridge kind of divides the old Lisbon from the new! On one side are modern day structures of steel, glass and straight lines and the other side the quaint quarters of Alfama, the old city.

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