What can you do in a country with no coastline, in a city which has one of the most beautiful ZOOs in the world? That's easy: skip the ZOO and go to the aquarium. The center of Vienna is the home of the Haus des Meeres, i.e. The Sea House – a ten-storey aquarium with sharks.
Apart from London and Paris, Vienna is one of the most famous European capitals, a favorite tourist attraction, as well as a business center. The thing is that the Austrian capital offers an exceptionally pleasant atmosphere stemming from a combination of old-fashioned strait-lacedness and architectonic grandeur. Everything looks polished up, clean, opulent and decent. Despite this, you will never find the Viennese atmosphere tedious. I guess it’s because this is the only city in the world where you won’t feel cheated if you dish out 5 euros for a common Apple strudel and where you will seemingly admire the most desultory, yet famous cake in the world – the Sacher cake. When you’re in Vienna, you simply must act like the Viennese. That’s the Vienna etiquette.
If you go to Vienna, everyone will tell you that you have to visit the famous Schonbrunn Palace, the imperial Rococo residence which is the essence of all the above: strait-lacedness, grandeur, opulence, as well as – boredom. You will admire it, but only because you’ll it to be the decent thing to do. One of the world’s biggest ZOOs is located within the Schonbrunn Palace. It is huge. So huge that you will admire it too because you’ll find it to be the decent thing to do, but you’ll be wondering on the inside – where does it end?
This may sound like blasphemy, but – skip the boring Schonbrunn if you find yourself in Vienna. Skip the Sacher cake as well – you don’t need the overly dry and expensive calorie bomb, as even the McDonald’s brownie tastes better. Instead, spend some time at Vienna’s hidden gem, the aquarium in the very city center which is 10 stories high. It’s called the Haus des Meeres (meaning The Sea House) and even though it is smaller than the spectacular tanks in Lisbon and Copenhagen, let’s be honest, you will remember it as the most beautiful experience you had in the very run-down Vienna.
Haus des Meeres is located in the street exiting the famous Mariahilferstrasse, i.e. the very Vienna center. The ticket costs 15 euros for adults and you have to pay significantly cheaper for children. Apart from being an aquarium, it is also a terrarium (therefore an aqua terra ZOO) and the home of this guy.
Study the feeding time schedule for individual animals on the Haus des Meeres’ web site. I recommend observing the python strangling a rat and swallowing it whole. Quite a stunning scene.
The jelly-fish window – this is a rare sight at aquariums because jelly-fish are difficult to grow and their life-span is not that long.
Sharks are located on the top floor as the aquarium’s greatest attraction. They have a dirty look, but what do you care, you can always tease them while snacking on the Goldfish Snack Mix.
Steve Irwin, watch out!
This is a fantastic kids’ attraction – an air dome inside the aquarium which you can enter via a tunnel. This is what the kids talk about over and over again after visiting Vienna.
The seahorse is an exceptionally demanding creature regarding the sea temperature, purity, surrounding lighting, flora and a thousand other factors, thus the seahorse tank maintenance assembly is ten times bigger than the tank itself.
Various types of monkeys are free to hop all over the surrounding trees and roam among the visitors somewhere on the fifth floor, where there is a simulated jungle.
Nemo is just one of the endless amount of colorful fish we actually could recognize…
There is a terrace on top of the Haus des Meeres, providing a stunning view of entire Vienna. Much better than the view from the Giant Ferris Wheel at the Prater Park.