Oceanographic Museum is probably one of the oldest but also the most popular aquarium attraction in Monaco. Located on the side of the Old Town Le Rocher, Oceanographic Museum's Baroque castle-style facade facing the direct ocean is simply stunning and dreamy. Known as “The Temple of the Sea”, Monaco's Oceanographic Museum is a habitat for more than 200 families of invertebrates and four thousand fish species.
Works of Art, Science and Nature's Wonder in Oceanographic Museum
Oceanographic Museum's History
Prince Albert I of Monaco was always attracted to the oceans and had been spending large part of his life to study them. In early 20th Century, sources to study Oceanography was scarce, but Prince Albert was determined to promote the knowledge so he established the Institute of Oceanography in 1906. The foundation would later formed two important Oceanographics: The Maison des Oceans located in Paris and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Prince Albert I's wish was to bring together art and science, the two driving forces of human civiliization. To keep his wish alive, the museum also host numerous art exhibitions showcasing various masterpieces from renowned artists such as Huang Yong Ping, Marc Quinn, and Phillipe Pasqua. So many things to see in the Oceanographic Museum, some people might find it a bit overwhelming. But you can prevent it as long as you know where you'd like to go first.
Oceanographic Museum's Aquariums
The most popular and also the first attraction you'll bump into the moment you entered the Oceanographic Museum is the aquariums. The aquarium is located at the left side after the main entrance and are divided into three categories. The Shark Lagoon where visitors will be fascinated with different kind of majestic sharks, rays, and other large ocean fishes and sea turtles swimming gracefully in the lagoon. The second exhibit is the Mediterranean Area, house for more than 200 invertebrates and other sea life living in the depth of Mediterranean Sea. The Tropical Zone boast hundreds of colorful tropical fishes and coral reefs including clownfishes and sea horses. Who knows, you might even spot a cute axolotl as well!
Oceanographic Museum's Nursing Room
Children absolutely spend their time in the Nursing Section where they can see how the small fishes are being tended to before they are big enough to explore the main aquariums. There are also some workshops where children have hands-on experience interacting with several sea animals. There's a dedicated lab for the activities, and you can find it nearby the Shark Lagoon Area. There's also an area in the left side of Prince Albert I's exhibition room, where visitors can stroke some baby sharks! It will bring a whole new experience for sure.
Prince Albert I's Room
Prince Albert I was a founder of Oceanographic Museum, so it is only obvious that he received an exhibition room to showcase his dedication. The first thing you'll notice is a statue of the founder. There are two separated rooms you can enter, and each boast different temporary exhibitions. On the first room you will find plethora of Prince Albert's amazing oceanography-related discoveries, the most noticeable one is a skeleton of a large whale hanging from the ceiling, such as old photographs, documents, ship models and many more.
One section inside Prince Albert's Room is Whale Hall, it is mostly famous for the hanging skeleton of large fin whale. There are also other skeletons from other smaller sea animals, such as killer whales and even the exotic narwhall fishes. The exhibition hall is also equipped with interactive touch screen pads that show how all the skeletons used to look like when they were alive. You will also get a very important lessons about different species of sharks and interesting facts that debunk the myth about sharks being the most vicious killer in the world. That fact alone might even blow your mind.
At the western wing of the museum is Tortoise Island, a small exhibit that house unique giant African desert tortoises. They were donated by the President of Mali to Prince Albert II in 2012 before Mali was engulfed in civil war. After they managed to escape the nasty war, the tortoises lives a peaceful life in Monaco. Visitors can even pet them, but only during certain times.
How to Get Tickets?
You can directly purchase the admission ticket from the ticket booth in Oceanographic Museum's entrance, or booking it online for more convenience. The prices will change depends on the season, so we highly recommend you to plan your visit carefully. Admission fee for adults is €11 or $12.74, €5 or $5.79 for children, €7 or $8.11 for teenagers and students in low season. The price will get slightly more expensive in standard and high season. You will have to pay €14 or $ 16.22 for adults, €7 or $8.11 for children, €10 or $11.58 for teenagers and students during standard session. In peak season, adults pay €16 or $18.54, €12 or $13.90 for both teenagers and students, and €8 or $2.97 for children. Admission fee for people with disabilities is unaffected by the seasons and stay in €7.
How To Get Around?
You can reach every attractions available inside the Oceanographic Museum on foot since the attractions are literally linked to each other.
What Should I Wear?
There's no dress code in particular to enter Oceanographic Museum, even a smart casual (remember, you are in Monte Carlo!) will suffice.
Best Time to Visit
Obviously the best time to visit Oceanographic Museum is in low season that falls in January the 7th to February the 9th. March 12th to March 30th, November the 5th and December the 10th are also considered as low season in the museum. The admission fees are much cheaper and there will be less crowds so you can enjoy the museum to the fullest.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, all informations you need about Oceanographic Museum can be found in this website.
How To Get There?
The most convenient way to reach Oceanographic Museum is by walking on foot since most public transportations are not allowed to enter Le Rocher. You can use a public lift that will takes you to the museum.