Aqua Terra Zoo, which is located in Vienna, has more than 3500 aquatic species, all contained within more than 6000 square meters. The edifice which houses the exhibition of live animals is actually a WWII bunker designed as a protective measure against air attacks.
The reason for which this type of construction is still standing is that its demolition would have cost an impressive amount of money. These bunkers have been especially created so as to resist direct shelling so using explosives, as it is usually done when demolishing a building, would not have worked, especially not without causing damages to the surrounding edifices.
The exhibition is opened for visitation on a daily basis and tourists have to opportunity to gaze on an extensive variety of animals.
Among the species encountered at the reservation, people can admire crocodiles, poisonous snakes and boa constrictors. In the exhibition dedicated to the tropical seawater segment, one will find sharks, sea turtles, piranhas, as well as various types of fishes which impress the viewer through their wonderful coloration.
But the Aqua Terra Zoo is divided into several sections, each designated to specific types of animal or bird species. The newest addition to the zoo, which has contributed extensively to the wave of tourists that have crossed the threshold of the Haus des Meeres, is a tropical house where birds and monkeys are left to explore the immese surface at will.
The exhibitions within the zoo are organized based on the region from where the animals are brought. For instance, there is a section dedicated to the species encountered in the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, visitors will find everything from sea anemona to crabs, from starfish and shells to various types of fishes.
The Aqua Terra Zoo came into being in the second half of the 20th century. In 1957, the Society for Marine Biology was formed with the purpose of creating a House of the Sea. This institution was meant to shelter various life-forms which usually dwell in salt waters, but also to function as a research center where everything connected to the marine life was under exploration.
This was the first step to be taken for the development of an elaborate aquarium. In 1965, the first level of the edifice had already been accordingly arranged so as to house the first species brought at this reservation. Initially, 40 aquariums were brought in, but these increased in number as the zoo began to expand.
The institution was not a success from the beginning in the sense that the administration made considerable efforts in order to ensure the survival of the organization. This however changed under director Erich Brenner who had undertaken a massive project, that of expanding and modernizing the reservation.
The section containing the tropical marine fauna is a focal point of the institution, bringing in tourists by the hundreds. The reason for which this specific segment is so appreciated is that it comprises an explosion of colors and shapes, not to mention the peculiar swimming methods used by different types of fish. These elements are all meant to diferentiate between the life forms encountered in this section of the reservation. So, if the dissimilarity is so striking, what is it that brings all of them “under the same roof”? The answer is obvious: their habitat – the coral reefs.
The Aqua Terra Zoo is one of the favourite places of destination for tourists as it combines the educational with the recreational. Not to mention that it provides insight into the wonders of the sea world.
Adults: 13.50 euros;
Children aged 3 to 5: 4.20 euros;
Children aged 6 to 15: 6.20 euros;
The elderly, students and the disabled: 10.40 euros.