Phuket Aquarium - Great for the kids
May 2007... You know, I've lost count of how many times we have been to Phuket Aquarium with the kids. We first went years ago before our daughter was a year old, and we've been back again and again. It's cheap to get in, I love looking at fish, we like the Cape Panwa area, it's airconditioned, so is good for hot days OR rainy days and it never seems too crowded.
The aquarium was already on this blog back in 2006 but now they have a new section - an outdoor "nature trail" with a path along the shore for a couple of hundred metres, a turtle breeding centre and a "marine endangered species unit" which we still need to check out (Saturday was too hot and my son was in need of rest).
Indoors are countless species, mostly in small display tanks, though there is the "tunnel" - not a huge tunnel, but you do have water all around and fish overhead. The big tank has a couple of larger species like leopard shark, eagle ray and some pelagics like trevallies dashing around. You can spend an hour indoors, though if you have kids they will charge around rather like the trevallies from tank to tank - "ooh! look at this one", "wow, look at that", and as dad the diver (me) tries to explain the hunting habits of the lionfish, they find Nemo or an electric eel or a "what's that daddy?"...
At the exit is a souvenir shop that should please all tourists. Nothing in there that really takes my fancy. But it is airconditioned, so worth browsing a few minutes on a hot day! A small shop sells drinks and snacks, but there is no restaurant. Next to the shop, steps lead down to the nature trail and you walk past the water filters and pumps for the tanks along the rather nice shoreline.
Along the shore are some interesting signs explaining about plants and birds and giving environmental advice...
A little way along is a little marine research boat which is now beached. The kids enjoyed "taking the wheel", and we sat there in the shade for a few minutes looking at the view and pretending to be sailors. Just after the boat are some open water pools where we found baby turtles. The marine biological center has a turtle breeding program. The baby turtles were obviously used to seeing people and rushed across to see us - sorry, we don't have any food...
And a little farther you find a pool containing adult turtles of several different species - the photo below shows 2 hawksbill turtles. At the shallow end is an artificial beach no more than about 15 meters square - we could see the marks on the sand made by turtle flippers.
The path does not end at the turtles. You can also see the endangered species unit, but we'll have to see that next time, as it was a hot day and we dashed back to the shop for drinks. We'll be back again sometime soon!
Updated - for more information and photos, look at this newer, updated post:
• Phuket Aquarium updated 2012
Also around Cape Panwa:
• Khao Kad Viewpoint
• Cape Panwa Hotel
• Panwa Beach Resort
• The Beach Bar
Phuket Aquarium - Location Map
View Phuket Aquarium in a larger map