A Visit to CretAquarium
Biologists have explored, documented, and researched marine life more intensely than any other ecosystem. Is it the thrill of the unknown, the vastness of the oceans, or the diversity of marine species that make marine science such an appealing field of interest? Whatever the reasons, two things are certain: much of sea life is still unexplored and mysteries attract both the young and the old.
So many people are fascinated by the living creatures that exist under sea. Greece offers the chance to view the lives of more than 2,000 marine organisms and rare species thanks to the CretAquarium in Heraklion, Crete. The largest of its kind in Greece and operating under the auspices of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), CretAquarium has managed to represent the Mediterranean marine ecosystem in one facility.
The CretAquarium’s 60 tanks are home to 2,000 sea creatures, 200 of which are diverse species of the Mediterranean. Others are immigrant species from tropical water ecosystems, sharks, loggerhead sea turtles, echinoderms, and so many more! Thanks to the well-organized infrastructure of the aquarium, visitors have the chance to take a tour of all the tanks and visually explore marine creatures in their natural ecosystem. To enrich their experience, visitors can opt for an audio tour or a guided tour by a trained personal guide.
Younger visitors have an extra privilege: a unique one-hour tour specially designed to serve the needs of “small explorers.” Organized groups of children gain knowledge about sea life underwater through this fun and adventurous learning experience.
Besides being specially guided around the aquarium, young visitors have the opportunity to participate in educational programs tailored by age and school level. Children aged from 4 to 14 years old can explore the underwater world through a variety of activities. They are invited to learn about sea life by performing experiments and creating their own marine creatures made of paper, clay, and other materials.
One educational program in particular teaches children about the diverse ecosystems, their traits, and the similarities and differences among them. Children also learn about the various forms of life among us. This enhances their understanding about the world and about their place within it. In all, there are eight specially designed programs that cater to different age groups and learning styles.
CretAquarium was creatively and carefully designed to provide a unique learning experience for both young and adult visitors. The fact that the aquarium has a specially-tailored tour for those far from the aquarium facilities, the free of charge e-tour, is worth mentioning as well! This online tour of the aquarium is available upon request to organized groups, schools, and institutions. Those who participate get to experience the exhibits as if they were present at the CretAquarium. They also have the chance to interact with a trained guide.
The CretAquarium succeeds in offering a wealth of knowledge, opportunities for education, and so many unique experiences. Inviting the public to learn more about a world that often goes unseen, the CretAquarium is helping visitors, to the museum and online, gain a clearer perception about humanity’s identity and place in the world! n
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