Dive deep into the various oceans of the world and gaze at more than 1,000 different ocean species in spectacular aquariums. The Océanopolis in Brest/ Brittany reveals the mysteries of the underwater world in three different pavilions and informs the visitors about its flora and fauna. Be drawn by sharks, penguins and much more and experience all that from up close!
The Polar Pavilion – A visit to the ice cold parts of the ocean
Arctic and Antarctica – these similar and yet equally exceptional ecosystems are to be witnessed in the Polar Pavilion. After the panorama movie “49 Degrees South” brings the Antarctica to life with astonishing pictures, you get to see Europe's largest penguin colony in the first aquarium. There are more than 40 different King-, Gentoo and Southern rockhopper penguins to be seen here. Furthermore, there is an area that was built after a fjord with seals swimming and diving in it, or just chilling on one of the ice floes. To the left, another aquarium shows the diversity of the polar oceans, with numerous anemones, starfishes and various sorts of fish swimming around in ice cold water. Meanwhile, there is a large exhibition informing the visitors about the polar ecosystems and the life under ice cold water. You will find life-size models of a walrus, elephant seals, polar bears and an albatross here. Be sure to also not miss the pavilion where the penguins and the harbor selas are fed!
The Tropical Pavilion – Discover the warmest seas of the world
The tropical belt stretches out on both sides of the equator. The aquariums of the tropical pavilion have a water temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius and are populated by sharks, corals, fish and invertebrates of many kind. There are more than 700 different species to be seen in this pavilion only. Meanwhile, the view of the shark-tank should be especially thrilling. There are six different sorts of sharks as well as a couple of rays to be astonished here. Moreover, discover colorful corals in the riff, whilst watching unique species of fish in the neighbored aquarium that reconstructs the conditions of the Indian Ocean. The oppressive air and the brutal heat of the so called Mangroves makes the visitors sweat and marvel. Rare sorts of plants that live within the saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics can be found here. Next to the Mangroves, the surroundings of a Caribbean forest, the Amazon rain forest and the Red Sea are rebuilt in the Tropical Pavilion.
Between the extremes - the Moderate Pavilion
Discover the interesting flora and fauna along the coastlines of Brittany in the Moderate Pavilion. This set of aquariums gives you an insight on regional phenomenons such as the tides and subterranean ocean currents in the sea by Brittany. There is a scientific underwater base that provides explanations on these phenomenons and illustrates them with examples for a better understanding. Very unique for an aquarium like this is the so called Abyssbox, a tank under enormous water pressure. You can look at animals here that usually are home in the deepest part of the ocean, starting at 1,800 meters underneath the water surface. Furthermore, the Kelp forests of Brittany are underwater areas with a high density of kelp and the largest of the kind in the whole of France. Kelp forests are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth. The gigantic algae serve as a breeding ground and spot for supplies or even disguise. In Southern Brittany there are Intertidal zones about 100 meters underneath the water surface. These areas are home to the crayfish, which you can find in the different caves which they have created in the ocean ground. Furthermore, there are seaweed herbariums placed within the Moderate Pavilion, where luminous jelly fish float around. A special highlight is the so called “Touch Pool”. You get to touch starfish, sea urchins and calms here, or even take a look at the smallest organisms of the ocean under the provided microscopes of the Océanopolis.
Exhibitions within the Océanopolis
There is a sea museum next to the different pavilions, where you can get to know more information about the world of the oceans in rotation exhibitions that are especially children friendly. The museum presents facts about the sea in an interactive manner and informs the visitors about the maritime ecosystems.
Practical tips for your visit
Plan in about three hours to visit all three pavilions (Polar, Tropical and Moderate). There is a restaurant within the Océanopolis where you can take a break whenever you please. Furthermore, this location was built to fit the needs of the disabled.
The Océanopolis first opened in the year 1990, when it consisted only of the Moderate Pavilion. Because of the gigantic success, the other pavilions that we see today were added and the museum reopened after reconstruction works in the year 2000. With over 450,000 visitors per year the Océanopolis counts to be one of the most visited attractions in the western Brittany as of today.
How to get there
The Océanopolis is located on the edge of the Brest Bay. The distance from Morlaix to Brest are about 60 kilometers. Follow the E50 in the direction of Brest and turn onto the N265 to Kervao/ Nantes/ Quimper shorty after. Exit the street on the second roundabout and take the Rue de la Fraternité as well as the Rue du Rody to the port.
The city Quimper is about 70 kilometers from the Océanopolis. Take the E60 to Brest from there before turning onto the Rue de la Gare which leads your way directly to the aquariums. For all visitors of the Océanopolis there are many parking slots available in front of the entry.
With public transportation
Meanwhile, you may take the bus to the Océanopolis. Therefore, either get into line 3 or 15 which stop within a short distance to the attraction.