Oman Aquarium has opened in the country's capital of Muscat, becoming the largest aquarium in the Middle East, stretching across an area of 8,000sq m (86,111sq ft), reports Attractions Management.
Located in the Mall of Muscat, a 200,000sq m (2.2m sq ft) shopping centre, the aquarium was built by the Al Jarwani Group and will eventually be home to 30,000 species of marine animals.
With a focus on marine conservation, education and enriched visitor entertainment experiences, the new aquarium is one of many diversification projects in the Middle East, with governments spending big on leisure and tourism in the region recently, such as Qatar's new National Museum and its first planetarium.
"Spread over 8,000sq m of the total Mall of Muscat area, Oman Aquarium will be home to 30,000 species of marine animals," said Lee Northmore, director of retail and mall operations at Mall of Muscat.
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To begin with, there will be 12,000 species including 200 varieties from the seas near Oman.
In the seas of Oman, there are thousands of local species and we want to focus on them."The project, based on Omani sailor Ahmad bin Majid's Voyage of Discovery, will have sharks, octopus, turtles, and penguins on display.
"A lot of passion that has gone into this project and it is based on a very local Omani story. This is a live ecosystem which will be developed over a period of time."