What lies behind the scenes of the aquarium of Genoa? End of October, I started a journey I was dreaming of, behind the scenes of the Genoa Aquarium, to discover the hard work that lies behind the pools and basins that enchant and relax its visitors, to understand the whys and hows of such a large building, sometimes controversial, but always fascinating.
With its 27,000 square meters, the Genoa Aquarium occupies the central part of the Ancient Port, the heart of the historical center of Genoa. It offers a choice between 15,000 fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
A building that is a whole world, employing hundreds of specialized operators, veterinarians, and marine biologists, getting daily deliveries of several tons of fresh vegetables for the manatees but also slaughtered fish, mollusks, and crustaceans like those we eat at the restaurant and then vitamins and other supplements necessary for the maintenance of this weird and beautiful population.
My day at the Genoa Aquarium
During my wonderful journey to discover the Genoa Aquarium, I met people who love their job and the animals they’re taking care of day after day. I realized that without their professionalism, we wouldn’t know and understand the underwater world so well and that the effort of raising awareness during the recent decades would have been much less effective … yeah, I’m an animal lover. I somehow had some ethical/moral doubts, and this experience was essential for me.
For example, thanks to Alessandro, I realized how wrong our preconceptions about sharks are, preconceptions that developed because of the great media prominence received by isolated attacks over the years, especially after the movie… In fact, the species of sharks are around 500. Only four of these are potentially dangerous to humans if provoked … moreover, compared to the other inhabitants of the aquarium of Genoa, sharks eat very little!
Claudia and Rosita made me discover the colorful guests of the tropical forest and the ocean. They told me the story of the unfortunate and greedy Helix, a turtle convalescing at the Aquarium of Genoa for the second time in a few years … hopefully, next time she will be released into the sea, she’ll crush with no boat! Meanwhile, she is very much admired by all the kids visiting this pool 🙂
Carla, Simone, and Maurizio made me fall in love with the exuberant and curious baby seal Baffo (i.e., Mustache) and his friends, the little Aldo, Giovanni, and Giacomo, three penguins in full weaning whose sex is actually still uncertain … and then Tino and his parents, a tender little family of manatees, which between a caress and another eat, eat, eat again and again. Impressive and very sweet! However, I’ll be telling you about these encounters in a future article.
I obviously spent some time even with the undisputed stars of the aquarium of Genoa, the dolphins. Erica, one of their instructors and nurses, and Guido, the researcher in charge of the Metropolitan Dolphins in the Cetacean Sanctuary between Tuscany, Liguria and Corsica, let me learn a bit more about this so special mammal, answering curiosity about their lifestyle in both pools and at sea. This subject too deserves a dedicated post.
While waiting for my next posts, you can, of course, go and visit the Genoa Aquarium by yourself. It’s always open and offers some exciting extra options, such as having a marine biologist at your disposal throughout the whole route or just in the area you prefer among marine Mammals, Mediterranean Sea, Tropical Seas, and dangerous animals. Another excellent option is the visit behind the scenes, bookable once inside at the dedicated desk in the “Deep venue.”
For detailed information on schedules, fares, and extra experiences like those I just mentioned, I invite you to visit the official website of Genoa Aquarium.
The visit usually lasts about three hours, or, if you feel like, you can also spend the whole day walking from one area to another or simply crouching on the floor in front of the pool you prefer.
If you have time, you should also visit the Galata Museo del Mare, including galleys, brings, and the impressive (and to me quite stressful) submarine Nazario Sauro. A very special part of the Sea Museum is the one on the last floor, dedicated to the Italian emigrants’ history <3