A trailblazer, Dubai is synonymous with record-breaking buildings, stunning architecture and pristine beaches.
Not surprisingly, Dubai also has some of the best aquariums in the world, with truly spectacular underwater displays. The aquariums you’ll find in Dubai are all outstanding, with a wide array of species and teeming with marine life. It is also a reflection of the city’s close affinity with the water.
The city’s location on the Arabian Gulf means that the sea and the maritime world are central to Dubai and indeed have played a large role in the development of the city.
The waters around Dubai and further afield in the UAE are home to many different species of marine life. The aquariums and marine life projects in Dubai and UAE are all committed to supporting the local ecosystem and the conservation of several endangered species.
Best Aquariums in Dubai
With several world-class aquariums to choose from in Dubai, let’s take a closer look at exactly what you can expect to experience at each:
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
Located inside Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (DUAZ) is one of the largest aquariums in the world. The mall area’s free display offers a fantastic tank view for anyone who enjoys the mall. However, it is when you venture into the aquarium through the tunnel, that the underwater world really unfolds.
There are numerous experiences, such as different animal encounters (penguins, otters, crocs, sharks), diving and snorkelling experiences, glass-bottomed boat ride and more, really allowing you to immerse yourself in this marine world.
DAUZ is known for its large collection of Sand Tiger Sharks, and the 10 million litres tank contains more than 140 different species, making this one of the top aquariums in the world.
Entrance to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
Entrance starts at 199 AED per adult and children over two years old. Different animal encounters are 100 AED per encounter in addition to the entry ticket.
Please note that children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult, and some animal encounters have a minimum height restriction of 140cm.
Visiting more than once? Annual Passes are 300 AED per child (2-12) and 400 AED per adult.
Tickets to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo can be booked here, or combine your ticket to DAUZ with a visit to the Burj Khalifa and save.
Opening hours For Dubai Mall and Aquarium
- Monday to Thursday, 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM
- Friday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to Midnight
Lost Chambers Aquarium
Another great aquarium is the Lost Chambers Aquarium, part of the Atlantis The Palm resort. It works particularly well, if combined with a visit to Aquaventure. You will find over 65,000 marine creatures in the Ambassador Lagoon, and you can learn about aquatic life through the 21 different exhibits.
Find out what it takes to look after the marine life in the Lost Chambers Aquarium by going behind-the-scenes with the Fish Tales Tour. There are also several snorkelling and diving experiences available.
What does it cost to visit the Lost Chambers Aquarium?
Entrance is 95 AED per child (aged 2-8), and 135 AED per adult.
The different snorkelling and diving experiences are priced separately but include the general entrance fee to the aquarium. It is worth noting that you get free entry to Lost Chambers if you are staying at the Atlantis as a guest.
Opening hours for the Lost Chambers Aquarium
- Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Atlantis Underwater Suites
For the ultimate underwater experience, you can stay in one of two underwater suites at Atlantis The Palm.
The Neptune and Poseidon suites both offer spectacular views of the Ambassador Lagoon and the Lost Chambers aquarium. Spread over three floors, each floor can be accessed by a private elevator or an internal staircase.
Make the most of the floor-to-ceiling aquatic view whilst soaking in the tub as sharks go by, and enjoy the 24-hour butler service catering to your every need for the most incredible romantic occasion or special event you could imagine.
Al Mahara at Burj Al Arab
If you would like to enjoy the view of the magnificent aquarium at a more leisurely pace, why not go for a special meal at L’Olivo at Al Mahara restaurant, Burj Al Arab? While watching the mesmerising aquatic life, diners can experience gourmet Mediterranean fare from Chef Andrea Migliaccio. His restaurant, L’Olivi, in Capri, currently holds two Michelin Stars.
Tables are available on Tuesday to Sunday between 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm. Reservation is essential, and children aged 8 years old and above are welcome.
For a different type of experience with marine animals, head to the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project at Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel.
Since 2004, the rehabilitation centre has rescued and cared for more than 1,600 turtles. While all the different species of migratory turtles can be cared for, it is particularly the Hawksbill turtle, native to the Arabian Gulf and critically endangered, that ends up at the sanctuary.
The outdoor turtle lagoon is free and open to the public all week. Every Wednesday at 11:00 AM, there is a feeding session, where you can learn lots of turtle facts – and the great part, it’s free to join. You can read more here.
More Aquariums in the UAE
The superb aquariums in the UAE don’t end in Dubai; let’s take a look around the other Emirates of the UAE for the best marine life experiences:
The National Aquarium
Currently, the largest aquarium in the Middle East, the National Aquarium opened in November 2021 in the newly developed waterfront area of Al Qana in Abu Dhabi. The aquarium is home to more than 46,000 marine animals and over 300 different species. Visitors can explore the attraction over the ten differently-themed zones.
Entrance to National Aquarium Abu Dhabi
There are three ticket options:
- General entrance is 105 AED per person (children under three are free of charge)
- Beyond the Glass is 130 AED – this includes a walk on the glass bridge; and
- Bu Tinah Dhow is 150 AED – includes a glass bottom boat tour
There are also several add-on options for animal encounters and diving experiences.
Please note all children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The Bu Tinah Dhow experience does not offer step-free access and may not be suitable for visitors with mobility restrictions.
Opening hours for the National Aquarium
- Monday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Sharjah Aquarium offers a fantastic deep dive (pun intended) into aquatic creatures with a specific focus on local marine life and coastal areas.
While it doesn’t quite have the scale and impact of the larger aquariums in the UAE, it does offer a truly educational experience. Spread out over two floors the aquarium houses 21 different tanks with over 150 species of marine life.
The aquarium is located a short walk from the beach in the Al Khan area.
Entrance to Sharjah Aquarium
Entrance is 25aed for adults, 15aed for children (2-12), free for children under two, seniors and people of determination.
Entrance to the Sharjah Maritime Museum next door is included in the price. Here, you can learn about the maritime history of Sharjah, focusing on fishing methods, pearl diving and trading.
Opening hours for both museums are:
- Saturday to Thursday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
- Friday 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Tickets cannot be booked in advance but must be purchased at the entrance. For more information, please visit the Sharjah Aquarium Website.
SeaWorld (Opening Soon)
Set to feature the largest aquarium in the region, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will offer much more than your traditional aquarium. It will be a fully immersive marine life theme park occupying over 180,000m2 throughout five floors with purpose-built habitats, ecosystems and visitor rides.
The marine life theme park will be complimented by the dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation and return centre, located next door. Under the collective heading of One Ocean, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will anchor its narrative around the relationships between life on Earth and the one ocean that connects us all.
- SeaWorld is due to open in 2023 and will be the newest offering on Yas Island in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Alternatives to Visiting an Aquarium in Dubai
Diving in Dubai & the UAE
As mentioned, several of the aquariums offer great snorkelling and diving experiences. There are options for both complete novices and those with existing experience.
Dubai has a selection of indoor and outdoor places to go scuba diving or get your PADI certifications. There are several exciting locations off the coast of Dubai for the more experienced divers.
Neighbouring Emirate Fujairah also has a number of great diving spots.
Wildlife in Dubai
If the aquariums or aquatic experiences aren’t for you, perhaps you prefer to enjoy the animal kingdom on land. Luckily there are plenty of opportunities to encounter both native wildlife and more exotic species in Dubai and the UAE at large.
See camels, oryx, and falcons in the desert, observe the pink flamingos in Ras Al Khor, head to the indoor tropics of Green Planet and spot a lemur, or come face to face with big game in Dubai Safari Park. Dubai has it all.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Go City Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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