Cattolica Aquarium: amusement park
Unique, as its setting, Cattolica Aquarium is located in the area of “Parco le Navi” formerly hosting the 1930 summer camp complex, whose name, signifing “The Ships”, derives from its resemblance a bold war fleet. This daring architectural project was erected to welcome the children whose parents were away in the colonies during the Italian Dictatorship period.
The main routes, Geopolis and Acquapolis, lead visitors along 70 exhibition tanks show over 3000 specimen of 400 species coming from the seas and oceans of the world. Through astounding submarine scenarios, a deeper knowledge of the sea and its relation to man is encouraged.
Visitors are not mere by-standers, on the contrary their attention is constantly called for, either by the spectacular underwater views or by animation and special effects, like the interesting 3-D movie about the marine food chain, or the control room where it is possible to peep “behind the scenes”. Interaction is widely supported: either the chance of a face to face encounter with the last living fossils, or the opportunity to caress the velvety rays in the touchpool add excitement to the visit. Sharks are the principal attraction of the Aquarium: over 50 specimen of 13 different species: ranging from the small Mediterranean varieties to the huge Sand-Tiger Sharks from South Africa, which can even reach the length of 4 meters. The shark’s tank is filled up with over 700.000 liters of sea water and is populated with 12 sharks and a multitude of pelagic fishes. The adventurous ones may be glad to know that diving among the sharks is possible at Cattolica Aquarium: protected by a steel cage and a self sufficient air system, visitors may be lowered in the tank and enjoy an unforgettable “Face-to-face” encounter with sharks, on a European exclusive basis.
In 2006 Cattolica Aquarium introduces: “CONQUEST AT SEA”: an extraordinary multisensorial experience through the adventurous voyages of man in the quest for new lands. Scenes, interactivity and cutting-edge audio and lighting technology add up drama to a virtual journey between history and legend, where 26 reproductions of vessels are on show and the ingenuous inventions and device of man to enable navigation can be seen, touched and tried. The history of navigation and piracy is told starting from the ancient Phoenicians to Capitain James Cook, via the threatening Pirates of the Caribbeans. A a close encounter with Christofer Columbus who entertains the public about the Discovery of America from his “animatronic” point of view. A treasure hunt and several interactivity situation, including a battle against pirates with real cannons, make “Conquest at Sea” a funny and educational experience at the same time.
Clever learning, or “edutainment” also lie at the basis of “Sounds from the sea”, yet another interactive section where by treading on platforms and acting on pushbuttons and levers, visitors can reproduce the sounds fishes produce in the depths of the sea: an interesting way to abolish the popular phrase “mute as a fish”.
Last but not least, “Poisons” is a thematic section where a live show of deadly tarantulas, poisonous plants and lethal reptiles, including a rare albino cobra, add a “creepy” touch to an unforgettable day at Cattolica Aquarium.