Questions Answers

Seaquarium Institut Marin, practical information…

  • Where is Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin is located in the Grau du Roi – Port-Camargue in the Petite Camargue on the Mediterranean coast in the Languedoc, in the South of the Gard department, in the Occitanie region.
    Seaquarium Institut Marin is on the left bank at Grau du Roi, in the direction of Port-Camargue.
  • What is the closest motorway exit?
    On the A9 motorway from Sète, take exit 29 Montpellier–Est to Carnon/La Grande-Motte.
    From Nîmes, take exit 26 to Grau-du-Roi/Gallargues-le-Montueux/Aigues-Mortes, and follow directions to Grau du Roi.
  • The GPS address?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin GPS coordinates :
    – Le Seaquarium Institut Marin, Avenue du Palais de la Mer, 30240 Le Grau du Roi
    GPS coordinates : lat. 43.52781 – long.4.1456 .
  • What are the opening times?
    Aquarium opening times vary according to the season :
    – from October to March, the aquarium is open from 9.30am to 6.30pm.
    – in April, May, June and September, the aquarium is open from 9.30am to 7.30pm.
    – in July and August, the aquarium is open from 9.30am to 11.30pm.
    Please note, ticket sales close one hour before the aquarium closes …
  • What is to be seen at Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin is a seawater aquarium, home to a wide array of marine creatures and organised in different areas:
    Mediterranean World, Tropical World, Underwater Tunnel, « Turtle-Museum », Marine Mammal World, Imaginarium and Requinarium, the only centre in Europe completely dedicated to sharks.
    The visitors’ circuit is packed with aquariums, descriptive data sheets, short films and a special “kids-tour”, which all go to make the Seaquarium Institut Marin a fun, interactive and educational leisure activity..
  • How long does it take to visit Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Like a museum, Seaquarium Institut Marin can be visited freely, (excepting groups of adults or schoolchildren); an average trip to the aquarium will last between 2 hours and 2h30.
    Seaquarium Institut Marin Boutique (Seaq’Boutique) may be accessed directly via the Palais de la Mer lobby..
  • Is Seaquarium Institut Marin wheelchair accessible?
    Yes, the Seaquarium Institut Marin is wheelchair accessible. The 2,400m² aquarium is equipped with free-access lifts for disabled visitors.
    WCs available for disabled visitors.
  • Can baby buggies be brought into Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Yes, lifts for buggies are provided throughout the aquarium.
  • Which payment methods are accepted?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin ticket payment may be made in cash, by cheque or by credit card.
    Holiday vouchers (chèques vacances) may also be used, but change cannot be given.
  • Are there reduced rates?
    Entrance to Seaquarium Institut Marin is free for the under 5s.
    Special child rates available for children from 5 to 15.
    Special rates for students and the disabled upon presentation of their card.
    Large families benefit from a 10% reduction.
  • Can Seaquarium Institut Marin be visited without the assistance of a guide?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin may be visited freely and without a guide (like a museum visit). There are no time constraints for visitors; a recorded message will announce the imminent closure of parts of the aquarium before the aquarium closes at the end of the day.
    For schools and adult groups of 20 persons minimum, guided tours of the aquarium may be organized with detailed descriptions of each zone and the numerous types of fish, sharks and marine mammals present in aquariums containing between 1,000 and 1,000,000 litres of seawater..
  • Can group visits of the aquarium be organised?
    Group visits can be organized for adults (20 persons minimum) and schools: by reservation only, with special group rates (please see “Adult groups” and “Group visits” for school groups and leisure centres).
    Please contact our sales service and Marine Environment Education Centre for further information.
  • Are there on-site WCs?
    Numerous WC facilities are provided in the aquarium.
    Disabled WCs and baby changing stations available too.
  • Are dogs welcome?
    Dogs are not accepted in the aquarium, which is mainly indoors.
  • Can we eat in the aquarium?
    Eating and drinking in the aquarium is prohibited. Exceptions will only be made for groups of children in case of bad weather.
    Seaquarium Institut Marin has nearby café and snack bar facilities.
  • Is it possible to picnic on-site?
    It is possible to picnic outside the Seaquarium Institut Marin on the shady lawns beside the Palais de la Mer, or on the beach, just 50m from the Seaquarium Institut Marin.
  • Is it possible to stop the visit, leave the Seaquarium Institut Marin and return later in the day?
    Once an entrance ticket has been validated, the visit must be completed. Once inside Seaquarium Institut Marin, visitors are not permitted to exit (to eat for example) and come back later. The aquarium must be visited at one time.
  • At what time do the shows take place?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin organises animal presentation sessions rather than shows: at different times in the day, at the large pool for seals and sea lions, keepers carry out training and exercise activities with the animals.
    No two activity sessions are ever the same: the seals and sea lions do not know if and when they will participate, and do not know what they will be asked to do!
    This is the ideal way to protect our seals and sea lions from routine (and boredom) while maintaining motivation and interest through playful activities.
    Some of the activity sessions are explained to the general public by keepers, but never at fixed times. An announcement is made in the aquarium and visitors are invited to make their way to the seal and sea lion pool.
  • What is the Requinarium?
    The Requinarium is part of Seaquarium Institut Marin and is Europe’s only shark centre with around 25 living shark species and 10 types of ray!
    There are several aquariums containing from 50,000 to 150,000 litres of seawater and an 800,000 litre giant pool, visible from 2 floors..
    900m² are dedicated to the shark world and numerous topics are explored: diversity, biology, predation, reproduction, interaction with other sea creatures, man-shark relationships and human fear towards these mainly non-aggressive creatures, as well as protection of shark species!
    A tactile pool known as “Face to face with sharks” gives visitors a clear demonstration of the non-aggressive nature of these impressive creatures…
    Quizzes, games, activities and films are available for youngsters …
  • Is the whole circuit indoor?
    Most of the aquarium circuit is indoor, and is warm and comfortable; heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer.
    Outdoor seating is provided around the seal and sea lion pool: an awning provides shelter in case of bad weather.
  • Are seating facilities provided?
    Comfortable seating facilities are provided at Seaquarium Institut Marin allowing visitors to sit and watch the fascinating marine world go by: incredible fish, playful mammals, fascinating sharks as well as short films on protecting marine life, sea turtles, etc…
  • When is the best (the least crowded) time to visit Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    In general, Seaquarium Institut Marin is not too crowded in autumn and winter.
    In the spring, we recommend visitors to come after school groups leave at 3pm.
    For a more relaxing visit in the summer, lunchtimes from 12-2pm or evenings are ideal…
  • Is access to Babyland and Mini-Golf included?
    Babyland and Mini-Golf are part of the Palais de la Mer, like the Seaquarium Institut Marin.
    Access is not included in the aquarium ticket.
  • Where is the beach?
    Very close by: just 50m from the Seaquarium Institut Marin. Beach access via the Palais de la Mer lobby..
  • What is Seaq’Pass?
    Seaq’pass is an annual season ticket. It is individual and gives unlimited access to the aquarium during opening hours..
    Annual renewal from the Seaquarium Institut Marin reception desk (please bring a passport photo)..
  • Is Seaquarium Institut Marin suitable for small children?
    The wonders of nature can be enjoyed at all ages!
    At Seaquarium Institut Marin, young and old alike learn, play, discover, explore and marvel at the amazing fish, sharks, corals, seals, sea lions…often little known because very inaccessible!
    The tiniest visitors will stand starry-eyed and brimming with curiosity before the brightly coloured creatures swimming around them …

Seaquarium Institut Marin, fauna…

  • Which animals can be discovered at Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin is home to many marine creatures and is organised in different zones..
    Mediterranean World, meet a wide spectrum of fish living along our coasts; moray eels, groupers, sea bass, sea bream, dogfish and rays.
    Each aquarium carries a fact sheet giving information on fish types.
    Tropical world invites visitors to “take a dive into the tropics”, in the colourful company of clown fish, flying lionfish, surgeonfish and a blazing array of other fish species swimming in coral filled aquariums.
    « Turtle-Museum » dedicated to the discovery and protection of sea turtles. Children can play doctor at the turtle hospital and learn to care for sick turtles…
    Harbour seals, sea lions and South American sea lions live happily together in a giant 6m deep pool in the Marine Mammal World.
    Visitors can observe training sessions where keepers work to desensitize animals in order to prepare them for care procedures which are so vital for their well-being (blood tests, x-ray, ultrasound, etc.).
    With a wide array of models, aquariums, interactive games and an astonishing optical theatre, the Imaginarium takes visitors on a thrilling trip back into ancient times of legendary sea monsters before coming right back to the present, with a playful approach to pressing themes such as rising water levels…which opens up a host of questions about the world of tomorrow!
    First opened in 2009, le Requinarium gives visitors a breathtaking journey into the magical world of sharks: those super predators which strike fear into the hearts of man, and are an endangered species today!
    With 25 different species to discover, visitors explore all aspects of the life of these big fish with very highly developed senses …
  • Can we swim with seals?
    Seals and sea lions must not be approached by the general public as they are wild animals and may be unpredictable.
    Keepers only may handle animals at mealtimes and can swim with them in the pool while respecting safety conditions..
  • Does Seaquarium Institut Marin organise shows?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin does not organise shows. Animals are shown to the general public at various times each day with running commentary by keepers.
    A keepers’ announcement will invite visitors to the seal and sea lion pool for the showing.
    Throughout the day, keepers organise random activities for seals and sea lions in order to maintain their motivation and interest; the animals are invited to participate freely in daily activity sessions.
  • Are there any sea turtles at Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Sea turtles are a protected species and cannot be kept in captivity.
    When fishermen mistakenly catch sea turtles in their nets, they then bring them to Seaquarium Institut Marin where they are then handed over toCESTMed (Centre de Sauvegarde des tortues marines en Méditerranée) the only centre specialized in sea turtles in the French Mediterranean (CESTMed is housed on Seaquarium Institut Marin premises)..
    Turtles are monitored, cared for and returned to the sea when their health and weather conditions permit..
  • How many fish are there at Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin is home to around 2,000 tropical and Mediterranean Sea fish from 200 different species: there are 25 species of living sharks and 10 types of ray!
    Also, shellfish (large and small slipper lobsters, spiny lobsters, crabs) molluscs (octopus, nautilus), echinoderms (sea urchins, star fish, sea cucumbers) and cnidarians (anemones, jelly fish, corals).
  • Are photos permitted?
    Photos and videos of fish are permitted within the aquarium.
    Flashes are forbidden.
    Fish do not have eyelids and are ultra-sensitive to sudden changes in light, which provoke high levels of stress.
  • Do the glass windows make the fish look bigger?
    No. The aquarium windows do not make fish look bigger. This is easy to see at the Requinarium where sharks can be watched either through large glass panels or from the top of the pool.
  • Can the fish see us?
    Yes of course, fish are able to see visitors clearly through the windows of the aquariums!
  • May we touch the fish?
    For optimal disease prevention, it is not possible to touch fish living in the tropical zone’s lagoon or observation pool.
    Groups of children participating in a tour with a guide may touch certain marine creatures under certain conditions……
    At the Requinarium, “Face to face with sharks” allows visitors who fully respect safety instructions to touch Mediterranean sharks.
  • Are there whales and dolphins at the Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Whales and dolphins are sea mammals only and require enormous quantities of water to live healthily.
    The giant pool containing 1,000,000 litres of seawater is better adapted to seals and sea lions which are amphibians and require smaller “swimming areas”.

Seaquarium Institut Marin, technical aspects…

  • How many aquariums are there?
    Seaquarium Institut Marin offers visitors a selection of over 40 aquariums to discover with a total of 3,000,000 litres of seawater.
    Volume goes from 200 to 1,000,000 litres of seawater.
    There are a number of other aquariums in the technical zone: these include isolation tanks for sick fish, quarantine tanks for new fish, etc…
  • Where does the seawater come from?
    Seawater is pumped directly from the sea, before being filtered, sterilized and distributed into the aquariums when needed.
  • What is the temperature of the aquariums?
    In the Mediterranean region, the average water temperature for aquariums varies between 16 and 20°C, depending on the season. For tropical aquariums, the temperature varies between 23 and 26°C.
    The temperature of the outdoor pool for seals and sea lions varies between 16°C in winter and 23°C in summer.
    Pools in the Requinarium, are kept at between 23 and 26°C..
  • How is aquarium water filtered?
    Each aquarium is equipped with an independent filter which keeps the fishes’ living environment “clean”. Water is pumped into a mechanical filter which collects suspended matter. It is then sterilised using UV rays. Finally, water is sent through a biological filter which eliminates the toxic, nitrogenous matter emitted by fish.
  • How are sharks transported?
    For transportation of sharks; stretchers may be used (for short trips), or tanks with a pumping system for water circulation to allow sharks to breathe.
  • What goes into the diet of the fish?
    Fish in aquariums are fed 3 times per week at different times with a diet adapted to the size of their mouth; juvenile fish are fed daily.
    Vegetarian fish are fed on lettuce and spinach, while carnivores are fed on prawns, fish parts and small brine shrimp.
    Sharks are fed a diet of frozen fish, some of which are enriched with special vitamins (to prevent deficiencies due to deep freezing). In order to provide a balanced, varied diet, sharks are also fed herrings, whiting, mackerel and even squid or octopus..
  • What do seals and sea lions eat?
    Seals and sea lions consume almost 2 tons of fish per month!
    Rations are prepared each morning: they include herring, capelin and sprats which are defrosted, sorted and placed in buckets containing each animal’s daily ration. Quantities change with the season, mating period and age of animals.
    Specific vitamins are added to certain fish in order to avoid vitamin deficiency due to deep freezing (this is compulsory in order to avoid transfer of parasites if fish is alive when fed to the animals).
  • Est-ce que les animaux se reproduisent au Seaquarium Institut Marin?
    Much reproduction takes place in the Seaquarium Institut Marin fish world; clown fish, apogons, scorpion fish and even seahorses!
    Some species of shark and skate lay eggs which can be seen on the beds of the aquariums. When fertilised, our technicians place the eggs in reserve tanks until the baby sharks and skate hatch from their pods.
    Seals and sea lions also reproduce regularly.
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