Den Blå Planet: Discover the seven seas
TEXT: HEIDI KOKBORG | PHOTOS: KENNET ISLANDI HAVGAARD
Situated right by Copenhagen Airport, Den Blå Planet, the National Aquarium Denmark, is an ideal place to visit when arriving to or leaving Denmark. Here, you can discover sea animals from all corners of the globe, including hammerhead sharks, colourful coral-reef fish and adorable sea otters, and you can also learn about the catastrophic damage global warming is doing to our oceans.
Sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, coral-reef fish and sea otters are just a few of the sea animals you can experience at Den Blå Planet, the National Aquarium Denmark. The largest aquarium in northern Europe, it has no less than 15,000 animals and 585 species in 48 aquariums containing a total of seven million litres of water. No wonder, then, that the average guest spends around three hours exploring the underwater world.
“Many adults find the aquarium almost meditative. Everything is relatively dark here, as the fish would otherwise feel threatened by the light and hide. This also means that it’s rather quiet and peaceful, and you can just walk around looking at beautiful fish happily swimming around in the water, which can be almost mesmerising,” explains Jon Diderichsen, CEO at Den Blå Planet.
Seeing as the aquarium is located right by the airport, Den Blå Planet is a hit in particular among tourists, who make up 60 per cent of the guests. “It is perfect for visiting us when you are either arriving to or leaving Denmark. Both children and adults will have a fun and educational experience. There is something here for everyone, no matter your age,” says Diderichsen.
An educational experience
The aquarium has every kind of sea creature you can possibly imagine. For instance, you can say hello to a recently rescued sea turtle that had been carried away by the current and by accident ended up on the West Coast in Denmark – not an ideal habitat for a sea turtle.
“It was almost dead when we received it, because the water up here is much too cold for sea turtles. It was probably on its way to the Azores but somehow ended up here. Luckily, we were able to save it, and now it is three times bigger than when we got it, and it’s thriving,” says Diderichsen.
You can also experience endangered species like sea otters. Den Blå Planet has four sea otters that were rescued from Alaska. Had the baby otters not been saved, they would have died in the wild.
Of course, you can also experience more common species like cod, pike and other fish you can find in the Danish waters. You can see vibrant coral reefs, too, with the most beautiful and colourful fish, impressive hammerhead sharks, and other tropical fish.
“We wish to educate people about life in the sea. What kind of creatures live here? Why do we need to protect our oceans? What do healthy corals look like? The ocean is a bit of a mystery to many people, as we can’t see what’s happening beneath the surface,” Diderichsen explains.
But the aquarium is not only great at educating guests on what healthy, thriving oceans look like. Den Blå Planet also explains and demonstrates what will happen in the environmental sense if we continue down the disastrous route we are currently on.
“We show our guests what happens when plastic ends up in the ocean, what dead coral reefs look like, and why it is absolutely crucial that we take care of our oceans and protect them. It is important to also show the less beautiful side and show people the consequences our actions have on the ocean, as that’s otherwise not visible to us,” says Diderichsen.
See a real monster shark
The aquarium also has a big, tropical pool, where children, and indeed adults, can touch and interact with rays and bamboo sharks up close. “You just put your hand in the water and touch them. They are very curious, and it’s a really fun way to interact with the animals,” says Diderichsen.
Up until the end of 2022, you can also explore the special exhibition Once Upon a Sea, which is all about the history of the ocean and the spectacular sea creatures of the past. Here, you’ll be able to see monster sharks and other extinct sea creatures.
“We have a total of ten models in real-life size, and children are allowed to touch them and even crawl up on the models,” says Diderichsen.
Den Blå Planet also has a large outdoor area worth exploring, and a restaurant with delicious food, making for the perfect way to end your tour of the seven seas.
The aquarium is located right by Copenhagen Airport, and it is open 365 days of the year. Purchase tickets online to secure your spot at the aquarium. Web: www.denblaaplanet.dk Facebook: Den Blå Planet Instagram: @denblaaplanet Youtube: Den Blå Planet
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