A reported €25 million investment and 350 species of fish, amphibians and reptiles from 35 different ecosystems. The Poem of the Sea (‘Poema del Mar’) opened to the public today as a landmark reference aquarium in the main port area of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The new attraction conceived of and built by the Kiessling family who say they want to to revolutionise tourism in the capital has been long anticipated.
Adult tickets start at €18 for the residents and €25 for visitors and tourists. Children’s tickets are €13 for residents up to 11 years of age and €17.50 euros for non-residents, with free access for children under 4 years of age.
Teeming with a huge array of exotic species, deemed representative of the planet’s marine biodiversity, displays include the electric eel, the African sunfish, Congo bichirs, common cuttlefish, freckled hedgehog fish, Siam crocodiles, loggerhead turtles, common jellyfish, angelfish, hammerhead sharks, seahorses and goliath tiger fish, to name just a few. This long awaited new aquarium attraction comes with high expectations of being able to draw large numbers of tourists up from the southern resorts toward the capital city, where tourism on the island was first established long before mass tourism started to take over with purpose built developments based around the sunny southern beaches allowed hoteliers and tour operators to take the lions share.
12,700 meters of exhibition space and five million liters of water, one of the main attractions is the Deep Sea pool, which has a 36 meter long, seven meter high glass viewing window which, according to the Kiessling family, is “the second largest in the world”. The Deep Sea pool provides a home for several species, including the eight sharks they transported over here especially from their other facilities on Tenerife.
There are three separate zones for marine surface ecosystems, deep marine ecosystems and freshwater species.
They say they expect to attract an average of 500,000 visitors each year. The large white building that contains the exhibition is inspired by one of the most important ever Gran Canaria artists: the painter Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre, from which the aquarium gets its name from one of his most popular pictorial series of works.
The captive fish include tuna, sharks, fresh water rays and even black piranhas from Peru, as well as a comprehensive array of native Canarian fish, with hundreds of moray eels. The Kiesslings proudly call it “One of the best aquariums in the world” now it remains to be seen whether the paying public will agree, and agree to pay to see it in numbers sufficient to please its creators.
Wildlife preservation groups and ocean marine life protectors have yet make their opinions known.