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Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne

Flinders Street (at King Street)
Australia 3000
Tel: 61 3 9620 0999
view web site ›'s insider take:

A cool blue refuge in the heart of the city, Australia's only aquarium specializing in Southern Ocean creatures houses 10,000 marine and a few dozen land-based animals in a series of spiral-down displays. Start at ground level with the creepy venomous-critters exhibits, and work your way down to the vast oceanarium. En route, peruse surreal sea jelly displays, kid-friendly touch pools, and a massive coral atoll teeming with tropical fish, moray eels, and sea stars. The aquarium's showpiece, the 600,000-gallon oceanarium, has glass tunnels allowing close-up views of the underbellies of cruising sharks, sea turtles, and massive rays. (Arrive at twice-daily meal times and you'll see these awesome creatures in a feeding frenzy.) Intrepid souls can even arrange to dive in this vast tank (advance bookings are a must, and the cost is $180).

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