Waves, Whirlpools, and Hammerhead Sharks at Copenhagen’s Blue Planet Aquarium

Marine creatures big and small inhabit Denmark’s shiny nautical swirl.  
Blue Planet, Denmark
Northern Europe’s largest aquarium, The Blue Planet, has 450 marine species living in cold, fresh, or saline water aquariums. Photo: Hufton and Crow/View Pictures/Dinodia Photo Library

Is it a building floating in a pool? Or a structure shaped like a glittering whirlpool? The Blue Planet aquarium (Den Blå Planet) in Denmark is both of these. Here, visitors can meet over 20,000 creatures from the world’s oceans inside an architectural landmark building. Located on the island of Amager, overlooking Øresund Strait in Copenhagen’s Kastrup suburb, the structure’s magnificent design is inspired by the shape of a giant whirlpool, when looked at from above. From street level however, it appears to be submerged in water and the path leading to the round, indoor lobby sucks you into the vortex of a whirlpool.

From the central lobby, the curving arms of the swirl lead to eight exhibit zones showcasing the depths and shores of ocean waters from the tropics to the North Atlantic. They house a variety of sea creatures from tiny molluscs, poison dart frogs, and graceful sea horses to cave-dwelling elephant fish that communicate using electricity. There is a group of waddling puffins and even a pair of furry sea otters. Hammerhead sharks, the largest of the aquarium’s inhabitants, can be seen swimming along manta rays from inside an underwater tunnel. Apart from the tunnel, there are touch pools where you can feel crabs and starfish. After a long day of exploration stop at eatery ØST to sample Nordic cuisine while soaking in the blues of the Øresund Strait.

The 10,000-square-metre space completely imbibes the character of water in its design. Even the exterior is the colour of shining surf, the outdoor pools and its location surrounded by water—all echoing the ethos of a breathtaking underwater world (denblaaplanet.dk/en; Mon 10 a.m-9 p.m., Tue-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; adults DKK170/₹1,720, children aged 3-11 DKK95/₹960.)

Appeared in the September 2016 issue as “Waves, Whirlpools, and Hammerhead Sharks”.

  • Rumela Basu is former Assistant Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. Her favourite kind of travel involves food, literature, dance and forests. She travels not just to discover new destinations but also aspects of herself.

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