The aquarium at Heraklion “Thalassokosmos” is about 60 square hectares on the north western coast forming part of the former U.S. military base aat Gournes Irakliou. It boasts 1600m2 of exhibition space comprising fish tanks, stage designing and museum planning. More than 4,500organisms distributed among approximately 200 species (continuously enriched) are exhibited in 37 tanks with 50 observation points in place. Working in parallel, there are 2600m2 of technical space (back-stage equipment and multi-purpose auditoriums seating 150 persons and10,000 m2 of surrounding space).Outside, within the aquarium grounds there is a cemetery of sea animals.
The organized tour starts with a video shown in low lighting, about deep-sea sites in Crete accompanied by lyrics from greek mythology, relating to the genealogy of the sea divinities.This creates a magical ambience when going through the passage-ways revealing rare species and sea organisms coupled with the beauty of the surroundings. “Thalassokosmos” literally makes you feel that you are in the deep blue sea.
The aquarium also provides an acoustics tour in the form of a device like a telephone, which broadcasts into your ear information, numerous explanations and comments about the sea world , listening at your leisure in four laguages: English,Greek,French and german.The visitor can enrich his trip as much as she/he desires.Specifically the visitor can “dial up” a particular fish tank and listens to the relative information.Other buttons provide more specialized knowledge about the various organisms,the tanks,the ecology of the sea and oceanography.
Terrifying and strange creatures magnetise the onlooker at various annexes of the aquarium.One of the rarest and protected species domesticated at the Cretan aquarium is the Hippocampus (sea horse) which is now successfully bred.