The Underwater Observatory in Eilat
BY Hadassah Levy DATE 24/03/2015
The Red Sea is home to more than 1200 species of fish which are not found elsewhere. This diversity is partially due to the ancient coral reefs which extend for most of its coastline, and since Eilat is located on the Israeli shore of the Red Sea at the Underwater Observatory you can get a glimpse of these unique and colorful fish.
To view the fish, you enter a cavernous room surrounded on all sides by glass windows. Children and adults can spend hours here going from window to window to watch the fish swim through and around the coral reefs. Because you are viewing the actual sea, by the time you get back to the first window it will have a totally different view. The bright colorful coral reefs are as beautiful as the fish themselves and you will also notice snakes, sea turtles and other marine life.
There are other rooms devoted to specific rare fish and a newly built shark tank. 18 sharks, along with walruses, sea bats and thousands of fish inhabit the shark tank, letting you get uniquely up close and personal with these creatures. The sharks are viewed from an underground window and from the top of the pool. One of the purposes of the tank is to dispel some of the myths that surround sharks, particularly that they are likely to eat people (as they did in the movie Jaws). Video clips, interactive games and model sharks provide information about their lifestyle and habitats and there are even two feeding sessions a day where you can watch the sharks grabbing their meals.
A pier leads you away from the beach to an observation tower which gives a glimpse of sea life away from the shore, further into the Sea. From the tower, a glass-bottomed boat tour takes you out to see the fish swimming beneath your feet. The boat ride is about 20 minutes long and a special thrill for children. Refreshments and coffee are available at the top of the tower.
The observatory’s 3D movie with moving seats takes you right into the ocean to see marine life on video. The movie is for children aged 5 and over and not suitable for pregnant women.
Admission to the Underwater Observatory includes the pools, aquarium and observation tower. The glass-bottom boat and the 3D movie are at an additional price.
Being only a short distance to the hotel strip of Eilat Beach, some tourists and families spend an entire day here and others just a few hours. If you enjoy zoos and other animal-related attractions, you are likely to turn this into a full-day activity. Don’t forget to bring your camera as there are some incredible photo ops, including the opportunity to pose inside a “shark’s” mouth.
For opening times and more information see the Underwater Observatory website.
Written by Hadassah Levy