Head Mr. Michalis Papadakis

The Cretaquarium opened in Crete, in December 2005, in a location which combines recreation and science, as part of the marine centre site now named Thalassocosmos. The Cretaquarium is the dreamchild of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research and is thus supported by the knowledge, the expertise and the innovation that Greek marine scientists have developed in the last 20 years.

The HCMR aquarium in Crete is situated in the place called Thalassocosmos, a site of marine science and aquaculture, a meeting point where science, discovery and recreation are equally accessible. The aquarium has therefore been designed to serve the needs of a wide range of visitors and user groups.

In the Eastern Mediterranean there has been a remarkable absence of the development of state-of-the-art aquaria. In the 1990’s, it became clear that such developments could greatly benefit Greece, for besides the associated economic benefits, an aquarium could play an important part in the development of marine science and technology, which is considered as a national priority. A successful application for funding from the European Investment Bank for the creation of the Cretaquarium was made in 2001.  The Cretaquarium officially opened in December 2005.

Mission Statement
A major goal of the Cretaquarium is to become a place of entertainment where the public is informed and educated on matters that concern the marine environment, through the use of multimedia, the organization of seminars and events constituting an attractive place for all ages.
It hopes to inspire respect, compassion, sensitivity and motivation to its visitors for matters that concern the health of the marine world.
In close cooperation with the corresponding institutes the aquarium aims at interpreting the research of HCMR providing its visitors with current information on marine issues. Finally, by embracing the enquiries of the new generation it hopes to provoke learning experiences that will urge people to live in closer harmony with the sea.
Underlining the relationship between humans and the sea, the CretAquarium with all its knowledge will undoubtedly contribute to the realization of this vision.

creta2Research Orientation
The main objective of every aquarium is to acquire know how on species management, the monitoring of the physiochemical parameters of their existence, the planning of special programmes, the promotion of new species and everything relevant to field of the marine biology.

Accommodation Capacity
The Cretaquarium has the potential to accommodate 250.000 visitors per year while the duration of the visit lasts approximately 1 hour. Its tanks range from 0.5 to 600m3 with a total capacity of 1.600.000 litres of sea water and houses approximately 2.000 organisms that correspond to 200 Mediterranean species. Smaller tanks focus on specific species and smaller scale ecosystems that, although very impressive and important, would go unnoticed in the bigger tanks. There are touch screen information points that provide the visitors with more details on the life of the various organisms.

The size of the aquarium
10,000m2 of parking space
10,000m2 of surrounding area
1,600m2 of exhibition area
2,600m2 of technical support / backstage area
32 Tanks with 50 viewing points
0.5 – 600m3 volume of tanks
1,600,000 liters of sea water
300m2 of transparent surfaces
(largest windows: 4-5m long & 3m high, an amphitheatric window: 9m long & 2m high)
4,000 marine organisms
Duration of the visit  approximately 1.5 hour
A multipurpose room of 150 people
Restaurant with view to the sea

Modern audiovisual systems and avant garde interactive applications, like info points with touch screens help the visitor to be informed on the habits and the biotopes of the species. Using the remote controlled cameras, which are inside the big aquariums, the visitors can enjoy a close – up view of the species.
There is an automatic tour system in 7 languages.  Educational posters with original references on marine life and ecosystems are exhibited in the main areas of the aquarium.

Rooms Rental & Gift Shop
A multi purpose room with a capacity of 150 people is available for hosting conferences, shows, social events, independent exhibitions, talks, displays, educational programmes. Aquarium’s temporary or seasonal displays are taking place everyday for the visitors. There is also a Snack Caf?, as well as, the Aqua Gift Shop where he can buy ecology related souvenirs and gifts

Within the framework of its educational activities the main concern of the aquarium is the development of original educational programmes for the primary and secondary levels of education aiming to reinforce the cooperation with centers of environmental education as well as with schools. The programs are adjusted to the content of the school analytical programs and offer to the students the experience and the knowledge through the observation of the lively marine world with modern mediums and laboratorial techniques.


Contact us

Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
Gournes Pediados
P.O. Box 2214
P.C. 71003
Heraklion Crete
Tel: +30 2810337788 reception
+30 2810337888 for appointment
+30 2810337780 Secretariat
Fax: +30 2810337882

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