Sunday, July 5, 2009

‘Underwater wonderland’ draws crowds

The Gulf Today, 7 Nov 2008

Having clinched the Guinness record for the world’s largest acrylic viewing panel, Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre has been pulling thousands to Dubai Mall opened recently.

The aquarium brings the splendours of the marine world to the people of Dubai. Of course, it’s a terrific showcase of an enormous diversity of ocean-species – above 33,000 aquatic animals in due course, representing more than 85 species including sharks and stingrays.

Truly, it’s an underwater wonderland, with a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel that allows for some incredible close-encounter experiences to delight mall visitors. Dangerous Pirahna, giant catfish, playful Otters and water rats are just some of the animals you will meet.

The living ocean display showcases graceful sea jellies, tangled Moray Eels, and enchanting sea dragons. On the artificial rocky shore at the discover centre, you can visit a Humboldt Penguin colony and view a group of resting harbour seals, large crabs, ocean cucumbers and five-eyed star fishes. The ocean’s most venomous fish can be the most fascinating at the discovery centre.

“The largest aquarium in the world, created with a gigantic viewing panel, has surpassed the current Guinness record holder Churaumi Aquarium in Japan’s Okinawa. We are informed that it will be featured in the upcoming edition of the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010,” said Yousif Al Ali, General Manager at the Dubai Mall.

He added, “Setting history, the acrylic viewing panel of the Dubai Aquarium spans about 32.88 metre wide and 8.3 metre high. At 750 mm thick and weighing 245,614 kilogrammes, it’s strongly built to withstand the enormous pressure of 10 million litres of water used in the aquarium. But it’s transparent enough to give visitors clear views of the marine animals with different sizes and nature. Meanwhile, the Japan’s aquarium is measured about 22.5 metres wide, 8.2 metres high and 600 mm thick.”

“The viewing panel was commissioned under the supervision of Oceanis Australia Group, the world’s largest aquarium owner and operator.

The acrylic viewing panel has been specially designed offering larger-than life views of the sharks, rays and above 33,000 living animals on display. Above the aquarium is the interactive and educational Discovery Centre, taking the visitor through various aquatic environments,” he pointed out.

“We have adopted international standards of ethics and animal welfare policies in the development and operation of the aquarium and discovery centre. So, we will be operating it in line with international best practices of animal care and aquarium operation,” said Yousif Al Ali.

Adjudicator of Guinness World Records John Pilley had said, “Once again reiterating the can-do attitude of Dubai, the mall joined the illustrious list of world records with the largest acrylic panel, in addition to Dubai’s many other exciting achievements. This is a terrific Guinness World Record and exemplifies the dedication and passion that make some of our best records.”

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