The CretAquarium is part of the building complex "Thalassocosmos" of HCMR of Crete, located within the old American Base of Gournes 15 km from Heraklion city. The aquarium together with the modern facilities of the Institute of Marine Biology & Genetics and the Institute of Aquaculture make "Thalassocosmos" a unique park whose focus is on science, education, culture and recreation and whose goal is to promote, share and spread knowledge concerning the marine environment. The CretAquarium is comprised of 32 tanks of a total capacity of 1.600.000 liters of sea water that accommodates about 4.000 Mediterranean organisms, while 2 of the tanks focus on the Lessepsian migrants from the Red Sea. Fifty viewing points allow the visitors to observe the living creatures of the sea and their habits, while special monitors point out the small organisms, invisible to the naked eye.
The aquarium is able to accommodate at least 250.000 visitors per year while the duration of the visit is expected to last for approximately 1.5 hour. Analytical information for every thematic section and its organisms are displayed in a variety of ways using interpretive graphics, interactive techniques and modern multimedia equipment. Additional educational interactive games and simulations focused on different components and phenomena of the marine environment allow all visitors independent of age to become part of the show while at the same time providing them with a memorable learning experience.
Underlining the relationship between humans and the sea, the CretAquarium aims at reaching out and introducing its visitors to the wonderful world of the sea from which life on our planet evolved and on which all land ecosystems still depend. CretAquarium and "Thalassocosmos" in general, undoubtedly, contribute to this realization by providing its knowledge and sharing it with the public through the aquarium while encouraging its visitors to become aware, sensitive and active on issues concerning the marine world.
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, 3 - 900m3 volume of tanks (average approx. 73m3), 1,600,000 liters of sea water, 300m2 of transparent surfaces, 4,000 marine organisms, Duration of the visit - approximately 1.5 hour, A multipurpose room of 150 people, Restaurant and Gift shop, Children's play and activity room, 7.500.000€ budget (excluding VAT), 75% financing from EFTA, 25% financing from Greek government, Potential load of 250,000 visitors per year, Anticipated visitors 180.000 per year