AquaRio – The largest marine aquarium in South America


AquaRio (Marine Aquarium of Rio de Janeiro) is a relatively recent attraction of the city, it was inaugurated in November of 2016 in a place where a refrigerator with a facade fell.

Foto da parte externa do AquaRio aquarium

Since its opening, AquaRio has almost always been very crowded, especially on weekends. So, we hope to spend that initial moment so we can enjoy the ride better without so many people competing in the same place to see the aquariums. We then went on a Monday in May 2017 in the morning. Despite the chosen day and time, some schools were visiting the aquarium, but nothing that would hinder the visit. Still good!

Come on! The aquarium is located in the Port Zone of Rio (another reason for you to visit the region that was revitalized and is cool now), it is a 100% private enterprise of public visitation focused on education, research, conservation, leisure, entertainment and culture. Incidentally, as the local parking lot is not so great, a great transportation option is the VLT. With it, you are very close.

AquaRio is the most extensive marine aquarium in South America, with its 26 thousand square meters of a built area (for those who are not so good with measures, this is equivalent to 2 Olympic pools !!) and 4.5 million liters of water. 3.5 million for the main tank, which has a 7m foot and a tunnel that passes inside it, and the rest is distributed in 24 secondary tanks. All tanks are acrylic and not glass. The fauna is composed of about 3 thousand animals of 300 species of fish and invertebrates. That is, there are no mammals in the tanks. Another detail is that corals are not true.

Entrance Hall

Right at the entrance, you’ll be setting yourself up to see the incredible royal skeleton of a humpback whale suspended by steel cables. This 15m whale ran aground on Macumba Beach in 2014, remember? Then she was buried and, after only 2 years, was unearthed, and her bones were treated through the procedure called “osteomontagem” until it was the way we see it today in the entrance hall.

Foto da carcaça da baleia jubarte que encalhou na Praia da Macumba

Humpback whale carcass that ran aground at Macumba Beach


Foto de águas vivas no hall de entrada do AquaRio

Jellyfishes in the AquaRio Lobby


Foto dos Mascotes do AquaRio

Mascot of the AquaRio

If you are hungry before starting your circuit, there are some options to solve this: In the entrance hall, you can have a pizza at Vezpa, a sweet at the Doce Mar, a hot dog from Geneal or even an ice cream from Sorvete Itália. On the third floor, you can eat and drink something in the cafe that is right at the entrance to the circuit.

Foto do café que fica no terceiro andar, na entrada do Circuito do AquaRio

Cafe that is on the third floor, at the entrance to the Circuit


The circuit follows a single direction, starting on the third floor. You can climb the elevator or up a ramp. AquaRio is accessible to all people.

Foto de um Mapa do Circuito de Visitação exibido em monitores pelo AquaRio

Map of the Circuit of Visitation displayed on monitors by AquaRio

The visit lasts on average 1h, but this varies significantly from person to person and the degree of stocking in the day, rs. We went on an empty day, but we enjoyed it a lot. I would say our visit lasted about 1h30min. Oh, and if you are to participate in the “touch tanks” it should take a little longer as well, as there is a different queue for them.

At the beginning of the circuit, you can create your own “virtual fish” to be your host throughout the course (for this, you pay separately), even the next time you go to the Aquarium! You choose the species, the color and also the name. LOL

One of the first attractions of the circuit is the visualization of plankton by microscopes. It is an excellent opportunity for those who have never seen these creatures so crucial to marine life. I could remember something I did enough. (Note: Raquel is a marine biologist for training, so this observation of plankton, hehe)

Foto do microscópio para visualizar os plânctos

Microscope to visualize plankton


Soon after, the corridors begin with exhibition tanks of various sizes and with screens explaining what little you can see in each one. Along the halls of the circuit, there are monitors of AquaRio to assist with any doubts and curiosities about marine life.


Foto das telas educativas sobre os animais do AquaRio

An example of a screen that is above the tanks explaining a little about the animals of AquaRio

Among the animals at the site are the rockfish, clownfish (Nemo!), Fish-surgeon (Dory), lionfish, moray eel, cat shark, bamboo shark, seahorse, rays (too beautiful, are not they !?), octopus and so many others.

Foto de um aquario com o Peixe Palhaço, o Nemo do filme Procurando Nemo

Look at the Nemo (s)! One of AquaRio’s most visited fish

Foto de um Peixe Morcego, um dos mais diferentes do AquaRio

The Brazilian batfish, one of the most different of the aquarium

Foto de Tubarões no AquaRio



Foto do Peixe Leão. Lindo, mas muito perigoso para alguns eco sistemas

Lionfish. Beautiful, but very dangerous for some ecosystems.


Foto da Dori do filme Procurando Nemo

Look at Dori walking there in AquaRio

Foto de um Polvo escondido em uma pedra no AquaRio

At that moment, the octopus was a little shy

Following the circuit by the secondary tanks, you go down a ramp to the second floor, where the main tank (Ocean Tank), AquaRio’s biggest attraction is.

Foto do túnel que passa por dentro do tanque principal

Tunnel passing through the central tank of AquaRio


Outra foto do túnel que passa por dentro do tanque principal do AquaRio

Another photo of the tunnel that passes through the main tank of AquaRio, one of the coolest moments of the tour

Just after the Ocean Tank, there are 3 touch tanks. In these tanks, the public can interact by touching on some sharks (!!), rays and invertebrates. But beware: there are scheduling restrictions for this activity, so find out as soon as you arrive, so you do not end up losing the chance to touch the animals. I also warn that there is also a restriction on the days: They close the tanks on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. It’s a shame for many who can only go on weekends.

Foto da área dos Tanques de Toque do AquaRio

AquaRio Touch Tank Area

Another cool thing about AquaRio is its technological structure with interactive facilities along the attractions so that the visitor has access to concepts and information about marine life.

One of the last parts of the AquaRio circuit is the Science Museum, with permanent and temporary exhibitions related to the aquatic environment. When we went, we visited the Surf Museum, dedicated to surf, of course (seriously!). There are photos and many historical boards, a collection of surfer Rico de Souza. Among them is the board used by Gabriel Medina at the stage of Fiji, where he became world champion in 2016!

Foto do Corredor inicial do museu do Surf no AquaRio

AquaRio Surf Museum’s opening corridor


Foto de algumas das pranchas do museu do Surf no AquaRio

Some of the boards of the AquaRio Surf Museum


Foto da prancha utilizada por Gabriel Medina na etapa de Fidji, na qual se tornou campeão mundial de 2016

A board used by Gabriel Medina at the Fidji stage, where he became world champion in 2016

At the end of the circuit, you can enjoy the store with exclusive products, cooling products, by the way. He wanted to buy everything!

Center for Scientific Research (Research and Quarantine Laboratory)

As we said at the beginning of the post, besides allowing your visitors to have contact with animals that would hardly have in their day to day, AquaRio also has a Center for Scientific Research. In the laboratory of the center, they grow microorganisms that are used to feed the fish and invertebrates of AquaRio. Another responsibility of the laboratory is to analyze the aquarium water and ensure its excellent quality.

Still attached to the research center, there is quarantine. It is nothing more than a “temporary home” for any animal that arrives at the aquarium. Here, fish and invertebrates are treated against parasites, bacteria, fungi and viruses that may be carrying “in the bag”. In this way, they avoid the transmission of these diseases to the other animals of AquaRio.

Activities at AquaRio

Visit Backstage

The activity was opened to the public in May of 2017, always on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. It will be possible to know the backstage through a guided tour so that the visitor can see near the equipment that treats the water of the enclosures, the work of biologists and some curiosities that exist behind his daily life. At the end of the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to see how they feed the fishes in the Great Ocean Tank.

Diving in the Ocean Tank

Soon the visitor can dive into the Ocean Tank amidst sharks, rays and shoals.

AquaRio Birthday Party

Have you thought about celebrating your children’s birthday in the largest marine aquarium in South America?

Sleeping in the Aquarium

Children up to 12 years old can spend the night in the tunnel that passes through the Great Ocean Tank. It will undoubtedly be an unforgettable adventure!

This activity takes place on Fridays between 6 pm and 8 am for the family with children between 5 and 12 years old and on Saturdays at the same time for children between 6 and 12 years old unaccompanied by their parents.

Environmental education

It is also important to highlight that AquaRio supports an Environmental Education Center and a Scientific Research Center that conducts scientific research on the management and maintenance of captive animals. There is direct contact with Universities and Research Centers, as is the case of the partnership with the Department of Marine Biology of UFRJ, department that I attended during my graduation.

I am a marine biologist and I have already attended many lectures by the creator of the project and current director and technical manager of AquaRio, Marcelo Szpilman, a very qualified marine biologist and specialist in sharks. I like to know that he is part of the team at Aquário Marinho do Rio. That is why I am confident in the work that is done there.

To know to love; to love to conserve

“To know to love, to love to conserve” – I believe that is the proposal of AquaRio, which is not a mere place of entertainment and fun, but an excellent opportunity for the public to have contact with marine life, to know it and to be enchanted. In this way, it becomes easier to arouse interest for its conservation. However, I consider the value of up to R $ 80.00 for the ticket so high that so many people have the possibility of having this environmental awareness.

We were at AquaRio by invitation and would like to thank them for the opportunity to bring this content more through our experience to you. 🙂

More Information about AquaRio

Hours and days of operation: every day from 10 am to 6 pm, with entrance until 5 pm.

Ticket Values:

Normal rate (if you are not a citizen of a Mercosul member country): R$ 100,00

Rate for citizen of a Mercosul member country: R$80,00

Rate for residents and people born in the State of Rio de Janeiro: R$ 60.00

Rates for children from 3 to 11 years old (Brazilian and foreign), young people from 12 to 21 years old (Brazilian), students from the State of Rio de Janeiro (any age), students up to 24 years old (Brazilians from other states, (Brazilians), people with disabilities (Brazilian and foreign): R$ 40,00 – do not forget to bring supporting document.

Gratuity: child under 3 years; tourist guide with a letter from the Ministry of Tourism (within validity, of course); municipal public servant of Rio de Janeiro (insolvency); accompanying person with a disability (gratuity for only 1 companion) – do not forget to bring supporting document

AquaRio offers an Associate Program, great for those who want to come back in a year. It works as follows: individual passport (R$ 220.00 with unlimited access for 12 months and can add 3 dependents at the time of purchase for R $ 80.00 each) and family passport (R$ 440 with unlimited access for 12 months for 4 people, the total of 2 people of any age and 2 children between 3 and 17 years).

How to buy: For better organization and control, tickets are sold on availability and with a scheduled time to enter (for example, between 11 am and 11:29 am), but you can stay until closing, do not worry. To buy in advance and with convenience, you can get the tickets including the transfer to and from your hotel through the banner below. And with that, you will still be helping us to continue producing content for the blog. If there is availability, you can also purchase tickets on the spot, but at the box office, they only accept cash, Visa and Mastercard credit cards and Visa Electron and Maestro debit cards.



Telephones: (21) 4063-3003/(11) 4412-5454


How to get to AquaRio

O AquaRio está localizado no final do Boulevard Olímpico, ao lado da praça Muhammad Ali, bem em frente aos Armazéns 7 e 8. Próximo ao MAR (Museu de Arte do Rio), Museu do Amanhã e do famoso painel criado pelo artista Kobra, o “Etnias” que é simplesmente o maior painel de grafite do mundo.

The AquaRio is located at the end of the Olympic Boulevard, next to Muhammad Ali Square, directly opposite Warehouses 7 and 8. Next to the MAR (Museum of Art of Rio), Museum of Tomorrow and the distinguished panel created by artist Kobra, “Etnias” which is merely the largest graphite panel in the world.

Address: Praça Muhammad Ali, Gambôa, Rio de Janeiro – RJ / Brasil, CEP: 20220-360


If you want to go from VLT to AquaRio, just pick up a composition from line 1 (the blue blue line). If you are near the “center” of the Rio (Carioca, Cinelandia, etc.), take the direction “Rodoviária | Formosa Beach. If you are already close to the bus station, head towards Santos Dumont Airport and in both cases, hop on the Utopia AquaRio stop, it is between the Navios stop and Cidade do Samba stop. The station is approximately 200 meters away from the Marine Aquarium of Rio (really close!).

For those who have never used the VLT, it is essential to know it right about it, because it is not like buses, with bill collectors. That is, it is necessary to have a pass card that can be obtained at the stations themselves.


It is possible to use as lines 1 and 2, just jump in the stations Cinelândia or Carioca and do integration with VLT, taking the line 1 in direction Direction | Praia Formosa and salting at Utopia AquaRio station.


If you like cycling, there is a BikeRio station directly in front of the AquaRio, as well as a tourist district (remember that there is a limited number of places).


The number of parking spaces is quite limited, and parking is costly. That is, the most suitable is public transportation. Anyway, a parking entrance on the way to the service next to the square Muhammad Ali, near the year 450 years on Via Binário.


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