Aquariums are incredible ecosystems of marine life that we can see close up and personal. These translucent worlds in transparent tanks are home to fish, invertebrates, amphibians, aquatic reptiles, and plants that are essential for the underwater circle of life.

Size is relative when it comes to aquariums. From the largest and best aquariums in the world to a home fish tank or fish bowl, they are an enclosed ecosystem that brings both joy and knowledge.  

United States: Georgian Aquarium

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Georgian Aquarium in Atlanta is one of the best and largest aquariums in the world, home to over 100,000 sea creatures. Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus is a major shareholder and funded the aquarium to the tune of $250 million in donations. This aquarium is the only one that houses whales and sharks in its 6.3 million-gallon ocean exhibit tank.

Australia: Aquarium of Western Australia

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The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) is the largest on the Aussie continent. Opened in 1988 and located in the suburb of Perth Coastal, its capacity is 793,000 gallons of seawater. The striking features are the walk-through underwater tunnel filled with tropical fish. Home to over 400 marine species, it offers an amazing underwater adventure.

Italy: Aquarium of Genoa

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At around 1 million gallons of water, the Aquarium of Genoa is the largest aquarium in Italy. Every year, more than 1.2 million sea-loving tourists visit the aquarium in the old harbor area of Genoa, Italy. It has the largest exhibit of biodiversity, providing habitat to 6,000 sea animals. For the courageous, you can even pet a stingray, take an underwater tour, and take candid photographs of sharks, seals and dolphins.  

China: Shanghai Aquarium

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Shanghai Aquarium is among the largest aquariums in the world and boasts the longest tunnel in the world at 168 meters. Through the tunnel, visitors engage with the open ocean, coastal reef, shark and kelp coves and a coral reef. The impressive displays of Asia fish delight marine life lovers. These include the rare and precious species of the Yangtze River, along with exhibits of dolphins and sharks.

South Africa: uShaka Marine World Aquarium

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uShaka Marine World Aquarium in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa is among the best and most significant in the world. From Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild, and Animal Encounters to the Village Walk, Chimp & Zee, and Dangerous Creatures, there is something for all ages. The park is home to over 10,000 animals on 40 acres. A unique dining experience is the Cargo Hold, a restaurant in which sharks swim by as you dine.

United Arab Emirates: Dubai Mall Aquarium

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The Dubai Mall Aquarium is a suspended, 264-million-gallon water world, making it the biggest aquarium in the world. Approximately 400 sharks, 33,000 marine animals and over 140 species are on display. The aquarium prides itself on its sizeable group of Sand Tiger sharks. And it, too, has an underwater tunnel beneath a stingray and shark-filled tank. Not for the squeamish are the creepy crawly zones with snakes. There is also a Cage Snorkelling Experience for those who seek total immersion in the tank, while a glass bottom boat brings the ocean to life at your feet. Of course, there is extensive retail shopping, as the aquarium is located on the Ground Level of the Dubai Mall. This aquarium is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.

Aquariums offer us a small glimpse of undersea life in an ecosystem that is vast and stunning. The knowledge, education and respect that aquariums give its visitors are crucial if we are to coexist with other species.