Israel Aquarium

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Israel Aquarium
Jerusalem Aquarium entrance.jpg
Israel Aquarium entrance
Date openedJune 19, 2017
LocationJerusalem , Israel
Coordinates31°44′46.4″N 35°10′38.7″E / 31.746222°N 35.177417°E / 31.746222; 35.177417Coordinates: 31°44′46.4″N 35°10′38.7″E / 31.746222°N 35.177417°E / 31.746222; 35.177417
Land area6.5 dunams

The Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium, Jerusalem is a public aquarium in Israel inaugurated on 19.6.2017. The aquarium focuses on Israel's marine environment - the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea as well as on the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The aquarium was built by the Tish Family Zoological Gardens (the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem) and is located next to it, but stands on its own as a separate tourist attraction. The aquarium will open to the general public for a running in period during the summer of 2017.[1][2]

History and Aquarium Construction[edit]

In 2008, after the Biblical Zoo received a tract of expansion land, a long process of planning the zoo's future began, including the expansion area. A long and collaborative research process, culminated in the report of the Zoo’s International Zoological Committee. It was decided that the first "anchor project" in the expansion area of the Biblical Zoo would be the aquarium. The decision to develop the aquarium arose for several reasons. In parallel to the discussion on the future development of the zoo, Israel’s National Biodiversity Plan was completed and approved, with special emphasis on preserving the marine environment in Israel. A prominent recommendation in this plan was to establish the first aquarium in Israel to promote public awareness of the preservation of marine habitats and species. At the same time, it was hoped that the aquarium would establish breeding cores and conduct education and research in this field. The recommendations of this plan, written by the Ministry of the Environment, were adopted by the Government of Israel.

As one of the leading institutions in nature conservation in Israel, the Biblical Zoo decided to promote the establishment of the first aquarium in Israel The establishment of the aquarium was in line with planning the future of the zoo, as the aquarium completes the experience of the zoo. The zoo is a major tourist attraction in Jerusalem and in Israel, and will therefore contribute to tourism and the economy in the city. After the establishment of the aquarium, and after understanding the zoo's various needs and objectives, it will continue to add further attractions such as a 'Night Safari', a Butterfly House, a nature conservation high school and more.

In order to establish the aquarium in Jerusalem, the zoo management began a comprehensive study of the subject with the understanding that the aquarium to be built is the first in Israel. From the outset it was decided that the aquarium will focus on presenting the habitats and marine environment of Israel. The project was awarded the temporary name "Sea Israel" or "Yam LeYam" and at the same time a preliminary sum of money was raised to examine the feasibility of the idea. After completion of the initial planning process, in collaboration with OK Bay Consulting in Oklahoma, USA, the program was presented to the Gottesman Family Foundation, in New York, USA, which approved the project and agreed to donate $11 million.[3]

Led by the Biblical Zoo, the Gottesman Family of New York and donors from Israel and around the world joined forces with the zoo and with the assistance of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Tourism, and the total cost of construction stands at 100 million ILS. The entire project was designed by architect Lenny Raviv of the Raviv Tal architects, together with OK Bay Consulting and with the assistance of the zoo staff, consultants and experts from around the world.

Structure of the aquarium[edit]

The entrance hall

The aquarium is built on an area of 6,500 square meters and includes entrance and offices.

Entrance Hall[edit]

The entrance hall includes an information booth and locker room. This hall contains the first exhibit - a schooling display with hundreds of fish swimming to the right and marking the beginning of the route.

Four Seas of Israel Gallery[edit]

This gallery presents the seas of Israel - the Sea of Galilee, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee exhibit displays cichlid fish (Jordan St. Peter’s fish) and the Dead Sea has a dry exhibit framed. In the Mediterranean Sea exhibit, presented in seaside ruins that resemble the Caesarea area, contains gilt-head sea bream (Denis) fish. In the Red Sea, several dozen lionfish of two species fascinate by gliding up and down a central column of colorful corals.

Mediterranean Coast Exhibit[edit]

This exhibit presents the Israeli seashore that is divided into two habitats - the rocky seashore and the sandy beach.

Discovery Gallery[edit]

The Discovery Gallery contains various smaller exhibits that seek to introduce unique aspects of marine habitats. In the first exhibit you can see a shipwreck and a gas or oil drill, and a band of barbed wire. In the open pool you can feed common stingrays. Around the pool different exhibits contain seahorses, stonefish, frogfish and ribbon eels.

Mediterranean Sea Gallery[edit]

The gallery begins with Mediterranean fish species such as mullet and continues with ray and eel species.

The exhibit also includes a huge tank of 1,500,000 liters of water with an underwater viewing tunnel and a large hall with a huge viewing window measuring 17 meters long and 5 meters high.

Suez Canal Film Gallery[edit]

The Gallery connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea presents a four-minute film documentary explaining the construction of the Suez Canal and its environmental effects. The film focuses mainly on the phenomenon of Lessepsian migration - migration of species from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

First Red Sea Gallery[edit]

In this gallery you can see hundreds of clownfish (immortalized in the film "Finding Nemo"). These fish came from a special breeding farm in the Arava. In this gallery there are other species such as Naso tangs and a unique[citation needed] exhibit of living corals.

Jellyfish Gallery[edit]

A special hallway lit in a unique way with different species of jellyfish.

Second Red Sea Gallery[edit]

At the base of this gallery is a huge 25-meter exhibit showing the coral reefs of the Red Sea off the beaches of the city of Eilat. The exhibition includes hundreds of fish of different species, such as clown coris, zebra sharks, porcupine fish, puffer fish, sergeant fish, triggerfish, colorful wrasses and more.

This gallery continues with an exhibit of lobster and eel species.

Shell Collection[edit]

The aquarium features a large collection of shells from around the world.


  1. ^ "National aquarium set to make waves in Jerusalem". Israel21c. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  2. ^ "Sea Israel: The Gottesman Aquarium to open in Jerusalem". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  3. ^ "National aquarium set to make waves in Jerusalem". Israel21c. Retrieved 2017-06-17.