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SO KUALA LUMPUR HAS A NEW AQUARIUM -- WHAT IS IT LIKE EXACTLY, & HOW DOES IT COMPARE WITH OTHERS IN MALAYSIA AND THE WIDER WORLD? As someone who has taken in his fair share of aquariums over the years, from Australia to the shores of Japan and the murky depths of London, I admit that I am impressed by the location of KLCC Aquaria. This is indeed set within one of the most futuristic techscapes in the world -- at the foot of two of the tallest buildings on Earth, & at the heart of the most happening city in Asia! The twin Petronas Towers are well worth a visit in their own right, so if you are in the area you might as well also check out Suria KLCC and its attendant aquarium. But back to my original point -- how does KLCC Aquaria compare with aquariums around the world and inside Malaysia? When I visited the aquarium at the Sunshine Tower in Ikebukuro in Japan back in 2003, I described it as "Tokyo's Aquarium in the Clouds". You have always got to have a motto when you are running an aquarium, you have always got to have some novelty factor. At KLCC Aquaria they have branded themselves An Ocean of Discovery. Which as mottoes go, is not that bad. Not as catchy as "The Aquarium in the Clouds", and it would have been cool to think what would have happened had KLCC Aquaria been constructed on the top floors of the Twin Towers, with dolphins jumping high over the city streets and penquins sunning themselves on ledges hundreds of meters above the crowded streets (you can see all of this at Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo.) Nonetheless, KLCC Aquaria is kind of cool. According to one visitor, yoongkhean, this place is not just cool, it is unique. Yoongkhean's site is pretty unique as well -- there are plenty good photos taken at KLCC Aquaria. Yoongkhean writes:

"Since I was a kid, I've always had this curiosity in the ocean and its inhabitants. Back then, watching weekly episodes of National Geographic, hoping that there was a feature on ocean life, and bugging my parents to buy me books on the same subject, was all I had to be contented with. It was as though the ocean itself is a great mystery, concealing all the wonders beneath, waiting to be discovered by man himself.

"Recently, the much awaited KLCC Aquaria was launched. The first of its kind, the aquarium is located in the hustle and bustle of the city, in this case, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Not wasting a moment, I jumped on the opportunity to experience the aquarium first hand..."

Never before have such a wide variety of sealife been presented to the Malaysian people, as Yoongkhean rightly points out. Aquaria KLCC is smaller than the aquariums in Sydney and Singapore but it's still worth going to, at least once.

a q u a r i a + c o m p a r i s o n s

OKAY, SO WE HAVE HAD SOME FIRST IMPRESSIONS ABOUT AQUARIA KLCC -- NOW HOW ABOUT SOME FACTS? Well, if it is facts that you desire, then it is facts that I can deliver! Or rather, Kahsonn can deliver, thus spraken:

Kahsoon writes: "The Living Oceans concept is not new to most Malaysians, especially those who have been abroad. But, what makes it special is its long tunnel -- made out of 90m of fibreglass.

"It's the largest in South-East Asia," said Aquaria KLCC's managing director and CEO Terry O'Boyle. "The longest in the world is in the United States and that measures 120m."

"The Aquaria houses over 3000 marine creatures of various shapes and sizes in a simulated natural habitat. The tunnel is 1.8m high, and visitors can step on a moving walkway and stop off at different spots anytime to view animals gliding and swimming.

"The 55mm-thick tunnel is curved, made to withstand an enormous amount of pressure from the 2.7 million litres of water that fills The Living Oceans aquarium. The glass is custom-made in Germany. It was then shipped to New Zealand and shaped to curve the correct way, then shipped to Malaysia where it was then assembled," O'Boyle said.

The tunnel had to be fitted very carefully, around Aquaria's high columns, which serve as support structures. Because of this, the moving walkway that was originally planned had to be redesigned."

You get the picture -- get on a moving walkway, and cruise slowly through an oceanic wonderland. Apart from the walkway, there are other zones inside the aquarium -- six of them in all in fact. As you move from zone to zone, you are essentially taken on a journey through a variety of ecosystems, ranging from deepsea (the tunnel) to the jungle to the highlands. So you can see this is not a pure 100 per cent aquarium, because there are plenty of landlubbin' critters on show here as well! The aquarium takes up the lower level of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, which is equally fancy and new. Covering 60,000 square feet, the aquarium is expected to attract 1.5 million annual visitors.

As well as the rare Sand Tiger Sharks from South Africa, the aquarium is home to monkey-eating catfish from Endau Rompin, sharks from Singapore and the endangered fresh water tortoise called Chitra-Chitra which were saved from the cooking pot, to enjoy a new life in the Ocean of Discovery, beneath the Twin Towers.

a q u a r i a + e v e n t s

THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING GOING ON IN KUALA LUMPUR, AND AQUARIA KLCC MAKES A COOL PLACE TO HANG OUT, GO ON A DATE, ETC. Here are some of the current and upcoming events happening at the aquarium:

Reptilian Encounter: For the full month of March 2006, the sealife of Aquaria KLCC are joined by some of the stars of the reptile world. Some of the attractions of this exhibit include big Burmese pythons, a 26-foot long reticulated python, deadly King cobras, the rare and strange Albino cobra, and other non-legged animals.

Welcoming the Sharks: This is taken from the official website: "Five rare Sand Tiger Sharks were warmly welcomed by Aquaria KLCC on the 28th of May 2005. Flown all the way from Johannesburg, by MASKargo, the sharks appeared healthy and active when placed inside the aquarium. Each shark measured approximately 1.5 meters to 2.7 meters in length, while weighing between 80 to 120 kilogrammes."

t h e + o t h e r + a q u a r i u m

WITH ALL OF THIS HYPE, YOU WOULD THINK THAT AQUARIA KLCC WAS THE FIRST AQUARIUM EVER OPENED IN MALAYSIA. But of course that is not true, there is another aquarium in the KL area, coupled with the city zoo. Located 13 kilometers north^east of Kuala Lumpur, the National Zoo and Aquarium contains hundreds of different species of animals, birds, and reptiles. The aquarium has an extensive collection of marine and freshwater species. Both the Zoo and Aquarium are open daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission: RM5 (Adult), RM2 (Child).

e x p e r t s + s a y

AS THE EXPERTS SAY: "Akuarium yang terletak di tingkat bawah tanah mempamerkan pelbagai jenis hidupan marin dan batu karang, AQUARIA@KLCC akan menggunakan teknologi multi-media canggih di mana pengunjung dapat menikmati pengalaman menarik hidupan dasar laut. Antara tarikannya ialah pengunjung dapat menyentuh dan memegang beberapa hidupan laut, berenang bersama jerung dan mempelajari secara lebih dekat kajian saintifik hidupan dasar laut. Terowong "Laluan bergerak" akan membawa para pengunjung ke akuarium ini bagi menikmati keadaan sebenar hidupan laut dalam yang amat menarik. Terdapat lebih daripada 3,000 spesis hidupan marin seperti jerung besar, ikan pari dan belut elektrik berenang dengan bebas.

"Semua bentuk pameran hidup dan interaktif di akuarium ini direka khas untuk memberi keseronokan dan pengalaman pembelajaran hidupan marin kepada para pengunjung."

Writes Dentik News (Jalan-jalan ke Aquaria Malaysia, Kok Serasa di Seaworld Ancol, November 13 2007): "Menginjakkan kaki di tempat pembelian tiket, tidak ada antrean panjang seperti yang sempat terbersit di pikiran. Malah termasuk sepi. Hanya beberapa wisatawan asing saja yang berniat menjenguk ikan-ikan dalam aquarium raksasa itu.

"Wah, ternyata tiket masuk Aquaria untuk wisatawan asing cukup mahal. Untuk dewasa dikenai tarif RM 38 atau sekitar Rp 104.500. Untuk anak-anak yang berusia 3-12 tahun tiket masuk seharga RM 26 atau senilai Rp 71.500.

"Sedangkan bagi warga negara Malaysia yang membawa MyKad atau KTP untuk tiket dewasa RM 28 dan anak-anak RM 22. Anehnya, tidak terlalu banyak orang Malaysia yang berkunjung ke sini. Padahal wartawan detikcom Arin Widiyanti berkunjung pada Minggu 11 November 2007 sore sekitar pukul 16.00 waktu setempat.

"Setelah melepas uang RM 38, wisatawan langsung memasuki ruang pameran. Suasana yang didapat tak terlalu asing. Serasa di Seaworld Ancol, Jakarta Utara yang mulai beroperasi pada 1992. Suasana dibuat gelap sehingga hanya cahaya dari dalam kolam yang menyinari ruangan...

"Bosan memandang, kaki melangkah ke aquarium raksasa. Seperti di Seaworld Ancol juga, suasana dibuat temaram untuk menambah kenikmatan mata melihat 283 spesies laut yang dipamerkan. Di bawah naungan aquarium raksasa, pengunjung seperti berada di dalam perut laut.

"Pengunjung tidak perlu repot-repot berjalan untuk menikmati pemandangan dalam aquarium. Pengunjung cukup berdiri, biar eskalator mendatar yang mengantar pengunjung mengelilingi terowongan bawah air.

"Selagi menikmati ikan yang wara-wiri... wah, seekor hiu besar melintas. Di badannya menempel 3 ekor ikan yang imut-imut..."

v i s i t o r + i n f o

HOW TO GET TO AQUARIA KLCC: Aquaria's main entrance is at Jalan Pinang opposite UOA Building. The west entrance is through the underpass tunnel connecting from the concourse level of Suria KLCC (next to Tower Records) to the KL Convention Centre. There is also another west entrance via the KLCC Park leading to the KL Convention. Centre.

Admission Fees    
RM 38
With MyKad
RM 28
RM 26
With MyKid
RM 22
Terms & Conditions
Free entrance for children below 3 years old
Children fee applicable for those aged 3 – 12 years
Standard rates apply to those without MyKad/MyKid
Last ticket sales & admission at 9.00 pm

Contact us by email:
phone: (090) 6039-9341 (JAPAN)