I was really happy to find out that there’s an aquarium in Hradec Kralove (it’s just a 15-20 minutes drive from Pardubice). What an amazing place to visit with the kids on a weekend, when the weather’s not particularly nice for walking outside! Moreover, it says on their website that it is a ‘Giant Aquarium’. Of course, I didn’t expect this place to be something like a London or Shanghai aquarium – it is located in a small town at the end. On another hand, with Prague Zoo being in the Top 10 of the Best Zoo’s in the World and Dvur Kralove nad Labem Safari boasting the largest collection of African animals in Europe, I thought there can be something very interesting there.
We realised that we probably had a wrong picture in our minds, when we reached our destination. The place looked more like a private home than a large aquarium building.
The girl, selling the tickets, was really polite and spoke English. The tickets, in my opinion, were too expensive for this kind of aquarium, but the place is privately owned, so I guess they’re trying to have enough funds to support it.
The first room you enter is an exhibition hall, which hosted a number of various fish skulls at that time. I must say that these particular exhibits were completely ignored by our small kids, but that was to be expected. Then you enter the second room and this is where the Giant Aquarium is located.
Yes, it is a large, tunnel shaped aquarium with a lot of tropical fish species. But that’s just it, just this one aquarium. There’re scheduled ‘guided tours’, when a lady would tell you in Czech about the inhabitants of this aquarium, or you could also get a page with the info in English. However, if you visit with kids, they’re highly unlikely to stand there and listen to detailed descriptions of various species. Ours had a look and enjoyed the place for a 5 minute max. Then it was time to move on.
There’s a staircase leading to the first floor, where you can look into this same aquarium from above. This room is filled with different tropical plants and feels hot and humid, resembling an atmosphere of tropical jungle.
This was also a fun place to hang out for several minutes. And that was basically the end to our visit. Of course, I have to mention that there’s a shop, where you can buy fish, a cafe with piranhas and a family fitness centre with sauna. We didn’t use any of those facilities though. You can find more details about the place on their website.
All I want to say is that sometimes high expectations can get in a way. This Aquarium is well managed by the owners and I’m sure they have an interesting selection of tropical fish. I just somehow pictured something different in my head, when I read ‘giant’. You could definitely visit the place, but I’d suggest to go there maybe on a sunny day and combine this activity with going, let’s say, to the Hradec Kralove old town. In this case, you’d have a more fulfilling trip.