AFRICARIUM is Poland's first oceanarium and the only one in the world devoted to the flora and fauna of just one continent. The most fascinating and at the same time endangered species of the Dark Continent are presented on almost 2.5 acres(10,000 m²), under one roof. As a result, we can admire five diversified ecosystems associated with aquatic environment of Africa under the general theme “life-giving waters of Africa”!
Radosław Ratajszczak, the president of Zoo Wroclaw LLC, was the originator and author of all the venture concepts, including the name AFRYKARIUM itself- the combination of the words Africa and aquarium.
Africarium is a presentation of various ecosystems associated with the aquatic environment of the Dark Continent, following the general theme “life-giving waters of Africa”. An architectural competition to design the building was held at the beginning of 2008; fourteen projects were submitted, of which the jury selected the project by Wrocławska Fabryka Projektowa ArC2. The preparation of the detailed executive project lasted nearly 4 years. Finally the construction of the Africarium started towards the end of March 2012, and was completed in October 2014.
The project not only reflects in detail the ecosystems of Africa- guaranteeing the visitors an unforgettable experience of the wilderness- but it also takes into account the location of the building, which is part of the urban design of a German architect Max Berg from 1910.
The building stands along the north-south axis, forming a harmonious composition with the Centennial Hall and Pergola. The length of the Africarium is equal to the diagonal of the Centennial Hall. The Africarium has a reinforced concrete structure and concrete surfaces-extending the innovative design of the German architect into the 21st century. The black colour of the facade is essential, as it alludes to the character of the Dark Continent. The main concept of the animal displays and the viewing areas is immersion-a sort of design intended to immerse the visitors in the same natural biotope as the animal. This biocentric approach allows the animals to live like in the wild, shifting humans into the the position of guests and observers. This amazing experience makes a long lasting impression, giving the visitors marvelous memories for the future. Thanks to the elevators and ramps,the building is fully accessible to people with disabilities.
The tour path winds for almost a kilometre and runs through entire Africa – from Northeast, through Central to West, bypassing Sahara, visiting five regions of the Dark Continent. Each region is an endangered ecosystem, inhabited by spectacular animals.
Our journey starts at the beaches of the Red Sea, and then gradually submerges into its waters, to the coral reef of countless splashingly colourful fish.
Further down the path you will find yourself in East Africa taking an underwater walk in the Nile along with the hippos. The tour continues on through the Great Lakes of Tanganyika and Malawi, allows a peek into the aardvarks burrow and naked mole rats tunnels, to resurface into the grasslands home of dik-diks.
We leave East Africa passing under the 8 meter high waterfall and descend deep into the Mozambique Channel. Walking through the 18 meter long acrylic tunnel gives a thrilling experience of being underwater, and having sharks and rays at your fingertips.
From the depths of the Mozambique Channel, we move to the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, where we can admire the frolics of African penguins and South African fur seals, through the huge acrylic viewing panes of the shipwreck.
The Congo Rainforest is the last land we visit, with the temperature reaching 30ºC, and humidity of 60%. Surrounded by exotic vegetation and free flying birds, we meet at last two very different species living side by side here- deadly crocodiles and docile manatees.
The Africarium is a mosaic where every ecosystem is a new adventure - a variety of animals, plants and naturalistic displays plus specific weather conditions paint an authentic picture of Africa.
- Building's area: 10 000 m²
- Building's cubic capacity: more than 184 000 m³
- Building's length: 160 m
- Building's width: 54 m
- Volume of water in the tanks ∼13 600 m³ + 5 000 m³ in filtering installations
- Volume of individual pools:
- Red Sea pool∼ 900 m³
- sharks pool ∼ 3 100 m³
- hippos pool∼ 715 m³
- manatees pools ∼1250 m³
- crocodiles pool ∼260 m³
- South African fur seals pool ∼3 600 m³
- African penguins pool ∼2460 m³