World’s Largest Aquarium to Open Next Month

Last year, we wrote about how the UAE was on course to unveil the world’s largest aquarium. And now, there’s a date: Tuesday, the 23rd of May, 2023.

  • The world’s largest aquarium will bear the controversial SeaWorld name.
  • SeaWorld Abu Dhabi promises engaging and immersive underwater experiences.
  • It’s hoped that the SeaWorld-branded attraction will focus on conservation after years of criticism over keeping orcas.

Island location? Check. Colossal near-60-million-litre aquarium? Check. Tens of thousands of individual fish? Check, check, check…

It seems that the United Arab Emirates-based SeaWorld Abu Dhabi on Yas Island will to deliver everything it promised when we wrote about it last year. Crucially, it’s also moving well away from keeping orcas and other practices that have seen SeaWorld attractions elsewhere around the world boycotted.

Turning the Tide on the SeaWorld Name?

So, could SeaWorld Abu Dhabi see the tide finally turn on the negative connotations tied to the name at the heart of the 2013 documentary film Blackfish? Perhaps. However, the fact that SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will house sea turtles is a worry. As we’ve said previously, hopefully, this is only happening on a rescue, rehabilitation, and release basis.

We shall see. The construction of the accompanying Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue certainly bodes well. The facility will be the UAE’s first dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation, and return centre.

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi Realms

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will exist across eight so-called realms. These eight realms are:

  • Abu Dhabi Ocean
  • Endless Ocean
  • Micro Ocean
  • One Ocean
  • Polar Ocean Antarctica
  • Polar Ocean Arctic
  • Rocky Point
  • Tropical Ocean

Alongside a 58-million-litre centrepiece aquarium and split across five floors, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will house various amphibians and reptiles (including the aforementioned sea turtles). Since last year, it’s also been announced that SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be home to walruses, various strictly land-dwelling species, and birds such as flamingos and puffins.

World’s Biggest Aquarium

At 58 million litres, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi’s centrepiece will be nine million litres bigger than the world’s current largest aquarium. That’s the 49-million-litre tank at the rightly criticised Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China. It’ll also be over three times the size of the one-time world’s biggest fish tank at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago in the United States, which holds a mere by comparison 19 million litres.

Impressive facts and figures aside, there’s no escaping the fact that this is still a SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment venture. In fact, it’s being officially marketed as a “marine life theme park” rather than solely an aquarium. With that, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will boast fairground-style rides, more than a dozen retail outlets, and a frankly staggering 17 different dining options.

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi Tickets

And last but by no means least (quite literally) – ticket prices. Adult SeaWorld Abu Dhabi one-day tickets cost 375 Arab Emirates dirhams or just over £80 at today’s exchange rate. Meanwhile, junior one-day tickets cost 290 Arab Emirates dirhams – roughly £65.

Accordingly, a typical family of four will need to splash out almost £300 for tickets to spend the day at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi when it opens later next month.


But at least car parking is free…

Find out more at