On our recent trip to Lyon, MBFF was treated to some tickets to experience the 🐟 Aquarium de Lyon. Did you think that aquariums were the reserve of 🌊 sea or ocean located cities? Think again – though Lyon is far from the sea or ocean, do remember that this beautiful city is located at the 💦 strategic confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and this aquarium explores that very fact (and much, much more!).
The MBFF family has visited a few aquariums on our travels (the 🐠 aquariums of 🇮🇹 Genova and Livorno in Italy, the fabulous 🇿🇦 Cape Town aquarium in South Africa), but we never tire of them; there is always something new to visit and experience in each unique spot! And so we were excited to visit the 🐟 Aquarium in Lyon. And, as we were staying in a hotel near the Confluence district, a visit to the nearby aquarium was immensely practical, and even more so as we had some ☔️ rainy afternoons to fill – it was the perfect escape!
With its unique location in Rhône-Alpes, at the 🐟 Aquarium de Lyon, you will discover the fish of the 💦 different rivers in France and Europe, and 🐠 fish and aquatic life from all over the world, from freshwater to sea water species: from lakes and rivers, oceans, seas, and of coral reefs too . . .
🐟 the aquarium in facts and figures:
- 💦 more than 1 million litres of water;
- 2500 m² of visitor space and 2500 m² of behind the scenes space;
- 💦 40 aquariums, with 🦈 350 different species of aquatic life;
- 🐠 5000 aquatic animals;
There are FOUR separate exhibition rooms:
- Salle 1 : Espace de la Confluence (eaux douces tempérées) / temperate freshwater;
- Salle 2 : Espace des eaux douces tropicales / tropical freshwater;
- Salle 3 : Espace des récifs du monde / coral reefs of the world;
- Salle 4 : Espace des curiosités marines (eaux de mers) / curious marine life;
The 💦 rivers of France . . . I found it fascinating to observe the different sized 🐟 fish inhabiting the rivers of France . . . (later on our Lyon visit, we discovered that many of the 🛴 new electric trottinettes in town sadly also inhabit its rivers!).
The 🦈 big shark aquarium is much like a cinema, where you can observe a zebra shark, a black-tip shark and a nurse shark cohabiting with other species . . . you can sit and watch the action constantly unfolding before you . . . we spent much time mesmerised (I was lulled into near sleep here – in a good way! – and could definitely have stretched out and had a 💤 snooze . . .).
In the 🐠 tropical zone, we came across many colourful aquatic species, including Nemo (clownfish) and the fascinating, at risk and adorable axolotl, a lake dwelling amphibian from Mexico (and my new ‘A animal’ for the animal alphabet game!).
Just before the end of our parcours, we came to the tactile section of the aquarium, where we were allowed to stroke (gently!) the starfish (we very nearly had some wet sleeves here . . .).
[ good to know: learn more about the fascinating work that goes on behind the scenes of the aquarium here (quarantine of animals, filtering of the water, cleaning, feeding) ]
Features of the aquarium for families
The 🐟 Aquarium de Lyon is well-equipped for families! Here are some of the additional features:
- 🎥 cinema – a welcome rest after walking around Lyon all morning, was for us the cinema! We settled into our comfortable seats and watched 4 short films, including the fabulous 🎬 Château de Sable . . .
- ABC aquatic alphabet – we had fun finding aquatic words beginning with the first letter of our names . . .
- 🎲game – an aquatic Jeu de l’Oie type of game . . .
- 🎨 L’Aquarium Virtuel & drawing area – children choose an animal to colour and then they scan their finished picture and then see it come alive on the screen!
- 🖐tactile zone – you get to stroke starfish here;
- 🦈 shark feeding & guided tours – check the schedule for this!
- 🎃 special holiday programmes – if you visit the aquarium during the school holidays, check for special activities! We were there just before Halloween, and the aquarium had been given a spooky makeover!
MBFF tips for visiting en famille
- 🎫 buy tickets online – tickets are cheaper to buy online J-2 before your visit! / see here;
- ⏰ length of visit – depending on the age of your children (and your pace), expect to spend about 2 hours here;
- 🎁 shop – like most tourist destinations, you exit via the shop, so be prepared for this! We came away with some super older children’s bath toys (small fish and aquatic animals);
- ☕️ food – there is a snack bar on-site (but no restaurant) / you could eat on-site (check opening), or plan to come early and then eat lunch elsewhere, or come after lunch (this is what we did);
Things to see and do nearby
🖼 Musée des Confluences – do not miss the chance to visit this absolutely fabulous museum of mankind! This is one of my favourite museums in the word! / see website;
🖼 Imagine Picasso at La Sucrière – immerse yourselves entirely in the works of Picasso at this old sugar depot by the river! Innovative! / website;
🏢 Confluence area – where the Rhône and Saône rivers converge, this former industrial area of Lyon, which housed the city’s wholesale market, factories, prisons and the Port Rambaud, is now full of contemporary and bold architecture. As the factories began to shut at the end of the 20th century, a huge urbanisation development took form, with leading international architects Christian de Portzamparc, Kengo Kuma and Massimiliano Fuksas involved . . . As well as the buildings, the area is at the cutting edge of ecology, with some eco zones with lakes and wetland wildlife! You will also find a huge shopping and eating centre – Confluences: Pôle de Commerces et de Loisirs Confluence;
🌳 Berges du Rhône – from the Musée des Confluences, you can stroll across the Pont Raymond-Barre and then walk along the Berges du Rhone;
You can get to the aquarium most easily by 🚌 bus (arrêt Bastero Aquarium), from the central squares in Lyon, or by 🚎 tramline T1 (arrêt nearby Musée de Confluence, then short walk – we opted for this, though it was a bit stressful as there are lots of 🚧 roadworks going on nearby!) or 🚘 by car (300 free parking spaces). If you are staying in the Confluence area, you can🚶♂️walk there.
[ 🗺 for an interactive map for planning your journey, see here ]
🚌 bus routes:
from Place Bellecour: bus line C10 direction Saint Genis Laval (arrêt Bastero Aquarium), bus line 88 direction Saint Genis Gadagne, (arrêt Maison du Confluent), bus line 15 direction Irigny Haut de Selettes (arrêt Maison du Confluent);
from Gare Perrache: bus line 8 direction Oullins Clement Desormes (arrêt Bastero Aquarium), bus line 63 direction Pont d’Oullins (arrêt Bastero Aquarium);
from Gare Part Dieu: bus line C7 direction Hôpital Lyon Sud (arrêt Bastero Aquarium);
website: https://www.aquariumlyon.fr / FB page ; address: 7 rue Stéphane Déchant, La Mulatière, Lyon 69350; tel: 04 72 66 65 66;