Dubai Aquarium - Guide for Tourists

Page update - Sep 30, 2022

The huge aquarium is an important part in the tourists entertainment program at the Dubai Mall. But in addition to the aquarium, there is also a zoo. The aquarium can be viewed not only from one side, but also from the underwater tunnel. If you wish, you can swim with the sharks and even feed them. We will talk in detail about the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo on this page.

As of September 2022, the Dubai Mall Aquarium is open to the public. Starting September 28, 2022, all the emirates, including Dubai, have abolished the requirement to wear masks in stores and malls, cafes and restaurants, hotels. Accordingly, it is now possible to visit the Dubai Mall Aquarium without a mask and without the risk of a fine.

Is it really the largest in the world?

Many websites on the Internet write that the Dubai Mall Aquarium is the largest in the world. If you look at the ratings of aquariums, you won't find it in first place anywhere. Who is right?

Of course, the Dubai Mall Aquarium cannot claim to be the largest aquarium, and never has been. There are only 2,64 million gallons (10 million liters) of water, which by modern standards is a modest figure.

Dubai Mall Aquarium could became the biggest aquarium. It was planned as such, but fate had other plans. The Americans were ahead of the plan and managed to open the aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, before the opening of the Dubai Mall.

In brief, the Dubai Mall Aquarium is not a record holder in terms of size, although it does have one official world record under its belt. Which one is it? Read on.

Find your flight

Figures and facts

The record belongs to the main glass through which visitors of the Dubai Mall look into the aquarium. It is the largest monolithic plate of acrylic glass in the world. It is 108 feet (33 meters) long, 28 feet (8.5 meters) high and 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) thick. Weight - 245 tons. Acrylic glass is well known to most readers, also it is called the word "plexiglass".

This acrylic plate can withstand an enormous mass of water. The aquarium measures 164x65x36 feets (51x20x11 meters) and holds 2,64 million gallons (10 million liters) of water.

The Dubai Mall Aquarium now (year 2022) holds the fourth place in the world by volume of water. 1st - Georgia Aquarium, USA (6.3 million gallons, 23.8 million liters), 2nd - Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, China (6 million gallons, 22.7 million liters), 3rd - S.E.A. Aquarium, Singapore (4.8 million gallons, 18.1million liters).

There is an underwater tunnel 157 feet (48 meters) long. It is also not a record, recall that the aquarium in Shanghai has a tunnel 508 feet (155 meters) long.

The aquarium is so high that it is located on two floors of the Dubai Mall. The Underwater Zoo is located on the third floor. There are 140 species, about 33,000 animals, in the aquarium and zoo.

The administration claims that there are about 300 sharks and rays in the aquarium at one time. This figure is difficult to comment on, we have not counted. There is the largest population of sharks of the species common sand shark. Of course, this is not the largest shark in the world, but the size is impressive - 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long and 350 pounds (160 kilograms) in weight.

The most troubled aquarium

The Dubai Mall Aquarium was in trouble even before it opened.

In 2008, as soon as the aquarium was inhabited, sand sharks began killing and eating reef sharks (pictured right, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen). This behavior of sharks is not common, and ocean scientists still dispute the reasons

On February 26, 2010, a real emergency happened. Acrylic glass cracked and the aquarium began to leak water. Visitors to the mall were urgently evacuated, and all the world media wrote about the incident.

There were no casualties, only a few people got their feet wet. The leak turned out to be small and no fish were harmed.

We hope that there will be no further incidents at the Dubai Mall Aquarium.

Find your hotel

How to get there

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is located in the center of the Dubai Mall. The easiest way to get there is by subway. Get off at the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station on line 1 (red line). For the actual subway map and the fares, please read our page "Dubai Metro - map and fares".

The subway station is located far from the Dubai Mall, and you will have to walk a little bit. For this purpose, there is a special bridge - Metro Link Bridge. You don't even have to walk across it, as there are special travelators for visitors. This is very similar to the transitions between airport terminals. See the photo nearby, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.

The length of this bridge is 2,700 feet (828 meters). It itself is a landmark because it is the longest such structure in the world. After a 10-minute walk (or a travelator ride), you will reach the Dubai Mall. Next, just follow the signs and you will find Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

The second option is to take a cab. Since Dubai is a big city, it's hard to predict the cost of the ride. It could be between 12 and 100 dirhams, depending on how far away your hotel is from Dubai Mall. For the exact fares, see our page "Taxis in Dubai and other Emirates".

Operating hours

Hours of operation changed as of January 3, 2022, when the UAE switched to a new 4½-day work week. See our page "Weekends in the UAE" for details.

From 10am to 11pm (10-00 to 23-00) on weekdays (Monday through Thursday).

From 10am to midnight (10-00 to 00-00) on weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).

You can go inside until 10.30pm on weekdays (11.30pm on weekends).

Ticket price

The aquarium itself is completely free to view. The outer wall of acrylic glass, which we talked about above, is available to everyone for free. The free viewing is for calling in, everything else is paid.

Tickets are valid only for one entrance inside. That is, you can not go out and come back on the same day.

The basic ticket includes a walk through the tunnel + a tour of the zoo. The price is AED 120 (including VAT). See our page "Money in the UAE" for the current exchange rates.

At the moment (September 2022) the basic ticket (Explorer Experience) is NOT available on the official website. The cheapest ticket, which includes an additional interaction with penguins, costs 179 dirhams. We made an inquiry to find out the reason, but the administration dodged the question.

If you want to buy a basic ticket, we know two options. The first is on Klook. And by the way, there are great discounts on Klook right now. The second is to buy a combo ticket to the oceanarium and the Burj Khalifa. The ticket counter near the aquarium is open, but the tickets are more expensive.

Note that there are cheaper tickets, but they are marked "UAE RESIDENT OFFER". This is only for those living in the UAE - citizens, people with a work visa or residence permit. We discussed this topic on the page "UAE population".

In addition to the basic ticket you can buy: KING CROC ENCOUNTER (to see the giant King Croc) for 100 dirhams, and (or) OTTER ENCOUNTER (to communicate with otters) for 100 dirhams, and (or) RAY ENCOUNTER (to communicate with rays) for 100 dirhams, and (or) PENGUIN ENCOUNTER (to communicate with penguins).

ALL ACCESS PASS for AED 340: Tunnel + Zoo + Backstage Tour + Underwater Observatory + Transparent Bottom Boat Trip.

ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE package for AED 255: entire EXPLORER package (described above) + virtual reality attraction + fish feeding.

Tickets are best purchased at official website. The main ticket counter on the bottom ground is now open, the second ticket counter on the upper floor is still closed.

There are two ticket counters in total. The first is downstairs at the tunnel entrance. The second is on the third floor at the zoo entrance. These two ticket counters sell a different set of tickets. Many tourists have encountered the problem that the lower ticket booth does not have the cheapest tickets, but only the more expensive sets. In this case go to the upper ticket office on the third floor. By the way, there are no lines there at all.

We hope when you will be visiting, the second office will be opened.

Children under the age of 3 get in for free. But keep in mind that children are not allowed on the boat with a transparent bottom. Also, pregnant women are not allowed on this boat.

Find your transfer

How to save money

There is a NIGHT OWL PASS offer. You can get into the tunnel and the zoo from 10pm to midnight with a 25% discount. But it's not available yet because they're disinfecting at night. We hope to see this discount again soon.

There are combo-tickets Dubai Aquarium + Burj Khalifa, you can save up to 70 dirhams. Look for such tickets on the Burj Khalifa website Be warned that discounted combo tickets are not always available.

There are Klook and other coupons. For example, Explorer Experience tickets on Klook in September 2022 cost AED 120. Read about all the ways to do this on our page "How to save on entertainment in Dubai".

How much time to plan for visit

Walk through the tunnel - 20 minutes. Boat trip - 20-30 minutes. Zoo - no more than one hour. Nobody limits your time, you can walk there at least all the day, but it is not worth planning more than two hours.

What to see - the main aquarium

As we wrote above, it can be viewed for free from the mall. All extras are based on viewing the same aquarium, but from a different angle.

In the underwater tunnel, you will be looking into the aquarium from the bottom up. On a boat with a transparent bottom, it's the other way around - from top to bottom. You will not see anything new.

Twice a day the fish are fed. The first feeding is at 10.30am for stingrays, and at 2pm for sharks. We recommend you come to the aquarium by this time.

The feeding of stingrays and sharks can be seen from the mall as well as from the tunnel. You don't have to buy a ticket for this. If you want to skip going to the tunnel and save money, you can't. Any ticket to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo necessarily includes a hike in the tunnel.

What to see - the zoo

It is called the Underwater Zoo, although not all animals are underwater and some have nothing to do with water.

The zoo is divided into three thematic zones: open ocean, rainforest, and rocky shore. This division is sometimes difficult to see. There are a total of 40 aquariums and aviaries.

The most impressive resident of the zoo is a giant crocodile King Croc (pictured near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen). There are no crocodiles in the United Arab Emirates, and the King Croc was brought from Australia.

Australian freshwater crocodiles (Johnstone's crocodile) rarely reach more than 10 feet (3 meters) in the wild. This specimen is 16.5 feet (5 meters) long and weighs 1,650 pounds (750 kilograms). It warrants to its name King Croc by 100%.

A separate mini-exhibition shows the nocturnal animals of the UAE - fruit bats, owls-sipuchs, Ethiopian urchins, false cobras, and Yemeni chameleons. Many of these species are no longer found in other zoos around the world. We highly recommend this exhibit.

Another mini-exhibition is called Kraken's Lair. Of course, you won't see the Kraken (the giant deep-sea squid) itself. No oceanarium or zoo has this animal. No one has ever managed to catch it.

You can see cuttlefish, squid, octopus, nautilus and other invertebrate sea creatures in this exhibition.

A separate aviary contains penguins, no self-respecting zoo can do without them. In the next aviary you can look at otters - very cute and funny animals, children will be delighted.

There is a separate aquarium with piranhas, and many tourists see these famous fish for the first time there. Another aquarium is filled with jellyfish. In the beautiful lighting they look amazing. In the next aquarium you can see a giant moray.

The fish in the photo below is another highlight of the zoo. It's a Toxotes. They hunt insects by shooting them down with a jet of water. Catching a Toxotes hunting scene is a big deal. Wait and see if you get lucky.

Another rare species at the Dubai Underwater Zoo is the African protopterus (see the photo). Outwardly, this fish doesn't seem surprising. But the protesters have gills and lungs at the same time. These fish are also called Lungfish.

Protopterus are able to burrow in the sand and survive drought for several years. They also have a very well-developed brain, and they are trainable. This is one of the most amazing fish on our planet.

You can see giant crabs in a separate aquarium, and many species of seahorses live next door.

Dubai Underwater Zoo is definitely worth the money.

Additional activities

Cage Snorkelling - swim in a cage (up to 4 people) snorkeling. The price is AED 275.

Shark Dives - diving to sharks. If you have a certificate, the price is AED 625. If you are a beginner it's AED 825 including a little preliminary training.

Shark Walker - you descend to the sharks in a cage wearing a special helmet with air.

Discover Scuba Dive - A two-day PADI certified dive course.

Specialty Dives - for those who are already PADI certified. Includes three dives. The first dive is a simple swim, the second is a photo session with sharks, the third is shark feeding. Price - 1875 dirhams.

A GoPro camera is available for rent for an extra fee.

Kids Packs

The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo offer two types of programs for children. The first one is called "Junior Aquarist" for children from 5 to 7 years old and costs 150 dirhams. The second one is called "Senior Aquarist" for kids 8+ years and costs 250 dirhams.

Both programs include a visit to the tunnel and the zoo, a ride in a boat with a transparent bottom and communication with the specialist. The Senior program also includes snorkeling and scuba diving in the aquarium.

If you're looking to get rid of kids for some time, this is the best way, although it's not cheap. All kids packs are available in English.

The only unique point in these children's programs is feeding a crocodile. Whether it is worth paying such money for this entertainment is up to you to decide.

After the visit

There are two interesting restaurants right at the exit of the zoo. The first is called Rainforest Cafe. There are models of giraffes, crocodiles and gorillas, jungle sounds and burgers at three-high prices. The second is a fish restaurant with great fish dishes. We hope that these dishes are not from the oceanarium inhabitants.

More interesting

- Don't miss it! Right across from the big aquarium glass is the world's largest candy store. Read our detailed review "Candylicious Dubai Mall";

- There is a second large aquarium in Dubai, The Lost Chambers. Take a closer look, maybe you'll like it better. Read our in-depth review "The Lost Chambers";

- If you are going on vacation with a child, we recommend our review "To the UAE with Children - Important Points".

That's all we have to say about Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Read our other interesting and useful pages about the United Arab Emirates (see list of the pages below).


Tips for Tourists in the UAE


What to Take for the UAE

What You Should Not Do in the UAE

To the UAE with Kids

Sharks in the UAE

Weather in the UAE by Month

Holidays in the UAE

Are Unmarried Young Women
Allowed to Enter the UAE?

All-Inclusive in the UAE

Power Sockets & Voltage in the UAE

Hotels in the UAE with Own Beach


The UAE - Info, Facts, Figures

What Language is Spoken in the UAE

Population and Citizens of the UAE

History of the UAE

Flag of the UAE

Friday and Weekend in the UAE

Ramadan in the UAE

Sheikh Zayed - Father of Nation

Sheikhs of the UAE


What to Bring from the UAE

What You Can and Not Bring In the UAE

What You Can and Not Take Out the UAE

VAT Refund in the UAE

Shopping in the UAE - Why is Cheap

Date Fruits in the UAE

Camel Milk and Dairy Products

Bakhoor and Oud


Money in the UAE - Emirati Dirham

Currency Exchange in the UAE

How Much Money to Take to the UAE

Food Prices in the UAE

Tourist Taxes in the UAE

Alcohol in the UAE

Cigarettes and Smoking in the UAE

Vape and iQos in the UAE


Dubai Metro - Fares and Map

Taxi in the UAE - Fares and Guide

NOL Transport Card Dubai

Dubai Tram

Dubai Monorail

Buses in the UAE


From Dubai Airport (DXB) to City

From Al Maktoum Airport (DWC) to City

From Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) to City

From Sharjah Airport (SHJ) to City


From Dubai to Abu-Dhabi

Free Buses Dubai - Abu-Dhabi

From Sharjah to Dubai

From Ras Al-Khaimah to Dubai

From Ajman to Dubai

From Fujairah to Dubai

From Umm Al-Quwain to Dubai


Internet in the UAE

Cheap Calls from the UAE

Free SIM-card in Dubai

UAE Phone Codes




Bur Dubai

Dubai Marina



TOP Attractions in Dubai

Beaches in Dubai

Abu Dhabi

Al Ain

Yas Island

Beaches in Abu Dhabi


Beaches in Sharjah


Ras Al Khaimah

Umm Al Quwain



Best Attractions in the UAE

Free Attractions in the UAE


Burj Khalifa

Dubai Fountain

Excursions in Dubai

How to Save on Entertainment in Dubai


The Best in Dubai Mall

Dubai Aquarium

Candylicious in Dubai Mall

Waterfall in Dubai Mall


Gold Market in Dubai

Al Mamzar Beach and Park

Deira Clock Tower

City Centre Deira Mall


Burj Al Arab

Wild Wadi Water Park

Jumeirah Mosque

Dubai Marina Mall

Madinat Jumeirah

Jumeirah Beach



The Lost Chambers

Dolphin Bay

Palm Fountains

The View at the Palm






Ain Dubai

Madame Tussauds


The Dubai Frame

Dubai Dolphinarium

Al Fahidi Fort Museum

Museum of the Future


Global Village

Miracle Garden

Butterfly Garden

IMG Worlds of Adventure


Mall of the Emirates

Ski Dubai


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace

Observation Deck at 300

Sheikh Zayed Memorial

Heritage Village

Corniche Waterfront

Sir Bani Yas


Ferrari World

Formula Rossa

Galleria Ferrari

Warner Bros Park

Yas WaterWorld

Yas Marina & Formula 1

Yas Mall


Sharjah Fountains

Sharjah Aquarium

Museum of Islamic Civilization

Al Noor Mosque

Mega Mall


Ajman Fish Market

Ajman Fort and Museum

City Centre Ajman Mall


DreamLand Water Park


Emirati Cuisine - What to Taste © 2020-2024