The Aquarium de Lyon is an aquarium which is open to the public located in the La Mulatière district of Lyon which is near the confluence. It was opened in 2002 after 2 years of construction.

The Facts

The aquarium consists of 47 tanks housing 5,000 types of fish/animals from 300 species represented and displayed in 1,000,000 litres of water.

It is divided up into the following sections:

  • The local fauna (including a very large catfish 2 metres long!)
  • Temperate freshwater species
  • Varieties of tropical fresh waters
  • The waters of tropical seas
  • The shark pit

The largest of the aquarium’s tanks is the Shark Pit, which also houses stingrays. It is 450,000 litres in total! The tank is unique as the lower part of the tank’s glass is 23cm thick at the base. This is placed there in order to resist water pressure.

The aquarium also has a space called the five senses. In this area, it is permitted to pet some small fish turbots and other animals. However, it is mostly just starfish that are available to pet in this area.

In total the aquarium covers a surface of about 2500m² and welcomed 200,000 visitors in 2018.

How to get there

The Aquarium de Lyon is located in the La Mulatière district of Lyon City. There are a number of buses which will bring you to the doorstep of the aquarium, including the C7 and the C10 Lyon buses. In terms of other landmarks in Lyon, it is located relatively near to the Confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers (about a 15-minute stroll). In fact, the aquarium is visible from the Confluence museum, making it pretty hard to miss.

There is also a carpark right next to the aquarium, making it easily accessible to those travelling by car.

The Experience

Without being exceptional, the Aquarium de Lyon was an enjoyable experience. The price for an adult for a daily visit was €15, which wasn’t too cheap (there is a slight discount if you book in advance online). There are also family passes which are available, making it more affordable as a family day-out.

My first impression of the aquarium was that it was very clean and well-kept. The glass on the outside of the tanks all seemed well maintained. There was a wide variety of fish on show, even if some of these fish were less than remarkable. The most interesting tank which I came across was the shark tank, which stretched through two floors of the aquarium. Another unique aspect on show was a small cinema room where a short documentary about fish that were kept in the aquarium was shown. Once you’ve watched the film, there was an area where you could take a quiz to see how much you learned from the documentary. This interactive part of the tour of the aquarium seemed to be particularly popular with kids.

Although it wouldn’t be at the top of my list of things to do in Lyon, it would be a good option for something to pass the time on a rainy day, particularly for families.