Saudi Arabia: Where are the Aquariums?

saudi aquarium

Saudi Arabia’s borders extend to both the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.  Both of these seas have some of the finest coral reefs, exotic fish and brilliant waters.  It would seem like a given that Saudi Arabia would have multiple aquariums throughout the key cities in the Kingdom where Saudis and expatriates alike can learn about and enjoy the sea life in the Kingdom’s waters.  Unfortunately though, this is not the case.  While one may go diving at various places in the Kingdom, there are a shortage of aquariums.

There is a plan underway for a National Aquarium to be built in the King Abdullah Financial District but it is still in the beginning phases of development.

An undated paper advises that Saudi Arabia is to open its first public aquarium in Jeddah.  This paper was presented at the International Aquarium Congress in Cape Town Africa in 2012.  According to the short paper, it claims that the people of Saudi Arabia are unfamiliar with aquatic environments and the establishment of the Jeddah aquarium is to sensitize Saudis to the fragility of coral reefs.

Yet, in my findings, the best place for one to go and see an aquarium in Saudi Arabia would be at the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Science and Technology Center Saltwater Aquarium located in Al Khobar which claims to host Saudi Arabia’s first public aquarium.

UPDATE:  Great and very timely news!

fakieh aquarium


I write many of my blog posts in advance so it gives me great pleasure to advise that since writing the initial post, according to Arab News, the Fakieh aquarium in Jeddah is opening its doors on 21 January to the public!

The aquarium was executed by Fakieh Group and contains more than 7,000 marine animals of 200 species in 155 tanks. It has a sharks section, a dolphin pool, large enough to accommodate 400 visitors, sea lion and reef tanks, mangroves and interactive halls, in addition to laboratories and quarantines.

The aquarium seeks to promotes the conservation of the environment by spreading awareness through education and entertainment.
Most of the species within the Fakieh Aquarium can also be found in the Red Sea, which gives the visitors a glimpse of the beauty that the Red Sea beholds.


16 Responses

  1. Aquariums, movie houses, theaters, coed schools, night clubs, gender mixing, music halls, sport and social clubs, will bring people together. The men who run the system know that the more people mix, share ideas and talk about their common interests and grievances, they will unite against their common oppressors, the religious and political ruling dynasties. This is why anytime the irreligious police see any gathering of more than four or five people, they ask or force them to disperse.

  2. I think the Fakieh Aquarium in Jeddah is a travesty. Where did they get the dolphins? The dolphin trade is brutal. I heard these dolphins are from the Taiji dolphin drive/hunt in Japan. I know several people who have asked on their FB wall. They just delete the posts. They’ll not see one dime from me- may they eventually get exactly what they deserve.

  3. Thanks for the valuable information!

  4. Sandy, I am shocked to read this.
    But I am afraid you made a good point, if the dolphins were acquired in a decent way they would be happy to explain how and where they got the dolphins…
    This is looking bad.

  5. There are very few options to humanely have a dolphin. But people generally won’t care as long as they are entertained by the show and it isn’t visibly being harmed in front of their eyes.

  6. I’m saddened to hear this. For some reason I thought that all fish and mammals at the aquarium were examples and from the local waters of Saudi Arabia.

  7. Well, I’m not 100 percent certain they’re from Taiji- though the evidence points that way. But even if they were local dolphins- which we have- there is no humane way to capture them and force them to entertain people instead of living free in the sea.

  8. There is going to be a new aquarium at the New King AbdulAziz Airport
    in Jeddah.

  9. I think an airport is a good place to have an aquarium but I wonder how easy it will be for locals to just go and see it?

    On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 4:43 AM, American Bedu

  10. I pray that these are not Taiji Dolphins. For those that do not know of this yearly inhumane slaughter just watch a video called ‘The Cove’ or google the work by Ric Barry. I promise you that you will never watch or attend another Dolphin Show. Dolphins belong in the wild, not a large swimming pool

  11. Dolphins are only happy when free, they live in a large pod and swim up to 100 km a day…
    Susan it has been confirmed the dolphins are from Taiji

  12. 09-Oct-2012: Transport, 6 bottlenose dolphins transferred via air to Saudi Arabia, Fakieh Aquarium

  13. I visited the Aquarium last week, the fees are 50 SR for the Dolphin’s show and 50 SR for the aquarium visit.

  14. Wow…that’s kind of steep!

    On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM, American Bedu

  15. You are right! The show is very simple. it is better for dolphins. I don’t want that we tire them. And the aquarium is beautiful but not so big and there is no organizer to make children sensitive in the environmental protection. so sad, it’s better to let those poor fishes in their natural habitat. my children were happy to visit, but I wasn’t. I perceive this aquarium only as another bisnes like an entertainment park. al Fakieh isn’t t a philanthropist. this aquarium is there to pull the wool over one’s eyes. so sad. I explained it to my children and we will never return to visit. there is books if they want learn more about red sea flora and fauna.I refuse to support this molestation anymore. and when it come to environmental protection, mothers and fathers have to educate their children;there is no need to imprison poor beautiful fishes to do it.

  16. Thank you Nassima. Dolphins are mammals and they are very intelligent animals. The way they capture these beautiful animals is brutal..the rest of their family has been killed. You can learn more about this by watching the documentary “The Cove”. In Taiji every year the hunt dolphins from September until March and they have the permission to kill up to 20.000 dolphins….

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