The most visited museum of marine science in Europe - the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

August 11, 2022
The most visited museum of marine science in Europe - the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Statistics say that the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is the most visited museum of marine science in all Europe and also the oldest one. Every year the museum exceeds 700,000 visitors! Here you will discover the ocean nature from different corners: mysterious objects from the expeditions and real sharks in a giant pool! Check our article and find out how the famous museum was built and which unique objects you won't find anywhere else. 


The famous museum was founded in 1889 by Prince Albert I, that's why very soon he got the nickname «The Prince of the oceans». His strong passion for the seas started at an early age and guided his whole life. The idea to collect all his knowledge and unique pieces from expeditions were finalized in the new project - first museum of oceanography in Monaco. The ambitious project in French neoclassical style was made by the architect Paul Delefortrie. Construction work took 11 years and 100,000 tons of stone. A gross floor area is over 6,000 square meters. The museum was officially opened for the public at the inauguration ceremony on 29 March 1910.


30 years of expeditions 

The permanent exhibition of Natural History and Marine Sciences of the museum was collected by Prince Albert I throughout exploration campaigns that took almost 30 years (between 1885 and 1915). In 1906, the museum building became home for the Institute of Oceanography. 


We are pretty sure that the yellow bathyscaphe "Submarine Anorep 1" , installed at the Oceanographic Museum entrance caught your attention. This is the heritage of Jacques-Yves Cousteau who served as the museum’s unchanging director from 1957 to 1988.


Mysterious objects

The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco comprises 2 main sections: an array of aquariums and a large permanent exhibition of Natural History. Prince Albert I undertook an impressive series of 28 scientific explorations. A famous 10-meter high “cabinet of curiosities” designed by New York artist Mark Dion has mysterious objects like stuffed animals, shells, old scientific instruments and old books. 


The permanent exhibition presents skeletons, photographs, ship models, and the famous stuffed polar bear. This unique exhibit was caught by Prince Albert I in Spitsbergen during his Arctic expeditions in the 19th century. In the Whale Hall you will find the huge skeleton of a fin whale, one of the world’s largest living animals and other smaller skeletons of seals, killer whales.


100 pools of aquariums 

The aquarium of Monaco comprises about 100 pools.Around 6,000 marine creatures: sharks, jellyfish, giant crustaceans, corals, seahorses, venomous tropical fish, sea turtles, around 100 types of coral live there. Sharks live in a giant 450,000 l fish tank.


Don't forget to visit the second floor with a large roof terrace and a stunning panoramic view over the sea and the Italian coast.

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