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All you need to know about the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

The Musée océanographique de Monaco (Oceanographic Museum of Monaco) boasts around a hundred tanks, including the large shark tank. © Musée océanographique de Monaco

The Museum is Monaco’s main tourist attraction, with over 650,000 visitors per year. 

Helping people to learn about, love and protect the oceans: this is the mission of Monaco’s most emblematic museum. Inaugurated in 1910, the 6,000 m² monument, built at the behest of Prince Albert I, really stands out on the Rock. It is built into the side of an 85 metre-high cliff and contains around a hundred tanks that house a major collection of 350 species of fish, with over 6,000 specimens.


The aquariums

Popular with visitors, the aquariums allow them to dive:

  • in the tropics: the tropical area reveals the hectic life of the coral reef and its inhabitants with their hypnotic shapes and colours. Visitors of all ages come face to face with sharks and piranhas, and can watch the clownfish, the fearsome stonefish with its deadly stinging spines, the endearing boxfish or the dancing seahorses.
  • in the Mediterranean Sea: more than 200 varieties of invertebrates are to be discovered in the Mediterranean tanks, a sea with unsuspected treasures. You will meet the intelligent octopus, shudder at the disturbing moray eels and admire the soothing ballet of the jellyfish.
© Musée océanographique / Facebook

The aquariums play an important conservation role for threatened species, including coral farms, and reproduction of clownfish, seahorses, cuttlefish, or the cardinal fish from the Banggai islands, which is endangered through over-fishing… The museum therefore contributes to the protection and sustainable management of natural environments and species.

The museum area

But make no mistake, this Temple of the Sea, is not only an “aquarium” as some visitors think before they come, but a museum exhibiting a valuable collection of historical, artistic and crafts objects to do with the sea. It gives the public the opportunity to explore, learn about and contemplate the marine world, through art exhibitions, conferences, international symposia and awareness-raising initiatives, in particular with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

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Rainier III exhibition © Institut Océanographique

Currently and over the holidays, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is running exhibitions, activities and a course:

> All aboard for the Polar Mission, an exhibition that needs no introduction. Visitors of all ages are invited to step into the shoes of a reporter and discover the North and South Poles through five themed areas, including the must-see “Immersion” room and its interactive projections.

> The journey continues with the new exhibition «Les Géants des Glaces» by Michel Bassompierre. Seven monumental works can be seen in the Oceanographic Museum and on its roof terrace. Prepare to be amazed!

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> You can also discover  “The Prince and the Mediterranean”,  an exhibition that showcases the lifelong bond between Prince Rainier III and the Ocean, especially the Mediterranean.

> With family or friends, you can make a day of it thanks to the many activities : the workshop where you’ll meet seaside animals,  the escape game, and the virtual reality activity “immerSEAve”.

> Club Oceano: you can sign up now for the introductory course during the school holidays (6-8 and 9-12 year-olds). 6-12 year-olds can try out a range of games and activities that are all about the oceans and the animals that live there.

Practical details:

  • Allow at least two hours for the Museum visit.
  • Open from 10 am to 6 pm from October to March, it stays open until 7 pm in September, April, May and June. Over the summer period, the museum opens at 9.30 am and closes at 8 pm.
  • Prices: €19 for adults and €12 for children and students. Admission is €9 for visitors with reduced mobility. Under 4s go free. There are combined tickets with the Prince’s car collection or the Prince’s Palace. Theese cost €25 for adults and €14.50 for children.
  • There is a restaurant on the rooftop terrace, with a breathtaking view.
  • The Museum is easy to find, and is just above the Chemin des Pêcheurs car park. If you come by train, just take bus line 1 or 2 from the station exit in Sainte-Dévote.

For more information: Oceanographic Museum

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If you are unable to get here, you can still enjoy a 360° virtual tour.