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!
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.