National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

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National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
The National Marine Aquarium is a marine aquarium located in the city of Plymouth, England. Built on reclaimed land, it is located in Sutton Harbour, next to the Barbican and fishmarket, and was opened in 1998. It is the largest aquarium in the United Kingdom and the deepest in Europe. The modern building is home to some 4,000 individuals of about 400 species, and houses aquariums, a lecture hall, a cafe, and a shop. The largest tank is 10 metres (33 ft) deep and can be viewed from several different angles. The National Marine Aquarium is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

The Aquarium is divided int 6 main display areas: Shallow Water, Atlantic Reef, Ocean Drifters, Atlantic Ocean, Weird Creatures, and Coral Seas. This exhibit showcases marine life around the South-West coast of England, particularly creatures that live at and just below the tideline such as sea stars, rays, lobsters, and an octopus. At the center of the aquarium, this exhibit is home to denizens of the deeper water off the South West coast of England. Through a huge window, visitors can see sea bass, pollack, bream, and smooth hound sharks swimming in the open water, flatfish and rays hiding on the seabed, and Conger Eels, lobsters, and crabs hiding in the rocks. Ocean drifters This jelly exhibit was opened in 2009, and includes moon jellies, Japanese sea nettles, and Upside-down jellyfish, housed in round tanks to prevent damage to their delicate bodies. Atlantic ocean This exhibit was updated at the end of 2009. With the largest ever shipment of live fish into the UK, from Barbados, West Indies, the aquarium introduced more than 18 new species. This is the deepest aquarium tank in Europe. It holds 2,500,000 litres (660,000 USgal) of warmed seawater, and its windows are made of acrylic glass. Here visitors can see many species of Caribbean fish including sand tiger sharks, jacks, Southern stingray, barracuda, and tarpon. Weird Creatures Gallery This zone is home to some of the strangest creatures in the tropical sea, including longhorn cowfish, lionfish, frogfish, and shrimp. This area is also home to the Aquarium's live coral exhibits. Coral Seas This are is home to hundreds of colorful reef fish, as well as a loggerhead turtle, blacktip reef sharks, a big-nosed unicornfish, and a guineafowl pufferfish.

Other attractions
ExplorOcean is a highly interactive exhibit showcasing various underwater technologies, such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). ExplorOcean features the AquaTheatre tank, where members of the public can volunteer to race ROVs through an underwater assault course. The effects of climate change and the possibilities of renewable energy sources are also key features in the exhibit.

Notable achievements of the NMA since its opening include the sinking of HMS Scylla to create an artificial reef in Whitsand Bay, Cornwall, as well as the recently completed ExplorOcean exhibit.