The first five-year milestone: Primorsky Aquarium in facts and figures

The first five-year milestone: Primorsky Aquarium in facts and figures

An official opening of the Primorsky Aquarium was held on September 3, 2016. President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime-Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe were the first visitors to the scientific and educational center. On September 6, the huge clamshell on Russky Island was opened to the general public.

Over the past five years, about 2 million people from 30 countries have attended the Aquarium: our guests burst into applause during 2,800 performances at the Dolphinarium, watched and filmed 1,250 Dancing with Rays programs on their mobile phones and joined almost 15,000 highlight and themed tours.

Can you count them all? 

The Primorsky Aquarium’s collections incorporate inhabitants of all oceans and climatic zones of the world: the scientific and educational center is home to nearly 14,000 animals representing some 550 species.  While most of them can be encountered in the exhibits, a number of its residents remain invisible to visitors, for instance, “staff scientists” of the Primorsky Aquarium Shared Equipment Facility – belugas and spotted seals who participate in research programs investigating animal psychology and specific aspects of sensory systems in marine mammals.

The Primorsky Aquarium is a place where predators get tame, and these include not only the tropical sharks and rays that waltz with scuba divers in the course of an unparalleled program called Dancing with Rays. Local spiny dogfish readily interact with our aquarists too – despite their name, these sharks have proved to be responsive to attention and affection.

The Primorsky Aquarium is the country’s liveliest biology museum, which constantly expands and upgrades its collections.   In 2020-2021 alone, they were enriched with relic paddlefish, alligator gars, freshwater mussels Cristaria herculea, fried-egg jellyfish, crown jellyfish, Burmese pythons, Central American boas, amazing razorfish and two fish species from the northern seas – Middendorff’s eelpout and stone cockscomb.

Born at the Aquarium

The Primorsky Aquarium’s collections grow also through large-scale breeding programs.  The institution is the first in Russia to have hatched a zebra shark in the aquarium setting – Alpha is turning one year old very soon. Biologists of the scientific and educational center breed various species of marine and freshwater fish, for example, designer clownfish known for their unusual colouration.   The Science and Acclimation Building houses an aquaria system for growing exotic corals and a tank system where several species of jellyfish are reared from polyps to the medusa stage. The aquarists have managed to successfully incubate eggs of the giant Pacific octopus, which is not an easy task. Mario – the first northern fur seal born at the Primorsky Aquarium – has become everyone's favourite and gradually got acquainted with all Dolphinarium residents: adult northern fur seals, walrus Misha, dolphins and belugas. In early 2021, six pairs of Humboldt penguins became parents – the seabird flock saw the addition of eight chicks.

Flora’s kingdom

The Primorsky Aquarium provides a habitat not only for animals but for plants as well. Comprising more than 4,000 exotic plants of 635 species and cultivars, the Tropical Rain Forest collection keeps on growing — in 2021 it welcomed 65 new arrivals, including rare species such as the relic tree fern Dicksonia antarctica, the bamboo fern Coniogramme emeiensis and Gongora galeata, an orchid endemic to southern Mexico.

 In addition, nearly 21,000 plants grow on the grounds of the Primorsky Aquarium; these are species and varieties found in Primorye that exhibit a high tolerance to extreme weather conditions — frequent typhoons, heavy rain showers and constant fogs. The Aquarium’s practices are used by grounds management professionals from the city administration for landscaping public spaces in Vladivostok.

Love of learning

The Primorsky Aquarium delivers unique educational projects. In the five years of the institution’s existence, some 30,000 children have participated in the Educational Environment, Growing up at the Aquarium, Accessible Aquarium and career workshops.

The scientific and educational center was virtually open to the public of all ages during the summer of 2020: online tours of the exhibits of Russia’s largest aquarium became responses to the challenges of the lockdown period, with an audience totaling 150,000 viewers.

Spring 2021 saw publication of the results of the national online survey intended to find out what natural and man-made attractions the Russian population would most like to see while travelling across the country. Data from the National Agency for Financial Studies indicated that the Primorsky Aquarium was ranked among the top ten most interesting tourist sights in Russia.