We often spend weekend’s enjoying the atmosphere on Jeddah’s corniche. We usually go to the middle corniche park but a little further north and closer to home there is another section of the which houses some restaurants a planetarium and Jeddah’s aquarium. I heard about the aquarium on my first day in Jeddah, I was introduced to a very staid and polite member of Mr EE’s staff who shocked me by saying something along the lines of ‘F*** You’. Shocked for a moment I was relieved to hear he was telling me I should take the children to the Fakieh Aquarium.
Miss EE had been to visit on a school trip a few months ago and raved about her time there. I had been quite unwell and the older two children had really stepped up, making their own supper, cleaning the house and generally pampering me so we thought they deserved a treat. They chose to visit the aquarium.
There are three different types of ticket available, one for the aquarium, one for the dolphin show and a combined one. The tickets are SAR50 (about £10/$13) per person. Miss EE had been to see the Dolphin show on her last visit, Mr EE and I are against these shows because of the potential for cruelty, we spoke to the children about the issues surrounding the use of Dolphins and Seals in this way and they agreed that they did not want to go and see it. Before going into the aquarium itself we took the opportunity to sit by the water and enjoy the sea breeze while eating some rather delicious cakes.
The aquarium itself is small but very well laid out. It concentrates on life from the Red Sea and the big tunnel (all aquaria seem to have them these days) is modelled on the environment around Elphinstone Reef off the coast of Egypt, a dive Mr EE and I had done a few (more than 10!) years ago. Sadly, like most of the aquaria we have been to recently, there is not a lot of information about the fish themselves, the signs concentrating on one or two species per tank. We should look out our old Red Sea Fish ID slate. All the favourites are there, sharks (mostly Black Tips), Turtles, Parrot Fish, Clown Fish, Eels, Seahorses and Jellyfish.
At 21/4 and having ditched the buggy completely Mini EE thought the aquarium was the most wonderful experience. She walked from tank to tank taking in the different fish and watching with a huge grin on her face. She has been to some before, the spectacular KLCC Aquarium as a baby and the offerings in Dubai last year but this time she really took everything in.
Half way through you have to walk through a sweet shop, beautifully designed to maximise pester power. After many years’ experience Master and Miss EE know that any requests are futile but we did see a number of parents succumb.
After the shop there are some smaller exhibits including octopus, an eel garden and the (again now ubiquitous) illuminated Jellyfish. There was also another huge shark tank with a number of impressive specimens including a rescued Bull Shark that looked like it had had a run in with a propeller.