Visit Nausicaá, the largest aquarium in Europe in Boulogne-sur-Mer


Nausicaá is a major research and education centre maritime discovery based on the discovery and protection of the marine environment. It is the second most visited tourist site in the north of Paris after the Parc Astérix.

The history of the Great Aquarium of Boulogne

The Société d'Exploitation de National Sea Centre was created at the end of the 1970s; in 1991 they named the company Nausicaà. According to Greek mythology, Nausicaá was the daughter of Alkinoos king of the Phaeacians. Nausicaá is also an anagram of CASINO in reference to its former site. It is both a place of leisurea research centre and a educationalIt was opened to the public on 18 May 1991. 

Where is Nausicaa, the largest aquarium in Europe, located?

The maritime centre is located at heart of Europe in Boulogne-Sur-MerIt is close to England and Belgium and 2.5 hours from Paris, London and Brussels.

From the A16 motorway, just follow the direction of Nausicaa panel If you are coming from the south (Paris, AmiensIf you are coming from the north (Calais, Dunkerque), you can take the exit n*29 Boulogne-centre of about 7 km by road. If you come from the North (Calais, Dunkerque), you can take the exit n*32 Boulogne-centre from 5 km by road. The national sea centre is open all year round from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., except on 25 December and during its annual closure from 10 to 28 January.

Discover the large Nausicaa-Boulogne centre

Nausicaa includes several aquariums containing several species of marine animals, some terrariums as well as a media library There are also specialised libraries, information areas and video projection rooms, conference rooms and exhibition halls. At present, Nausicaá contains more than 17 million litres and dozens of aquariums and terrariums of all kinds, containing approximately 58,000 marine animals of all species.

Its aim is to help you discover and encourage you to love the oceanIt is the source of life and wealth. Its particularity is that it is not only a place playfulIt is based on the maintenance of human relations and nature, and emphasises the fundamental respect for the environment.environment. He was awarded the prize for "The best of the best". centre of excellence "by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO for its awareness in 1998.

What are the centre's strengths?   

The centre allows visitors to explore the world's oceans with the aim of realising its project to involve people in respecting the oceans. The centre occupies 10,000 m2 ofpermanent exhibition  :

  • "Des Rivages et des Hommes": Embark on your first round-the-world voyage, taking in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Tropics, the Californian coastline... During this journey, you'll be able to understand how Man and the Oceans live together and create their common future... You'll discover a unique biodiversity, remote ecosystems, but also the many services provided by the sea to Man.
  • "Journey to the High Seas": Live an unforgettable experience around the largest aquarium in Europe which reproduces the island of Malpelo off the coast of Colombia. Admire the spectacle of the ocean in front of a large bay 5 m high and 20 m long and meet breathtaking species such as grey sharks, manta rays, schools of glittering fish and many more! Discover the beauty and immensity of the ocean and how essential its preservation is for the future of mankind...  
  • "In the Eye of the Climate": Hurricanes, melting ice, rising sea levels... Get ready for a spectacular journey into the effects of global warming in a brand new tour route to meet our Cape Penguin colony, with an immersive 430 m2 floor-to-ceiling screen space. 
  • Immerse yourself in a unique immersive experience and discover your power: the power to act!
  • Norkness The GRAND LARGE augmented reality experience, which started in June 2022: discovering the "Voyage en Haute Mer" at the end of the tour, this new experience reveals unusual species, a little-known and inaccessible biodiversity. Installed on the bleachers in front of the Grande Baie, visitors set off to discover the vast world of the High Seas for 10 minutes. Their guide? The leatherback turtle, the largest turtle in the world, which travels thousands of kilometres a year across the vast ocean. Equipped with Microsoft HoloLens 2 augmented reality goggles, viewers will cross paths with extraordinary but fragile species and have the opportunity to interact with them. Each encounter with a whale, a shark or a school of fish underlines the richness of the ecosystem of the High Seas, the consequences of human activities on biodiversity and the need to preserve this natural environment which has an essential role for the planet.

Nausicaá Boulogne also consists of a souvenir shopa space of restoration and a weather station as well as a pool to entertain the children after a walk in the large aquarium.

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