It is expected that the proposed enormous oceanarium in Moscow will form part of an amusement complex complete with a cinema, hotel, business center, shopping mall and many restaurants. According to news sources, the Eurasian country of Kazakhstan, which is the world’s largest landlocked country, is financing the construction of one of the new oceanarium.
The oceanarium’s location is well-served by a newly-built Metro station, buses and Moscow's road network and offers access to 16 million potential customers. According to some news reports, the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has stated that he hopes the new oceanarium, which will be named “Duman,” will be a perfect center for learning about undersea life and entertainment. It will also become the very first oceanarium in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which are those countries composed of former Soviet republics.
The Duman Oceanarium will be part of a huge entertainment complex known as Poseidon Park, each of which will have its own particular theme. These different zones will include: the Oceanarium, 3D-Cinema, a network of cafes and trading halls. The central zone will be used for walks and rest, an Amusement “Jungle”, bowling, a multipurpose hall and a hotel complex. The mayor embraced the idea for the oceanarium when it was first presented to him some six years ago. Unequalled anywhere in Russia, both in terms of scale and concept, the Duman Oceanarium will be the only one in Russia and the largest ever seen in Eastern Europe.
Total floor space will spread over 44 acres of land, which will include some 58,000 square meters (14.33 acres) underground. The aquarium will hold around 11 million liters of water and will be 12.5 meters (almost 44 feet) deep. Ingress will be via a see-through acrylic tunnel that spans 800 meters (2,800 feet) as it meanders along a man-made seabed. An excursion through the tunnel where visitors can observe sea creatures and species of fish from northern and tropical seas, the remnant of vessels and sunken forests can take anywhere from one and one-half hour to two hours.
Without a doubt, one of the most exciting features of the new oceanarium will be the “touch pool” area where underwater species can not only be observed up front and personal, so to speak, they can even be touched by hand. Watching the feeding of the sharks is a thrilling spectacle to behold (especially when visitors are not the intended meal). The displays are also educational as they explain how seabed creatures lived a millennium ago and what their fate will be if environmental and ecological forces are not dealt with properly.
The wonder and spectacular aspects of the oceanarium may deflect momentarily from the incredibly complex technology required to keep it functioning every day without a break during the year. Support systems create the “natural” climate conditions and habitat for the more than 60 permanent displays. In order to accommodate the constant need to convert regular tap water into seawater, a mini plant will be built, but it will be hidden behind decorations and settings so that it will not detract from the wonders of the oceanarium experience.
The expertise of more than 2,000 foreign specialists will be called upon to create and maintain this fantastic illusion; including divers, handlers, microbiologists and veterinarians from America, England and New Zealand, just to name a few countries. In addition, a code of laws must be established to maintain the oceanarium’s natural marine habitat. For example, the fish must always be fed on time and never be hungry or the food chain can be traumatized by fish hunting and seizing other smaller fish for food.
More than 6,000 fish and sea creatures will comprise Moscow’s oceanarium. The delivery of these sea creatures is very complicated and will not begin until the construction is almost over. Not only are special transport facilities with life support systems required, there are also quotas for catching certain types of fish and strict licensing procedures. No insurance is currently available for the long-haul transportation of fish, which is amazing considering that one tiger shark costs at a minimum $10,000 and up to 20 percent of the fish die in transit.
Poseidon Park will include walks along the ocean floor via underwater tunnels and visitors can enter underwater classrooms and listen to lectures. It is expected when completed to be a Disneyland sort of experience except on a smaller scale. Adults can bowl, play billiards or American pool, watch a movie or eat at a choice of restaurants. An underground parking facility for 2,000 cars will be built on the park’s territory.
Construction has begun and will be completed in 2011. It is estimated that 4 million people will visit the oceanarium during the first year of operation. The doors will be open to all and discounts on the 300 rubles ($12) adult tickets and 150 rubles ($6) for children will be available for certain categories of citizens and children from orphanages.
Surely Poseidon Park will be an unforgettable human experience, although perhaps the many sea creatures housed within the enormous oceanarium will find the entire matter rather trifling and extremely boring.