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The National Aquarium of Cuba is a scientific center specialized in marine environment research and environmental education
The National Aquarium of Cuba, Founded on January 23, 1960, it was initially named Sibarimar, when a group of biologists worked in a house in the Miramar neighborhood to create an experimental center for Marine Biology.
It began with 13 simple fish tanks installed for the enjoyment and knowledge of visitors, offering the possibility of seeing and interacting with live fish and marine invertebrates.
Later, with the acceptance of the population, the idea arose of expanding the center and the new institution was built that today responds to the name of National Aquarium of Cuba.
From that moment on, the increase in fish tanks and ponds began, achieving greater capacities and with it a greater display of tropical marine flora and fauna.
In 1973, the first marine mammal arrived at the Aquarium, a sea lion baptized with the name “Silvia”, which became the most popular and attractive animal in the institution and set the standard in the management of marine mammals in the aquarium.
In 1985 the didactic-recreational demonstrations began with Diana and Ciclón, two bottlenose dolphins.
The National Aquarium of Cuba and its interactive programs.
The experience consolidated by the National Aquarium of Cuba with the new possibilities of interactive programs with dolphins, on this occasion an aquatic ballet with these mammals, was selected as the best contribution of the year at an international level in this activity.
In February 2000, the first works to expand the aquarium were inaugurated: the Dolphin Square and the Tropical Island, among others.
On January 14, 2002, the first stage concluded, and the works were inaugurated by the commander in chief Fidel Castro Ruz.
The facility currently consists of a Dolphinarium with capacity for 1,200 spectators and demonstrations with up to 8 trained dolphins working simultaneously; a Lobarium, for demonstrations with sea lions and capacity for a thousand spectators, Pinnipeds exhibition area (to show sea lions in successful natural habitats), underwater exhibitions of dolphins with harmonic demonstrations between them and their trainers, as well as the technological support area and for the work of specialists linked to marine mammals.
Among the outdoor areas, the Tropical Island also stands out, which constitutes a representation of the coastal zone of any island or key of the Cuban archipelago and includes a 186,000-liter capacity pond where 30 specimens of sea turtles of the Caguama species are exhibited. Hawksbill and Green Turtle in addition to the Florida Pelicans.
The reproduction of the natural habitat is achieved with a square environment and the typical natural vegetation of these marine ecosystems.
Similarly, the Marine Grotto includes a sample of typical coastal caves of the archipelago, formed due to the action and erosion of the sea, and it has a mirror of water.
The Mangrove Trail shows a mangrove forest with patabán and prieto mangrove that reach more than 4 meters in height, covering an area of 380 square meters.
The Mangrove area, where three natural species of mangrove are exhibited, the red mangrove, the black mangrove, the patabán or white mangrove, and unlike the “Mangrove Path”, includes a 7 thousand liter water mirror in which the first roots of such important coastal vegetation are introduced and species of fish typical of this tropical ecosystem are also shown.
The Biodiversity Exhibition shows the reference scientific collections kept by the National Aquarium in its Department of Marine Collections.
In it they represent the main zoological groups of marine fauna and flora. It also stores information about the scientific collections of the National Aquarium and the enormous biological wealth that inhabits the seas and that makes up Cuban marine biodiversity, its current state and its protection.
They are exhibited in six fish tanks of 11,000 liters, where the main typical marine landscapes of the Cuban archipelago are shown as one advances in depth from the coast.
The landscapes reproduce their natural environment including fish, stones, corals and other marine invertebrates. Among many other species, the Galician fish, Creole snapper and Cají snapper stand out in this area.
Fish and invertebrates
In a set of 24 fish tanks of 350 liters each, fish and marine invertebrates of small sizes and juveniles are exhibited in correspondence with their natural habitat.
For a better understanding of the concept of “sustainable development” there is the exhibition area of commercial species, in 5 fish tanks of 10 thousand liters