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Thuringia, Germany Tourism
A visit to the "Erlebnispark Meeres-Aquarium" (aquarium) in Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia
In 2006 we visited Thuringia again to add more content to our Internet-tourist guide. We discovered a lack of English information about this attractive state in the heart of Germany.
Almost all the time we stayed in Suhl which has excellent connection to many other places by new built "Autobahns" which makes traveling much easier if you want to visit selected places without spending too much time on the scenic and always winding country roads.
Zella-Mehlis could be part of Suhl because it borders directly to this town. I do not know why but Zella-Mehlis is still part of the Schmalkalden-Meiningen Region.
The aquarium in Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia
On an overcast day - before the heat wave arrived - we decided to visit the "Erlebnispark Meeres-Aquarium" (sea aquarium) in Zella-Mehlis.
Luckily we arrived very short before the official opening and found parking in from of this place. We learned that despite the relatively high entrance fee that the aquarium was besides the Wartburg one of the most crowded attractions in Thuringia.
Unfortunately, the visit of the aquarium gives only people who understand German the full picture. If you can not read the posted information the educational value is dramatically reduced.
This starts with basics such as: can fish hear and if yes how do they communicate?
The sharks are certainly one of the major highlights of the aquarium. They draw lots of attention. I learned that sharks do not have an air bladder as other fish do. From the over 340 species of sharks only about 25 are considered to be dangerous for humans.
Many of my pictures which I took turned out to be not suitable. Either the fish moved too fast or I had a glare in the images. If you want to take photos, please purchase permit to do so. After having seen the required maintenance of the complete facility and the food consumed by the animals I did not any longer think that the entrance fee is too high.
Make also sure that you have enough film or a large enough memory card for a digital camera with you.
Before the tour through the aquarium I already had an idea about the variety of sea life, but now I could visualize that only by having seen some of it.
Ugly and one of the most poisonous creatures on earth (Synanceja verrucosa)
Beautiful and very alive (Arothron hispidus)
Who is that?
I apologize if I made some mistakes with the names of the fish. I came to this place to learn because I knew how little I knew about the maritime life.
I also do not want to replace an actual visit to the "Meeres-Aquarium" in Zella-Mehlis.
As you can see it pays off to start with your tour early in the morning. Later it became very crowded and you had to stand in line to have close look to the individual displays or to take pictures.
Seeing this successful business I was interested to learn something about the history of this place because it was obviously not designed for the purpose of giving a domicile to an aquarium of this size.
I was right and learned what East Germans can achieve - even without any government funding - if they do proper planing, have a business sense, work hard and re-invest in that business.
Everything started in 1994 in a different place and the aquarium grew step by step. Much own labor was invested - even when the place was only rented.
Then certain circumstances made it mandatory to think about moving the aquarium to a different place. The former "Volkshaus" (people's house, a cultural house in the GDR) was selected. Since 2002 the "Erlebnispark Meeresaquarium" is located here.
The planning was done so smartly that the business had never to be closed down. I wish Suhl would have learned from that - they must close down their "weapon museum" the landmark of this town because of mandatory renovations.
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