INTRODUCCION The Oceanographic Park of Valencia Le Parc

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					                The Oceanographic Park of Valencia

                Le Parc Océanographique de Valence

                           Javier ALVAREZ, Mariano GARCÍA

Civis Project Management plc., Parque Oceanográfico, 46013 Valencia, Spain


   The aim of the Universal Oceanographic Park (UOP) is to show the greatest
possible variety of biotopes associated with marine environments, in a complete and
realistic manner. Covering the aspects that most differentiate these biotopes and the
features they have in common, the specific means of adaptation of the living beings
that comprise them and their relevance in terms of conservation. The park has an
extension of 80,000 square meters and consists of several buildings situated
underground and covered by a shallow lake of 20,000 square meters, creating a unique
feeling of the water element. Underneath the lake, are the technical areas and life
support systems in a room of 30,000 square meters. The total capacity of the Park is 10
million liters for the aquariums and 30 million liters for the marine mammals and birds


   Le but du Parc Océanographique Universel est de montrer la plus grande variété
possible de faunes et de flores du monde marin, de façon complète et réaliste, de mettre
en valeur leur differences, leur points communs, les formes spécifiques d'adaptation
des êtres vivants et l'importance de leur préservation.
   Le Parc Océanographique Universel s'étend sur 80 000 m² et se compose de divers
édifices qui représentent differents thèmes au travers de ses aquariums et exhibitions.
La plupart des constructions se trouvent en sous-sol. Un lac de 20 000m² les
recouvrent, donnant ainsi l'impression d'une grande et unique étendue d'eau. En
dessous du lac, se trouve la zone de services et les installations de traitement des eaux.
   Le Parc a une capacité totale de 10 millions de litres pour les aquariums et 30
millions de litres pour les mammifères marins et les oiseaux.

Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 2 (2001)

    The aim of the Universal Oceanographic Park (UOP) is to show the greatest
possible variety of biotopes (community of interrelated flora and fauna and their
habitat) associated with water environments, particularly marine environments,
in a complete and realistic manner, covering the aspects, which most
differentiate these biotopes and the features they have in common, the specific
means of adaptation of the living beings that comprise them and their relevance
in terms of conservation.

    The contents of the park are universal in nature, and include some of the most
representative and/or attractive underwater habitats that exist throughout the
planet, from polar latitudes to mild climes, and all the way through to tropical
latitudes in both hemispheres. The principal guidelines used in its design are the

        -    Large-scale exhibitions showing underwater environments,
             understood as a community of species representative of a specific
        -    Use of large-scale acrylic screens (of up to 79 ft. in length at the
             Oceanographic Park) that eliminate the barriers that separate the
             visitors from the exhibits. These screens always consist of a single
             piece, thus minimizing the “framing” effect from the visitors'
        -    Global conception of the themes covered. The exhibits are not
             presented independently of one another, but rather are interrelated
             through ecological themes, which highlight their similarities and
             differences. Mangrove swamps and marshes, reefs in the Atlantic,
             Pacific or Indian Oceans, and the eastern and western coasts of a
             single ocean are presented so that they can be observed and
        -    Fidelity in recreating habitats presented, as a key factor in the visitor's
             search for credibility, which requires a thorough preliminary study of
             the ecosystems involved, as well as the development of a great deal
             of graphic material for each of the exhibits.
        -    And finally, innovation in design. The UOP constitutes an
             unprecedented exercise with regards to use of space, functionality
             and originality, key factors in a project of this character within an
             urban framework.

                                 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 2 (2001)
   The park is built in two levels. The lower level, Level –1, is below ground
level and contains the majority of the technical areas as well as the exhibit
aquariums. The latter are located in compartments within the large central hall,
with a height of 17 ft. 5 in. and a surface area of 108,000 square feet.

   The upper level, Level 0, consists of a series of buildings located around a
central lake area, two of which (the Underwater Restaurant and the Main
Building) were designed by the renowned architect Felix Candela, working with
CIVIS. They are located around the central, 2 ft. 7 in. deep lake over the roof of
the central hall at Level –1. Here too are the large tanks holding marine
mammals (Dolphinarium-Orca Tank), the bird area and a garden area for
recreational and relaxation purposes near the restaurant area and points of sale.

   To visit the aquariums, the visitor must descend from Level 0 to Level –1
through various entrances located around or in the lake, thus creating the
sensation of the continuity of this element with the tanks on the lower level.
Each of the compartment modules containing tanks in the central hall is given
the generic name of Underwater Tower.

                              THE UNDERWATER TOWERS

   There are seven of these, and they represent the following themes: The
Mediterranean Sea, Continental Waters, Tropical and Temperate Seas, Large
Oceans, Arctic Seas, Antarctic Seas and Islands. The Towers are complemented
by: the Main Building, Underwater Restaurant, Auditorium and the
Dolphinarium - Orca Tank.

Tower No. 1 The Mediterranean Sea
   There is no attempt to make an exhaustive representation of the isobathic
zones into which the coastal communities of this sea are categorized, as this
would only confuse the majority of the public. The habitats presented here were
selected according to criteria of recognition, conservation and interaction by the

   Underwater meadows (Posidonia oceanica) (4,750 USgallons)
   Between Two Worlds (the coastline) (1,850 USgallons)
   Breaking zone (10,550 USgallons)
   Contact pool (528 USgallons)
   Shared habitat with human beings (Breakwater) (41,000 USgallons)
   The underwater coastal fringe (21,150 USgallons)
   Coralliferous communities (41,000 USgallons)

Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 2 (2001)
Tower No. 2 Continental waters
   In this tower, two of the most curious continental marine environments of our
planet are compared: mangrove swamps and salt marshes. Different insofar as
species, they are similar in structure and function in that they are places where
the saltwater of the sea interacts with the freshwater of rivers or natural springs.
This be covered by a large, 85 feet-high dome-like structure covered by a net.

   Mangrove swamps (44,900 USgallons)
   In tropical and subtropical coasts, in sheltered areas with shallow and tranquil
waters such as bays, estuaries, coastal lagoons and river deltas where saltwater
reaches, mangrove swamps appear. Their aspect is variable, but they generally
form forests of 16 to 65 ft. in height which, when they are well developed, are
dense and impenetrable, dark and full of aerial roots, and difficult to cross.

   Mediterranean Marshes (44,900 USgallons)
   Degraded and threatened by the exponential growth of tourism along the
entire Mediterranean coast, wetlands still have many endemic species, and they
are the key to the conservation of European bird fauna. Some of the genuses
living here are also found in North and South American and Asian mangroves,
so that they can share both exhibit spaces.

Tower No. 3 Tropical and Temperate Seas
   This tower will be located in the middle of the pond, and will be presented as
a small island. The tank halls will be hidden within this island decor, consisting
of two main halls linked by a long underwater tunnel approximately 230 ft. in
   At Level 0 (at the pond level), there are two open recreated habitats, created
in the form of small coves and designed as a contact area with marine mammals
(dolphins, in this case) (237,800 USgallons) and as a reproduction area for
marine turtles of the Mediterranean, i.e. the Caretta caretta or loggerhead sea
turtle (40,700 USgallons).
   At Level -1, the following tanks are found:
Temperate seas

   Kelp Forests (70,000 USgallons)
   The forests of Macrocystis pyrifera (Kelp) are doubtless some of the most
incredible seaweed forests on the planet, as they can easily reach a length of up
to 165 ft.

   The Izu Peninsula (70,000 USgallons)
   The abrupt coastline of the Izu Peninsula in Japan, are near one of the Earth's
major fault lines. This peninsula is surrounded by warm and cold currents.
Perhaps it is this singular mixture of waters, or the existence of a deep rift,
which has led such incredible creatures as the giant spider crab, growing up to
13 ft. in length, to make these waters their home.

Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 2 (2001)
   Underwater Gallery (185,000 USgallons)
   The underwater gallery offers us one of the two possibilities at the Park to
make a simulated crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, both of which are in the form
of an underwater tunnel made of acrylic. In this first option, we begin the trip in
a forest of Atlantic laminariaceous seaweed, where we can find representatives
of the associated fauna, such as demersal fish and large crustaceans, to continue
with open waters where we can walk under a sea of algae of the genus
Sargassum, frequented by schools of jacks (Carangidae). The end of the crossing
consists of a coral reef of the barrier type, after which we find a meadow of
marine phanerogams (i.e. turtle grass) which ends with the subaquatic view of a
mangrove swamp whose roots surround the tunnel.
   The inner wall of this tank, nearly 230 ft. in length, consists of the acrylic
tunnel, with the outer wall only 5 ft. away, so that the invertebrate and small fish
that would otherwise be missed can be observed.
Tropical seas
   The Atlantic coral reef and the Indo-Pacific coral reef tanks (117.000 US
gallons each) are facing one another across a large hall to facilitate the
observation of the similarities and differences of the most representative types of
coral formations of the seas and oceans of the planet Earth, as well as the fish
communities inhabiting them. This lends the exhibit a significance for the
general public, the great majority of which is not versed in marine biology,
relating coral as something native to tropical seas but without recognizing the
different types nor their geographical distribution.

Towers No. 4 The Oceans (1,585,000 USgallons)
   This exhibit occupies the largest tank in the Park. It represents the fish
communities that inhabit the vast areas of open waters, that is, pelagic species.
The theme represented corresponds to the second simulated voyage across the
Atlantic offered at the Park. The tank shows three common areas: the first at one
end of the tank corresponds to the coast of the Canary Islands, then there is a
central area of open waters, and the third area represents the coast of the
Bermuda Islands. The inclusion of these two coastal areas has several objectives:

        -    To establish the points of departure and arrival in this simulated
             voyage across the Atlantic following the well-known Gulf Stream, as
             the habitual route of transoceanic navigation, as well as showing the
             migratory character of many species of fish inhabiting these waters.
        -    Increase the concepts expressed in this exhibit with the inclusion of
             two volcanic archipelagos generated during the process of formation
             of this ocean, and therefore justify including graphic and interactive
             information on interesting geological processes in a manner that is
             attractive to the visitor.
        -    Compensate for the monotony inherent in open water landscapes and
             heighten the aesthetics of the exhibit through specific rocky relief

Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 2 (2001)
             placed in such a way that it does not interfere with the swimming of
             the fish.

Tower No. 5 The Southern Hemisphere (50,200 USgallons)
   The penguin is the animal we have chosen as the most representative specie
of the southern hemisphere.
   The landscape where we will place these animals is inspired in the rocky
coast of low cliffs typical of the Maldivas Islands, from which they can dive into
the water and actively hunt their prey.
   The Southern Regions Hall will be linked to the Northern Regions Hall (The
Arctic) by a corridor.

Tower No. 6 Northernmost regions (The Arctic) (1,136,000 USgallons)
   The Arctic Building will be inside a large cupola in the form of an igloo,
inside of which we will be able to observe some of the most spectacular species
in the Park, such as the white beluga whales, walruses and various species of

Tower No. 7 Islands (284,550 USgallons)
   The recreation of a small island inhabited by various pinnipeds (seals and sea
lions), with simulated waves, will represent ocean islands where currents and
deep springs rich in nutrients allow an explosion of life and the existence of
large colonies of animals. The decoration is inspired in the Islands of the Sea of
Cortés, in the Gulf of California.

Dolphinarium – Orca Tank. Marine mammal tanks
   Holding 6,077,000 USgallons of water, this tank will be one of the largest in
the world. It is designed according to the criteria of the so-called new generation
dolphinariums, integrating a careful esthetic design with the functionality
required in this type of facility, including a medical pool exclusively for
veterinary treatment of the animals and a maternity tank. The tanks number five,
which allows several populations of cetaceans and even diverse species to be

Underwater Auditorium (95,000 USgallons)
    Large auditorium with a capacity of 400 people for the projection of
audiovisuals, that can be used in addition for holding various public functions.
Its uniqueness lies in the acrylic screen, 49 ft. long and 16 ft. 5 in. high, which
serves as a background to the entire stage and recreates the Red Sea habitat,
lending the entire space unprecedented originality.

Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 2 (2001)
Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 2 (2001)