Poema del mar is one of the newest tourist attractions in the capital of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas.
It has been open to the public since December 2017 and was on my list of places to visit when next in Las Palmas.
It is located within a 5 minutes’ walk of Muelle Santa Catalina were the cruise ships dock.
Access to the building and exhibition is suitable for all and has been well thought out.
At the turnstiles you will find staff really friendly and helpful and will be given a map of the complex. Important! flash photography is strictly forbidden throughout the exhibition.
The start of the tour is through a tunnel area before reaching a glass floor, but don’t panic, there is room to walk around the edges.
It was then quite a surprise to find myself in a light bright and airy space known as Jungla (the jungle). You will find various aquariums in the wall as you walk around. The first allegedly contained electric eels, but they seemed well hidden from view, but the red eye piranhas didn’t seem as shy.
As we rounded the next corner it didn’t take long to spot the spectacular coloured chameleons in the trees. All seemed ready to pose for photographs.
From there the path led you down underground where there were a number of tanks displaying various species of amphibians including brightly coloured yellow and green amphibians (Madagascan Mantella). There was also what looked a bit like a salamander known as a Mexican Axoltl, commonly called the Mexican walking fish which is in severe danger of extinction. Next to these were newts, including, the Lake Urmia Newt.
As you emerged once again into the light you were given an option. Cross the rickety bridge or take the path down to the large mangrove type tree. There are plenty of different species of large fish to see in the tanks here, but the light reflection at noon wasn’t good.
The next tanks contained some weird and deadly creatures including the Madagascar giant water skink, Amazon giant centipede. All were hiding away, in dark corners of their tanks.
You can then see brightly coloured discus fish showing off to the watchers.
I then got the feeling I was being watched, and sure enough one of the crocodiles had its beady eye on me.
Across from the crocodile and numerous friends were the comical looking and curious Australian Pig-nosed Turtles, they seemed to be hoping to have their pictures taken.
It was then time to cross a sturdier bridge with picture windows along its length over the tank entitled, giants of the river. There were some very large and agile fish to see.
The bridge led you into the appropriately named Nemo snack bar and there were squeals of delight from youngsters when they spotted the tank full of Nemo’s and brightly coloured coral. There was also numerous other brightly coloured fish and a crawl space to allow the children to stand in an underwater viewing platform to get even closer to their favourite fish.
It was then onto the large circular reef tank with its spectacular display of multi coloured corals. You start at the bottom of this tank and the ramp meanders around to the top of the tank where I could see a brightly coloured eel and bright yellow weird, long horned cowfish. One of these appeared to be catching a ride on the back of a stingray. It was comical watching the way these little fish swam and the faces they seemed to pull.
Back down and past a tank of zebra sharks, some joker was humming the theme tune to Jaws.
Nearby was a beach with hermit crabs all seemingly asleep
You then pass through the mangrove swamps with brightly coloured fish, fish that suddenly erupt from the sand, no fatter than a pencil with rounded heads. Sometimes they stay a while and sway on the current before shrinking back down into the sand. On one fish all you could see were its bulging eyes as it swam across the surface of the water.
The path then takes you past the Nestor restaurant which has one wall of glass looking into the largest of the aquariums. The path goes through a tunnel in the tank which is 8.5 metres deep and holds 5.5 million litres of water. Here you can see the sharks swimming above your heads, along with about 40 other species of sea life.
Then it’s past the, deep sea fauna tank. This holds weird looking large crabs and other crustaceans.
An octopus tank is next. All the residents were hidden away in the walls and rocks.
The next part is what I thought was the most spectacular when you enter the main display area called deep sea and are met by a huge curved aquarium that I’d walked under earlier.
The walk down to the bottom is breath-taking and all eyes are on the tank.
At the bottom you are drawn to the huge glass wall trying to pick out as many different species as you can. You can also sit in this area on comfy seats and get lost in the fantasy world in front of you. The sharks and the stingrays are what seem to catch your eye the most, but if you look and gaze there are far more fish than you think. It seemed obligatory to have a picture taken next to this wall of glass. This was the area I spent most of my time.
When I managed to draw myself away I continued my tour past a deep blue tank of rays and other fish. Next was the wave pool, mimicking the shore line against the rock pools. Again there was seating here to watch the waves.
As you enter the next area with a mixture of jelly fish and delicate sea horses, you have to be careful that even if your camera is in no flash mode, the red lights are also strictly forbidden. Some of these creatures are affected by light.
The jelly fish are back lit in parts with a pinkie purple light and seem quite other worldly.
The delicate long snout sea horses dance on the fronds of plants in their aquarium.
Nearby was a tank containing a quite different type of sea horse which was super sensitive to light, but looked more like an alien creature than the others.
Next to this was a tank with more of the comical long horned cowfish who seemed to come to the glass and blow kisses at you, the delicate spiny fish with them seemed a little shier.
You then pass by the other side of the tank containing Nemo and friends.
The eels in the next display were very active and amazing to watch.
Two tanks together house crustaceans including long legged crabs and the pink spiny lobster. There seemed to be a bit of a territorial dispute taking place as we watched.
Next we passed under the stingrays through a glass tunnel with wooden benches either side. This was the busiest part that day and made taking photos difficult.
The catfish were next to greet us as we passed at the base of the huge tree we had passed earlier on the tour. Also amongst them were large golden fish and an even larger bronze coloured fish that seemed to have small fins for its size.
The last display contained brightly coloured discus fish and other strange, almost dagger handled shaped fish. All seemed to be chasing each other around their tanks.
You are then back at the start.
I’m told that there are about 350 different species there. Now that’s a challenge for someone to identify them all.
Great experience and one I would visit again.