14 Things to Do at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town

If you are having a rough week and you just want to go visit a shark, chat to a penguin or be stared at by a turtle (I effing love turtles), The Two Oceans Aquarium (also known as 'the Cape Town Aquarium') is the place for you! 

Here are 14 reasons to visit Cape Town's Two Oceans Aquarium:

1. You can find Nemo:

And by "find Nemo", I mean "find yourself surrounded by Nemos." 
Girl holding breath in clownfish tank at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

2. You can be a turtle

And take turtle-grams to post on your Instagram to the envy of all your followers and the people who bullied you in high school! 

Girl in oversized turtle shell at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town
Look at me now, guys!

3. You can play at the I&J Children’s Play Centre

Sometimes they even have puppet shows!

4. You can discover some weird-looking fish

The Skretting Diversity Gallery is home to some fish that can’t be found in any other aquarium in the world. 

A strange fish at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

One example is the very attractive hagfish which doesn’t have jaws, eyes, fins or scales, but it can produce vast amounts of slime if it gets scared. When my mother says “Don’t worry, Sha, there are plenty of other fish in the sea,” this is the image that comes to mind. Sexy! 

(I didn’t actually photograph it but it looks a bit like a coily poo. 💩) 

5. You can marvel at the cool sharks

The Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit, a huge tank that holds 2 million litres of water is home to some impressive Ragged-tooth sharks. It raises awareness about the plight of sharks and educates visitors about the facts concerning these misunderstood creatures. Don’t get too attached to the inhabitants though; they frequently get released back into the ocean. 

Girl looking at shark at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

6. You can see crabs bigger than your dog


Giant crab Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town
(Okay, this photo is terrible but you get the idea.) #giantcrabselfie

7. You can see (and sometimes smell) the penguins  

The Penguin Exhibit is home to a breeding colony of African black-footed penguins (also known as Jackass Penguins - Tee hee!) and northern rockhopper penguins, as well as some other reptiles, frogs and freshwater fish. 

You may recognise some of these guys. During South Africa’s first hard lockdown, their keeper, Ayrton King, would walk them through the aquarium and show them the other creatures.  The results were so cute they went viral and they were even featured in the Expresso Show: 

8. You can go through the tunnel

What is an aquarium if it doesn't have a tank with a tunnel in it? I&J Ocean Exhibit is one of those big tanks with a 10-metre-long tunnel through it to give visitors the feeling of being surrounded by ocean life. Containing 1.6 million litres of seawater, it is home to a variety of fish, rays, turtles and sometimes divers, with the odd influencer passing through.

People walking through tunnel tank at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

9. You can walk along the edge of a forest

A kelp forest that is! 

This exhibit is one of only two of its kind in the world. The tranquil exhibit features a variety of fish swimming around the two-metre-high swaying kelp fronds belonging to three different species. 

The kelp forest as seen through a boardroom at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

10. You can experience a living screensaver

The Jelly Gallery is home to some very strange alien-like creatures and some creative neon lighting. These creatures may not have hearts, spines or brains, but they will have you mesmerised while they float about. 

Neon coloured jelly fish at the Cape Town Aquarium

The spectacular exhibit also provides some inspiration for some creative photographs:

family seen through jelly fish tank

11. You can scuba dive 

The Aquarium offers a range of Diving experiences for different ages and experience levels. Become part of the I&J Ocean Exhibit and photobomb the Instagrammers in the tunnel, more interested in getting the perfect shot than seeing the fish.  Or, if you have the right qualification, you can get up close and personal with some more intimidating ocean life (based on commonly held misperceptions anyway). Why go shark-cage diving (seriously it’s a bit controversial) when you can dive without the cage?

(I haven't actually done this, but I'd like to.)

A diver feeds the fish at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

12. You can fake-surf

13. You can be tricked by a turtle

During my last visit, the aquarium was home to a turtle that would play dead and lie lifeless at the bottom for a really long time until you’re about to alert someone who works there that the turtle corpse is disturbing to the children, before it would suddenly springs to life, swims around and looks at you like you’re crazy for being concerned. 

Turtles are the best! 

A rescued cape town turtle

Turtle at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Girl in face mask takes selfie with a turtle
(A somewhat more flattering #turtleselfie than the last one - Even if you can't see half my face!)


Related post:  How to take the perfect #turtleselfie


Don’t get too attached to the turtles though. They are frequently rehabilitated and released into the wild. Click here to discover the Aquarium’s story of one such turtle named 'Bob'. 

14. You can get in for free on your birthday!

(If you’re a South African citizen or permanent resident) 

I’ll be back in August, you guys!

About the Two Oceans Aquarium:

The Aquarium is also home to a vast variety of sea creatures from both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans which meet not far from Cape Town. (Hence the name of the aquarium!) Approximately 8000 animals of 300 species can be found here. It is committed to educating visitors about preserving the ocean as well as rehabilitating and protecting ocean life. In its efforts to conserve not just the oceans but the entire ecosystem, it is partially solar-powered. 

It is also home to a gift store with an extensive range of souvenirs and a branch of the Bootlegger Coffee Company (which sells a lot more than just coffee) if you need a meal or a refreshment.

Exterior view of the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

When is the Aquarium Open: 

Monday - Friday: 9:30am – 6:00pm (With extended hours over Christmas and New Years)
Saturday - Sunday and public holidays: 9:00am - 6:00pm

How much is the aquarium at the Waterfront

Toddler looks up at aquarium tank

How to get to the Aquarium:

Address: Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

If you have your own transport or a rental car, directions can be found here.  

The Portswood Parking Garage would probably be the most convenient place to park, however the Aquarium can be reached on foot from any of the parking garages in the V&A Waterfront Complex.

If you are relying on public transport, the museum is located on Route 104 of the My City Bus

It is very conveniently one of the stops on about three different routes of the City Sightseeing Open Bus Tour route.

2 Oceans Aquarium Contact Info:

More info can be found on their website

The star fish are bad at social-distancing

Other Things to do Near the Aquarium:

In addition to a vast array of shops and restaurants, the V&A Waterfront is also home to a food market, the Watershed (a craft market), the Cape Wheel (a Ferris wheel with a view), numerous boat tour operators and the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island, all in walking distance. You can also check out the world-class art museum the Zeitz MOCAA

The aquarium is also located on the canal in the V&A Waterfront canal district and is one of the stops on the City Sightseeing canal cruise. You can ride this hop-on-hop-off boat all day to a number of other attractions along the route, such as the Hotel Sky with its Sky-Hi Ride

For more ideas of things to do nearby, check out this post on things to do in the vicinity of the Cape Town Cruise Port.

View of Table Mountain from the Cape Town Waterfront

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1 comment:

  1. Images you have shared here is very beautiful. Thanks for effort.


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