Water lot of fun! Stunning new oceanarium set to attract 2.5 million visitors per year given go-ahead
Promising to be the largest facility of its type in Europe, a stunning proposal for an oceanarium in Gdańsk moved a step closer to being realized after authorities issued the necessary building permits to the investor, PFI Future.
Set to be executed in two stages, the latter will include a 300-room, 4-star hotel with conference space for 1,000 people as well as an “exotic lagoon”, an interactive science centre, a tropical forest, artificial beach, nine swimming pools and space for gastronomic and commercial units.
Spanning a total area of 45,000 sq/m, the project – currently titled Nautilus Gdańsk – will become the biggest “educational and leisure zone” in the country and is already being billed as a worthy rival of Berlin’s widely acclaimed Tropical Islands theme park.
“We want Gdańsk to become more and more recognizable,” said the President of PFI Future, Marek Nowara, “but we also want to develop it as a tourist destination in a way that’s sustainable. In this respect, I’m hopeful that our investment will further contribute to the city’s development.”
“The project is the perfect response to current tourist, entertainment and educational needs,” he continued, “and the facility will become the new tourist engine of the city as well as the most important tourist attraction on the Polish coast.”
The scheme’s principal draw – the oceanarium – will house 160 species sourced from, principally, South America and the Atlantic. Not for the faint-hearted, the plan includes a swimming pool separated from a shark tank by a glass wall.
Other standout elements will arrive in the form of a giant octopus tank, coral reef, cave complex and immense penguin enclosure.
Located next to the state-of-the-art Energa stadium, land worth 50 million złoty has been donated by the city as part of their drive to revitalize the Letnica district of Gdańsk.
Forecast to cost an eye-watering 450 million złoty in all, PFI Future have pledged to shell out around 50 to 60 million themselves, with the rest of the financing coming from bank loans. As it stands, PFI Future have been given till the end of June to secure the required funds.
While preliminary work has already begun to prepare the ground for construction, building will only begin in earnest once financing is assured. Should this be rubber stamped in summer, work is scheduled to last until the end of 2022.
Despite the hefty fee facing them, PFI Future are optimistic that the funds will be raised, pointing to the success of Wrocław’s so-called Afrykarium, the only oceanarium in the world solely dedicated to presenting the fauna of Africa.
Visited by 1.6 million people per year (compared to the 708,000 that visited Warsaw’s Rising ’44 Museum in 2019), it has become one of the nation’s primary tourist attractions.
Should all go to plan, Nautilus Gdańsk hope to smash that figure by targeting 2.5 million visitors per annum.