Opened in 1998, during the last world exhibition to take place in the 20th century, entitled “The oceans, a heritage for the future”, the Oceanário de Lisboa has eternalised the centuries-old bond between Lisbon and the ocean.
The Oceanário de Lisboa is a large public aquarium whose prestige is widely recognised, not only in Lisbon and Portugal, but also across the world. Visited by approximately 1 million people every year, the Oceanário is the most popular cultural attraction in Portugal.
The excellent exhibitions organised by the Oceanário and the architectural features of its buildings, full of symbolism, allow for a unique, unforgettable experience. The Oceanário consists of two buildings connected by a large forecourt: the original Edifício dos Oceanos ("Oceans Building") and the new Edifício do Mar ("Sea Building"). The forecourt, from which the exhibitions and the educational area can be accessed, boasts a magnificent panel featuring 55 thousand tiles.
As a modern aquarium, it is committed to continuously developing educational activities aimed at encouraging people to learn more about the oceans and marine species. The Oceanário also focuses on its mission and seeks to draw people’s attention to current environmental issues. In this sense, it collaborates with several institutions with a view to promoting ocean sustainability, by supporting scientific research and marine biodiversity conservation projects. The Oceanário de Lisboa employs a team of highly qualified biologists and engineers who ensure the quality of its exhibitions and provide consulting services to several aquariums and similar institutions.
On the basis of the pedagogic, scientific and cultural purposes of Oceanário's activity, the Portuguese government classified the use and administration of Oceanário de Lisboa's premises a public service in March 2015. Oceanário de Lisboa, S.A. was granted the concession for these activities.
In addition to this classification as a public service, in September 2015 the Portuguese government approved the disposal of all shares of Oceanário de Lisboa, S.A. to Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos, SGPS, S.A. on the overall strength of its proposal. Sociedade Francisco Manuel dos Santos, SGPS, S.A. created the Oceano Azul Foundation in December 2016, which is currently the sole shareholder of Oceanário de Lisboa, S.A. Its mission is to work towards a productive and healthy ocean for the benefit of the planet.
The Oceanário de Lisboa has implemented an Integrated Quality and Environmental management System as part of its development strategy. It was the first public aquarium in Europe to achieve the ISO 9001, 14001 and EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) Quality Certifications.