If you’re in Heraklion and you’re seeking for activities to do with kids, take a look at this guide to visiting Cretaquarium Thalassokosmos. Your children are going to love every minute of this visit, you can take my word for it.
What Is CretAquarium?
Cretaquarium is the first large aquarium in Greece. It is the creation of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research and it hosts 2000 marine animals belonging to 200 different species. The 60 tanks are a representation of the Cretan and Mediterranean seabeds.
I’ve only visited this Mediterranean aquarium as a tourist. Nevertheless, Cretaquarium is also active behind the tourist stage in treating injured animals and implementing educational programs.
How To Get To CretAquarium Thalassocosmos?
The aquarium is located at about 15km from Heraklion, near Gournes. If you drive, you need to take the VOAK (the national road that connects towns on the northern coast of Crete). Just after you pass by the town of Gournes, leave the road to head over to Dinosauria Park, Planet Crete Planetarium, the International Exhibition Center of Crete, Gouves animal shelter and the Greek Center for Marine Research.
Just follow the road signs pointing to CretAquarium and you’ll eventually get there. The landscape is strange, as you need to cross a deserted area with ruins and run down buildings. Don’t worry, just keep driving. Cretaquarium is on a small road that leads to the sea shore. You’ll find free parking in the area. There’s also a beach near the aquarium, but it tends to get very busy on weekends.
Knossos is one of the things to see in Crete. If you visit Knossos in the morning, you can go to Cretaquarium just after that. There’s a road sign to Cretaquarium just in front of the public parking at Knossos. They were wise to put this sign there, as that’s exactly how we’ve discovered the aquarium.
Where To Buy Tickets for CretAquarium?
You can buy your tickets at the entrance. From April to October, the general entrance fee is 10 Euro. Seniors over 65 years old and children 5-17 years old need to pay only 6 Euros. Children 0-4 years old have free entrance. During winter, the ticket price is 6 Euro for all categories of visitors.
There are additional services available. Here’s the full list of fees, on the official Cretaquarium Thalassokosmos website.
If you want you can buy your tickets online and save a few Euros. Click here to see the current fee and to book your ticket.
Cretaquarium Photos & Visiting Tips
If you want to visit Cretaquarium on a Saturday or Sunday, consider going in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Most families with small children prefer to visit the aquarium in the first part of the day, before lunch (and before their kids start longing for their afternoon nap).
The visit will take you 1 – 1.5 hours. There are 60 tanks full of wonderful fish, jellyfish and other sea animals. You’ll want to spend quite a while watching those miracles of nature wandering around.
You are allowed to take photos. However, keeping your camera steady to take sharp photos in such low lighting conditions is a challenge. If possible, bring a tripod to hold your camera steady.
During pandemic times, you’ll need to wear a mask inside the building for the entire duration of your visit.
I haven’t noticed any shop, so you may want to bring water and a snack for the kids, just in case.
Have you visited Crete with kids? What about the Cretaquarium?