Oceanarium and Zoo
Lisbon has a huge oceanarium, which is one of the most outstanding ones in the world. It’s a large complex, where you can easily spend all day. When we got there, our babies were just mesmerized.
The interior of the oceanarium is truly grand. There are high three-people-tall aquariums in the form of huge wide pipes, which are surrounded by stairs for a better look at the inside of the pipes. All fish and aquatic animal species, even the rarest ones, seaweed, corals are present here. It’s so curious to walk around and have a close look at, for instance, a sunfish or sharks – which, by the way, live in peace with other inhabitants of the mega-aquariums.
There are lots of exhibitions dedicated to the ancient animal world. There are even meadows and tropical forests which you can enter and walk around.
The boys ran around there, got overfilled with impressions and information, and we noticed they got really tired. We found a small room, where they were just running noisily during some time as if getting rid of a surfeit of energy.
We also managed to visit Lisbon Zoo. Just like all other large European zoos, it was quite pricey – €22 for an adult ticket (it’s free for babies). In comparison, an adult ticket to the oceanarium costs significantly less – €15.
There are lots of animals there. However, unfortunately, we weren’t able to see many of them, as it was very hot, and most zoo inhabitants were either sleeping or hiding from the heat in the shadow. Nevertheless, we still had much fun. For example, a peacock came to us, and we fed it with ice cream, and we saw a bear that was bathing. The children were so excited about that!
One of the features of the zoo is a dog cemetery with well-groomed graves and tombstones with touching epitaphs.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Portuguese are really good at cooking fish – it’s extremely delicious here. They often use cod and sardines, which are mainly sold tinned or frozen in other countries. Here, only fresh fish is used to prepare a huge variety of dishes.
It’s curious that most Portuguese restaurants are very small and cramped. They have a tiny hall – which is, in fact, no hall at all, but just a room – with 3-4 miniature tables standing very close to each other. It was often just impossible to fit our pram in the narrow aisles between the tables. In this case, we had to leave it outside. Furthermore, it was sometimes hard to find a place with a table for our big “gang” (the four of us and our babysitter).
Portuguese restaurants have one more feature (or rather ploy) that we discovered when we decided to have a bite during a walk. We entered the eatery, sat down at the table, and started to choose what to eat. We weren’t particularly hungry, because our main meal is usually in the evening. The children were sleeping, so we could calmly study the menu.
As we were doing that, a waiter brought us a small plate with sliced jamón and fried pieces of bread. We often saw such “compliments from the chef” at other countries’ restaurants, so we tasted the snacks, waited for the dishes we had ordered, and asked for the bill. How shocked we were to see that the total is much h