Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fakieh Aquarium

Fakieh Aquarium is Jeddah's latest family entertainment facility and the first of its kind within the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  It is absolutely beautiful, kept immaculately clean, and promises to be an outing for the family that is educational as well as fun.  

The aquarium opened in January to overwhelming crowds.  Located near Sari Street on Jeddah's Corniche, which runs north and south along the Red Sea coastline, the aquarium will eventually be home to more than 7000 different types of marine life, from sharks to dolphins to seals and  jellyfish.   The first thing one sees when approaching the facility from the north is the gorgeous colorful tile mosaic depicting underwater sea life on the side of the building.   

The viewing tanks are large and spectacular, furnished with mangroves and coral reefs native to the area.  The walk through tunnel tank is particularly outstanding.  It reminded me very much of the many times I have been snorkeling in the Red Sea.  I even saw some species that I’ve never seen while snorkeling.  Sadly many Saudis, in particular females, are never taught how to swim so they have never been able to snorkel and experience the wondrous beauty of the Red Sea.  Fakieh Aquarium gives them the opportunity to see the amazing sea life firsthand that had previously been outside their realm of possibilities.

We also took in the Dolphin Show while we were there.  It is performed four times daily.   For a school day, there was a fairly good crowd at the 1pm showing.   A restaurant on site is still under construction and will hopefully open in the near future.  

Admission tickets cost 50 riyals per person, and the Dolphin Show is another 50 riyals.  Children under 2 are admitted for free.  For one person, the price isn’t bad, but for large families, a trip to the aquarium can seem rather costly.  Occasionally a discounted rate of 30 riyals is offered on Fridays through Fakieh Aquarium's Facebook page.  Hours of operation are from 11am to 11pm Saturday through Thursday.  Friday hours are 1:30pm to 11pm.

I was a little miffed at the products for sale in the aquarium’s gift shop.  Most of them were just toys that can be bought anywhere else and didn’t really pertain at all to sea life.  I was particularly surprised to see the pillows bearing the image of a scantily clad Betty Boop on sale in the aquarium gift shop.  Seriously?  

Overall Fakieh Aquarium is impressive and I must commend them for a job well done.  The sea creatures appear well cared for, the staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and the facility itself is gorgeous. 

I hope you enjoy the above slideshow of my visit.  To see more photos taken by other visitors to the aquarium, please CLICK HERE.  

Enjoy this Saudi Gazette article:  Explore the wonders of the sea world at Fakieh Aquarium


  1. Hello, Susie! We're a group of photo enthusiasts here in Jeddah and we are wondering whether there's enough lighting during the night time dolphin shows for us to be able to take good photos. Is the place really worth the visit, they say it's a little too small for a tunnel aquarium.

    We plan to go there during this coming holidays. Thanks!

    1. Hi Noel - I'm sorry but I haven't been there at night, but I would think there would be good lighting for the dolphin shows. In my opinion, it's definitely worth a visit. They really did a nice job creating this place and it's the only one in Saudi Arabia as far as I know. I thought the tunnel aquarium was quite nice myself - and I've been to several others around the world. Best Wishes!

    2. Good day, Miss Susie! We went there during the last Ramadan and the entrance fees are really worth it. Though I find that there are relatively less marine species as compared to what I've seen so far in other countries. Thanks for your response, we went there and have seen the dolphin show in late in the afternoon.

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  4. My kids always want to see dolphins and i don't know that after 1 year of stay in jeddah i didnt able to find this place