Fun fact: this writer’s first job was not at Secret Seoul, as an assistant at a magazine, nor as an account assistant at an agency. I started my first corporate job at SEA LIFE Aquarium in Sydney, and happily, when I returned to Korea, I was able to keep enjoying incredible marine habitats at COEX Aquarium, which is owned by the same operator, Merlin Entertainment.
COEX Aquarium is one of Seoul’s must-visit spots and our personal pick as the best aquarium in Seoul, both for the beauty of its marine life, and for the peacefulness you feel when you visit. Half out of love for my old job and half out of responsibility as the current editor of Secret Seoul, I’ve put together four reasons to visit COEX Aquarium, whether you’re a local or a visitor to Seoul.
1. COEX Aquarium helps to preserve aquatic species for future generations
COEX Aquarium is home to more than 650 species of marine life and 20,000 underwater creatures. They develop a variety of exhibits to help people and underwater creatures live together in harmony, emphasising that we and the fish are part of the same global ecosystem.
As it focuses on the encounters and harmony between living creatures, going beyond mere “tourism,” COEX Aquarium also strives to research and preserve the unknown world of the ocean. As a member of the Sea Life Trust, they continue to participate in campaigns to create a healthy ocean, and you’ll find that the aquarists and employees at COEX Aquarium are driven by their love for animals.
2. It’s the biggest shark habitat in Korea
COEX Aquarium’s main aquarium, the Sea Kingdom, is actually the largest shark habitat in the country. More than 40 sharks, including sandbar sharks and tiger sharks, along with two species of rays, can be seen in the main tank. The aquarium also organises ecological lectures to learn about the stingrays and sharks.
After passing through the Sea Kingdom, you’ll come to an undersea tunnel where you can see sharks frolicking overhead. In our opinion, the variety of sea creatures at COEX Aquarium – including the variety of sharks, green sea turtles, West African manatees, piranhas, penguins and seals – makes it the best aquarium to visit in Korea. Visit with your family, significant other, or friends and enjoy some peaceful time amongst the residents of the waters.
3. It hosts various seasonal events throughout the year (including Santa giving gifts to good fish!)
Daily events are part of life at COEX Aquarium, including the ever-popular mermaid shows, as well as penguin feeding shows and ecological presentations on penguins, seals, and sharks. During the Christmas season at COEX Aquarium, you can see divers dressed as Santa, whilst other events are organized for each season. Not only does it capture the attention of young children, but it’s also fun for adults as well! Check out the latest events here.
4. More than an aquarium, it shows us that the seas are a whole world of their own
In my first interview for COEX’s sister aquarium in Sydney, I was asked “How will you entertain visitors?”. A natural question to ask. but in retrospect, entertainment isn’t the only part of the aquarium’s role, something which a visit to COEX Aquarium clearly proves. In providing an experience that brings visitors and marine life together in a harmonious way, the aquarium ensures that people’s interest doesn’t end when their visit does, but helps inspire them to think about their role in the ecosystem, and perhaps even connect to conservation and ecosystem clean-up efforts. This is probably the better answer to the question I was asked that day: to encourage people to interact with the creatures within the confines of a tank, so that their interest in this ecosystem can expand infinitely beyond their visit. At this incredible day out, that’s exactly what you’ll find.