I took the Haus des Meeres under the magnifying glass, or should I say, put in front of the porthole. I find the revolving door in the entrance somewhat awkward and difficult to cope with a wheelchair. That could have been solved better. Next, the ticket counter. The cash register is so high that the employee could only see me when bending over. But after paying, everything moves quite fast and you will be directed by an employee. The reduced ticket for wheelchair users costs 12.50 euros, an accompanying person is free. But beware: Do not forget your certificate of disability. For safety reasons, only three wheelchair users are allowed in the building at the same time. Maybe it makes sense to call ahead, but I went spontaneously and came in anyway. Since there is only one elevator, you sometimes have to wait a long time for the elevator. We once had to wait for almost 15 minutes.
The first highlight is located on the ground floor: Pisces, which have really fun being petted! Who would have thought that! The koi pool with the sign "please pet" is a hit especially for little visitors. From the wheelchair you can not pet the fish, because the pool edge is too high.
Then it goes on to the first floor. There are snakes, lizards and leafcutter ants. When we were there, almost all lizards slept. Particularly interesting to look at were the leaf cutting ants. These hardworking little guys have not just their terrarium, but a transparent tube system that goes through almost the entire floor. So you can watch them marching.
On the second floor it's tropical. The tropical house is really worth seeing. It stretches over three floors and offers not only huge aquariums with fish, bats and prehistoric crayfish, but in fact free-roaming land animals such as birds, small monkeys that perk up through the trees, and fruit bats. Using the elevator you can drive above the tree level. The aquariums on the lowest floor of the tropical house are accessible to little visitors through a tube system. We especially loved the crocodile that had a turtle on its back. The tropical house is very interesting, but not all levels are wheelchair accessible. Because of the authentic of the underground, it is somewhat bumpy with a mechanical wheelchair.
The highlight on the third floor is the so-called surf riff. A huge aquarium that is fully accessible to children through a glass dome. The water simulates the ocean current and creates waves. In some aquariums, it is possible to hear the sound of animals through a speaker, e.g. at the seahorses or at the warans.
I experienced the absolute sea feeling on the next floor. For the big shark tank, the word big is really no exaggeration. It extends over two floors (4th to 5th floor) and is very well visible from many sides. The sharks and other really swim close up.
Are you afraid of spiders? Then you should make a big bow around the spider terrarium on the 5th floor. Though, that will be difficult because you will see them directly when getting off the elevator.
On the sixth floor yousee the Chinese giant salamander, unless he's hiding in a dark corner.
My personal highlight is the Pacific Eye on the 7th floor. Here I could finally have the feeling to be within an aquarium. By an outwardly arched porthole you can even look the fish in the mouth and watch while eating the food.
As a child, I was always fascinated by caves. On the 8th floor you will find such a cave in small scale. But you should not be afraid of insects, because in this cave are scorpions, spiders and cockroaches.
If you want to get a breath of fresh air, we recommend the roof top terrace on the 9th floor with the magnificent view over Vienna.
Our trip to the Haus des Meeres ended at the big hammerhead aquarium.
Conclusion: I really enjoyed the Haus des Meeres. The only annoying thing were the long waits for the elevator, because it always goes from top to bottom or vice versa without stopping in between. My tip: because there is a lot to see especially on the lower floors, it is best to get into the elevator and go from the ground floor back to the desired floor. So you are getting faster in the elevator and save long waiting times. Very nice was the staff, which in two cases, moved the visitors to make room, so we could use with the elevator.
On the 1st and 5th floor there is a barrier-free WC. I tried the one on the 5th floor, which unfortunately was way too low for me.
I would recommend to take 3 to 4 hours for a visit. Especially for children, the Haus des Meeres is great fun, because it is designed very child-friendly. It is easily accessible by public transport (U3 stop Neubaugasse and bus 57A stop "Haus des Meeres").
Facts Haus des Meeres
Katharina Müllebner, March 11, 2016, Images: Claudia Lehmann