The Bergen Aquarium opened the 27th of August 1960 and at that point it was the largest and most modern Aquarium in Northern Europe. Since then it has been updated a few times and new collections added. Today it has more than 60 aquariums and sports more than 300 species. It’s main focus is still on the sea life along Norway’s coast. It does have a tropical section as well. And more recently it has added a reptile collection, a spider display and they do have som mammals and birds too. The birds, more specificly the penguins, was one of the main reasons we went for a visit as Truls really wanted to see the penguins. Bergen Aquarium has had penguins since the 1970’s. One of the first ones was the Southern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes crestatus) Rocky who arrived in 1974 and lived to be 29 years and 4 months old and with this was the oldest penguin in captivity.
The Bergen aquarium has a mission statement: “to spread knowledge about sea life and to give the visitors a representative view of Norwegian marine fauna and an instructive introduction to the animal life in the ocean with the purpose to increase the knowledge about animal life in the ocean as well as induce interest and understanding of the foundations for Norwegian fishing, hunting and aquaculture”
Going through the main entrance the first thing that greats us are pengiuns! The species of penguin that reside at the aquarium today are Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua). The Gentoos are easilly recognised by the white stripe extending across the top of its head as a bonnet and the bright orange-red bill. They will grow up to 51-90 cm in height and is the third largest spieces after the two giants; emperor and king penguin. In the wild they have their main breeding colonies in the sub-Antartic on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Kerguelen Island. They eat mainly crustaceans, krill being one of the main sources, as well as fish and squid. They are a near threatened species due to a rapid decline in some key populations.
We also meet sealions who put on a show, and a Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) called Selma outside. Selma had just become a lone seal as her mate Vitus earlier in 2015.
Inside we first encounter a pond with starfish, sand crabs and other shoreline animals. These we could pick up and explore. We then entered the section of the Norwegian waters before wandring into the tropical sections of the aquariums.
The reptile section and spider display was news for me. I have visited the Aquarium a few times in the past, but this section had the biggest change since my last visit. I really like reptiles and find them fascinating. We are not allowed to keep any reptile or amphibians as pets in Norway, which is fine by me as it leaves some temptations out of reach.
Last, we of course needed to bring something back from our trip to Bergen. Our choice was a stuffend animal. A Harbour seal, and we call ours Selma as well. We do love stuffed animals too, not only live ones. We see no reason to grow out of them.