The Ozeaneum in Stralsund is a perfect place to escape the boring and stressful everyday life for a couple of hours. It abducts its visitors into a magical, fascinating underwater world.
The journey begins in the imposing glassy reception hall of the modern, white museum building right at the harbour of the city. The building is made of bright, curved building parts that evoke rocks from the beach and sails of maritime boats. The creative architecture of the museum catches all the attention because it stands in contrast to the rest of the city, which has ancient houses with red roofs and gothic churches that grow, like lighthouses, towards the baltic sky.
From the ticket counter a 30 meter long escalator passes by every floor and ends at the rooms of the top floor. (Fun fact: the length of the escalator equals the length of a blue whale.) This is where the visitors dive into a copy of the dock of the harbour of Stralsund — without getting their feet wet. It is interesting to see what is hidden under the surface of the usually turbid water at which the visitors pass by on their way to the entrance of the museum. In between of an old rusty bike, tons of empty beer cans, half mouldered planks and broken bottles, a school of herrings makes its way through the aquarium while its scales shimmer in all colours of the rainbow. This first exhibition puts its focus on the exciting underwater world of the baltic sea and educates the visitors about garfish, lumpfish, common jellyfish and co. Calming music with the sound of waves accompanied by a color and lights play, that reminds of the polar lights, lets the visitors walk through an impressive glass tunnel that recreates a faithful copy of the North Sea underwater world and leads directly into the second exhibition, where educational information boards and fun experimental kits about mud flats and cold-water coral reefs can be found.
A giant water basin, with a capacity of 2.6 million liter water, is by far the largest aquarium of the Ozeaneum. It represents the spectacular living environment of the open Atlantic Ocean. Behind the 50 squaremeter huge panorama window, black seabreams are swimming their laps. Peacefully looking rays, with spreaded wings, are gliding through a school of jack fish while some of the groupers dart, with their dark eyes, a glance at whats on the other side of the pane. Some shark species are hiding in the huge shipwreck, that is placed right in the middle of the basin, while other sharks love to present their graceful swim skills.
After all these many impressive experiences, that are filled with life, it is the perfect time for relaxation. For this occasion, it works well to visit the 1:1- Giants of the Seas exhibition of the museum , which presents replicas of whales in original size hovering over the entire height of the big exhibition hall. The dark room is equipped with cozy loungers that allow to have a perfect view to the ceiling where for example an impressive 26 meter long illuminated blue whale can be marvelled at. While laying on the compfortable chairs and listening to pleasant whale songs and watching the gentle giants, the only thing to do is to sharpen the senses of hearing and seeing. It is the perfect environment to forget the everyday life for a moment and to only enjoy the here and now.
Another highlight of the museum can be found on the roof top – and no, I am not talking about a cocktailbar. The roof terrace is where the small and cute Humboldt Penguins can be found. Those special kind of birds love to dive under water and to waddle over the rocks above water. They look really cute with their little fins wiggeling while swimming through the crooked, blue painted pools or sunbathing their white bellies of their black body while enjoying the beautiful view over the red roofs of the old town of the hanseatic city and its harbour.