Honest Review: Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium, Lausanne

The Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium is an enjoyable tourist destination in Lausanne, Switzerland. You can get there in about 15 minutes from Lausanne’s city center. As Europe’s largest freshwater aquarium, it is frequently mentioned in various travel guides. But is the expense worth it? Or is it a tourist trap? Can the aquarium justify its price tag? We will discover more about Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium Lausanne in this review.

This freshwater aquarium and vivarium officially opened on Saturday, October 21, 2017. However, it is not exactly similar to bigger aquariums like the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China and S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore. These two aquariums in Asia house also non-freshwater fish. On the other hand, Aquatis is home to more than 10,000 freshwater fish and hundreds of animal species. Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium is Europe’s largest freshwater aquarium. 

Highlights at Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium

Image of fishes by TouringSwitzerland.com

Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium covers a total area of 3,500 square meters, providing shelter for freshwater species. There are over 10,000 fish inside, along with a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Aquatis is committed to promoting and protecting these animals from 5 continents across the globe.

The animals are presented and kept according to standards set by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the International Council of Museums’ Code of Ethics. Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium is also committed to the protection of freshwater areas by collaborating with other scientific organizations. It is not subsidized by the local government. 

Image of the animal nursery by TouringSwitzerland.com

Among the highlights of Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium include:

  • Over thousands of freshwater fishes
  • A nursery with the baby reptiles
  • Underwater tunnel with views of all the fishes swimming around
  • Tropical Rainforest

Aside from the freshwater fishes mentioned, there are also exotic animals inside Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium.

Exotic Animals at Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium

Image of the Komodo Dragon by TouringSwitzerland.com

Among the exotic animals found here at Aquatis are the Komodo Dragon and the Inland Taipan.

  • Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) reach lengths of nearly 3 meters and weigh about 3 kilograms, making them the world’s largest lizards.
  • Inland taipans (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) possess the highest venom content of any snake species. A single bite can kill up to 250,000 mice or 100 adults.
Image of a spider by TouringSwitzerland.com

Some other animals that you can find at Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium are the following:

  • white-faced Saki tree monkey
  • crocodile
  • tie monitor
  • axolotyl
  • various spiders

River Systems at Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium

Image of fishes by TouringSwitzerland.com

As you walk through Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium, you’ll discover the rivers and lakes of Africa, Asia, and the Amazonian region. The aquariums transport you to the different river systems of the world as you walk through them. 

What might be particularly interesting to the locals and the French visitors is the Rhône River. Rhône River originates in the Rhône Glacier. It then flows west and south through Lake Geneva and southeastern France. After flowing through France and Switzerland, the Rhône empties into the Mediterranean Sea. 

Immsersive Experience at Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

A variety of lights, projections, mirrors, and information screens enhance your experience as you move forward inside Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium. Most visitors spend at least an hour at the aquarium.

There is also a moving crocodile exhibit in Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium, which may be frightening to younger children but may be cool to older children. 

The Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium could easily keep you occupied as you wander around and take in the various exhibits. There are information screens at each station that feature explanations about the animals housed there. The explanations are concise and informative. Animal information is provided in English, German, and French.

 Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium also has an interactive app you can download for your iOS or Android phone. Information presented through the app or through the information screen is presented in an easy-to-understand manner, with very insightful explanations.

How Much Are the Tickets to Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium?

Image of a Saki Monkey by TouringSwitzerland.com

Look for discounts on the website https://www.aquatis.ch/ and take advantage of them. In addition, coupons may be offered after buying Coop groceries or after buying train tickets. Keep an eye out for these offers.

Those who would like to take a look around Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium without paying full price can also drop in anytime between 5:00 AM and 5:10 PM. Since they want to close by 6:00 PM, they already stop selling tickets at 5:10 PM.

You must pay for your ticket by 5:10 PM if you want to enjoy the discounted price. 

* Adults – CHF 29
* Students / AVS / AI – CHF 25
* Children (6-15 years) – CHF 19
* Happy hour starting at 5:00 PM until 5:10 PM – CHF 10
* Children under 6 years old – Free

How to Get To Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium

Aquatis is easily accessible by public transportation. It is located about 15 minutes from Lausanne’s city center. The parking garage next to the aquarium can be used to park cars. 

AddressRte de Berne 144
1010 Lausanne
Public Transport:P+R Vennes

Travelling by Car

Lausanne-Vennes can be reached via the A9 motorway. To get to Moudon / Epalinges, take the Route de Berne. Follow signs for P+R Vennes. There is a parking lot there. 

You can also waive 50% of the parking fee by validating your ticket at the Aquatis shop. 

Travelling by Car

Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium can be reached by metro. Take the M2 towards Croisettes from Lausanne. Then get off at Vennes. Total travel time is approximately 10 minutes.

Restaurant, Hotel, and Shop at Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium

  • Le Piranha Restaurant – Restaurant food is average, neither good nor bad. 
  • Outside Area – There is a big open area outside the restaurant, aquarium, and hotel. For those who wish to eat outside, there are some tables and chairs. The water fountains are sometimes set up for small children to play in. Sometimes the water fountains are turned on, sometimes they are not.
  • Shop – At the aquarium’s exit, you will find a souvenir shop where you can buy plush toys, key rings, t-shirts, books, and more. 
  • Aquatis Hotel – Aquatis Hotel offers 143 rooms. It is clean and modern. The breakfast is good, although its selection is not huge. In most cases, guests are offered discounted aquarium tickets when they book their stay with the hotel.

Is Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium Worth The Price?

Image of the tropical rainforest by TouringSwitzerland.com

Would it be worthwhile to go to Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium? Our answer is YES, definitely. This is a place we’ve visited several times, and it’s never disappointing. Our kids love going there whenever we can. While we have been here several times as a family, it never gets boring to return to it. I recommend visiting if you are ever in or around Lausanne.  Although some people might find the price a bit steep, it is also worth the price.

People who enjoy learning about animals and who realize the high costs of maintaining the Aquarium-Vivarium and the thousands of animals will surely pay this price. When it comes to our case, we will happily pay the price and return again and again. By visiting, you are not only supporting the infrastructure, but also their species conservation efforts. 

Here are some suggestions for those who wish to get discounted tickets: 
* You might also save 30% on tickets if you book online.
* You can avail of a package deal that includes Aquatis tickets and hotel accommodations.
* You can check Coop and SBB in case they offer discounts.
* You can come in during happy hour between 5:00 PM and 5:10 PM. Make sure that you buy the ticket during this 10-minute window. After 5:10 PM, they will no longer be selling tickets. 
* You can also have your parking ticket validated at the Aquatis Shop for a 50% discount.

I am impressed by the museum’s design and the way that its exhibits are arranged.  From theme to theme, the exhibits flow smoothly. Both the tanks and the screens are in good condition. It shares some similarities with aquariums in other parts of the world, but the immersive and interactive nature of the experience sets it apart. The focus on freshwater species and ecosystems is also distinctive.

Weekends can be very busy at this venue, so purchasing tickets online might be a good idea. 

Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium is an excellent tourist attraction in Lausanne. Not only does it appeal to children, but to anyone who enjoys learning about animals and freshwater ecosystems. Those in the Lake Geneva area may also find it to be a great option during rainy weather.