Oceanario de Lisboa
Lisbon had much to offer us right around the corner of our apartment, but the number one selling point for our kids was the Oceanario de Lisboa. According to TripAdvisor, the aquarium is the top attraction in Lisbon, and certainly one we could get behind. The Oceanario is located just outside the center city in Parque das Nacoes, which was built for the 1998 World Expo. The streets are wide and everything is modern, but in all honesty, we did not easily find the Oceanario. Exiting the metro, we found street signs few and slightly misleading, and the Oceanario is further away from the metro station that we anticipated. Maybe it was just us.
You don’t get much more child-friendly than an aquarium, and the Oceanario kept our kids’ attention. Yet, frankly, for Europe’s largest aquarium, Dennis and I were somewhat disappointed. Perhaps it’s because the National Aquarium in Baltimore is our point of reference. But we just kept going around and around, seeing the same creatures on repeat. Charlotte kept asking if we had already seen that creature. We still would have added it our itinerary, but I’m not sure that we would the next time. And I’d caution East Coasters to check their expectations.
After the Oceanario, we wandered down to the Vasco de Gama mall, where we grabbed lunch from the impressive food court. Seriously, the mall was huge and there were more salad options that I’ve ever seen before in one place. The kids also got to pick from McDonalds or Burger King, both of which Henry calls Chick-fil-A.
On a side note, there are other things to do in the Parque das Nacoes, like a science center that sounds neat for older kids and a cable car that would be awesome if you weren’t scared of heights or your baby screaming in a tight, closed space alongside a couple dozen strangers.