One of Monaco’s hidden gems that is an absolute must while visiting is the incredible Oceanographic Museum. Housed inside of an impressive baroque-style building above the sea, this museum is the center of the Mediterranean Science Commission and Oceanographic Institute. It was inaugurated by the royal family of Monaco in 1910, recently celebrating its 100th anniversary.
What is fascinating about the museum is that it tells the story of the oceans, focusing specifically on the Mediterranean Sea. The Grimaldi family, Monaco’s royal family, have long been supporters and explorers of the sea – doing everything they can to help in the efforts of raising awareness about the health of both animals and the waters. In the museum, you can witness various rotating exhibitions addressing concerns related to maritime environments around the world.
Recently, the museum unveiled a shark exhibition, all in an effort to help people understand sharks, abandoning their irrational fears of the creatures. As a visitor, you can actually touch the sharks and learn about the challenges they face in the wild. In fact, in the museum’s lower levels, there are large aquariums that depict micro-habitats of creatures found in the local seas as well as tropical seas further afield – including nurse sharks and other species.
The Oceanographic Museum is home to exhibitions and collections of various species of sea fauna like: starfish, seahorses, turtles, jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, rays, sharks, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and eels. The museum’s holdings also include a great variety of sea related objects, including model ships, sea animal skeletons, tools, weapons and a collection of material culture and ritual objects made from pearls, mollusks and nacre.
This establishment is worth a day. Not only will you feel more connected to your surroundings, but you will leave with a greater appreciation of the sea and Monaco’s efforts in preserving it.