There's a lot of good stuff but its only half finished.
They were laying the sods of grass as we arrived and from a distance the building itself looks great, up close, Mmmm, badly rendered and finished but ok,
Nice Whale fountain though
The queue for the 33TL tickets was moving VERY slowly as the tills all had problems and from the 15 or so operators I expect 14 were there for "training"!
Anyway, got the tickets and couldn't find any Giris signs (entrance) after a few aborted ramblings were told it was on the 2nd floor up a long spiral walkway (no elevators or escalators, so if you're disabled, in a wheelchair, have dodgy hips or simply don't want to climb 2 floors of spiral walkway in 45 degree heat (outside) youre in trouble).
On entrance to the Aquarium proper they have a green screen photo booth so you can have your picture taken then by the time you come out you can be layered on to a number of aquarium backgrounds to make a nice photo souvenir.
The first impression was one of leaks! saw quite a few :)
But no big deal, bound to be some problems at the beginning, even if the music from JAWS was playing in my head :)
Now the one thing that really struck me as very good and as a big aquarium fan and having visited a lot of very big and famous ones I can honestly say that some of the tank designs and scenes are up there with the best. Whoever designed the tank interiors did a very good job, there isn't much sea foliage (seaweed and sea plants) in them but perhaps that will come later. But from sunken cities and standard pirate galleon faire to the barnacled mini (yes the CAR) in the eel tank the decorations look great.
BUT, there is no information plaques about what is inside the tank! Im hoping these will also come later or its not exactly educational!
One thing that did concern me was the "half tanks" with the glass up to about 150cm only and the top open, I wouldn't like to take bets on the crap that will get thrown into the tanks, unless they have better security (there were no security guards (in the room) watching the tanks), maybe they have cameras but by then fish could've been killed!
Talking of dead fish! There were some in the tanks today, of course I'm sure they've lost a lot but on opening day to have some dead fish in some tanks and some that looked very very ill with badly frayed fins and scales isn't a good first impression but hell, I couldnt keep most of my tropical fish alive so I can imagine how difficult a whole aquarium must be.
But on the whole some lovely fish in the main aquarium, good tank scenes and pleasant even if some tanks and areas were empty, im sure theyll finish them off later. They do have a shark tank with about 5 blue tip sharks in them (but again Im guessing at the breed as there are no information signs up)
So the controversial underwater tunnel, is it the worlds longest as touted? Well..... No, not by a long way, its not even 1 continuous tunnel it has a room in the middle to break it up :) BUT its is impressive, not that deep beneath the surface of the water but enough for the fish to swim above you which is the point I suppose :)
The glass and distortion in the tunnel gives an awesome light headed feeling so if you're hard up for a high just wander up and down looking up for 20 minutes and you don't need to smoke anything :) so what do they do when the tunnel ends to alleviate this disorientation? Plonk you in a room that's taken from a carnival hall of mirrors fun-house, I literally walked into the wall twice as its a small room completely covered floor to ceiling with perfectly shined mirrors and a couple of fish tanks that seem like they go on to infinity!
It seems like the designer quit near the end so the only one they could find to finish it off normally designs funfair rides!
There's the obligatory exit through the gift shop (which was also "nearly" ready)
A McDonalds near the entrance/exit (the only restaurant there) and that's all we saw today, the Snow World didn't seem to be operational and the same with the roof level (there should've been a big discount on the tickets as we couldn't see half of it yet!)
So overall, there's a lot of potential for it to be a great day out, I don't think they should've opened today, its clearly still being built and lots left to do and will leave a slightly bad first impression I think so my advice is wait a Month till when they said it would be finished (mid September) as this early opening seems to be a little bit of a desperate grab at tourism money before they leave for the season. But later this year and next year I'm sure it will be great and Ill update this article after the next visit.
Oh and yes, I found NEMO :)