Located just south of Coral Beach, this fascinating complex consists of three one-story buildings on the beach with distinctive rounded roofs and two underwater observatories, which are 90m (295 ft.) out to sea beside a picturesque reef called the Japanese Gardens. A pier binds the observatories to the coast. In addition to the underwater observatories, you'll also find the Maritime Museum and the aquarium. The aquarium is built so that you stand in the middle and the fish swim around you in a huge circular tank. The third building is a pleasant snack bar/cafe. There are also large outdoor observation pools -- one for big sharks and another for sea turtles and rays. The tower of the observatory rises out of the sea to a height of 6m (20 ft.); inside, a spiral staircase of 42 steps leads down to the observatory itself. Since the water in the gulf is generally crystal clear, observation of the magnificent fish and coral life is unparalleled. For an additional NIS 10 ($2.50/£1.25), you can visit the Oceanarium, a high-tech simulated "dive" in a small theater that offers the sights and feel of going underwater. Kid-friendly and with lots of snack bars (and shops), the entire complex was reconstructed and redesigned in 2005.
Tip: The best time to visit the observatory is between 10am and 1pm, when the light is good and the water is usually calm and clear. Be sure not to miss feeding time, which is at 11:30am.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2010