Bayworld Oceanarium is one of the leading tourist attractions in Port Elizabeth, in the heart of Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape. The oceanarium is unique to Southern Africa, incorporating an oceanarium, snake park, and two museums.
The Bayworld Oceanarium was temporarily closed down in April 2011 to stop the impending deterioration of the infrastructure, as well as to reduce the costs of operation. It has since been reopened from December 2011 and offers a myriad of exciting family activities.
The improved marine facility excludes the dolphin lake, tropical, and predator fish tanks that used to be housed in the facility, and instead displays 8 smaller tanks with fish and invertebrates focusing on the marine life of Algoa Bay, such as sea turtles, sharks, and sting rays. It also features renovated housing for a breeding colony of African penguins as well as a pool home to Cape Fur and Antarctic seals. Seal and penguin talks in the oceanarium are scheduled at 11 am and 3 pm daily.
The Bayworld Snake Park has been in existence since 1919 and houses a variety of reptiles, many of which are indigenous to the Bay area. The collection includes the longest species of snake in the world, the species responsible for the most deaths in Africa, a species that plays dead as a defence technique, and common garden snakes. You can also see lizards, crocodiles, tortoises, and terrapins here.
The facility also features the Port Elizabeth Museum (the third oldest in South Africa) and incorporates No 7 Castle Hill, a Victorian museum dating back to 1827 that has been declared a national monument.
Bayworld function venues
- The Dinosaur Hall: seats up to 40 guests, 60 guests cocktail
- The Marine Hall: seats 50 – 150 guests, 200 cinema style, 300 cocktail
- Xhosa Gallery: seats 20 – 30 guests, 60 cocktail
- Boardroom: seats 22 delegates
- Lecture hall: caters for up to 110 delegates cinema style, 80 classroom style
- The Bayworld Exhibitions and Events Centre: seats 280 conference hall, 96 seater auditorium, and multipurpose hall with catering and bar facilities.