For decades Oceanworld Manly has been overshadowed by its big brother in Darling Harbour. But after a $1 million makeover the aquarium is better and wetter than ever, and now called the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.
The ‘Sea Life’ aquarium brand is attached to some 34 aquaria in Europe and the US. The adoption of the new brand comes with an endearing new exhibit – Penguin Cove, home to a ten-strong Little Penguin colony – but also a renewed focus on rehabilitation.
“Our ultimate goal is to successfully release rescued animals back into the wild,” says Brendan Kelly, the Sanctuary’s operations manager. “We see ourselves as protectors of the underwater world. We’ve been rehabilitating turtles and breeding Grey Nurse Sharks for years. But in adopting Sea Life’s ‘breed, rescue, protect’ ideology, it’s really coming to the fore.”
It’s also coming out from behind the scenes. Visitors to the Sanctuary will get to witness the process of nursing ailing aquatic life back to health in the ‘Rehab Room’. “We’re now geared towards ensuring all guests leave us with a greater understanding of marine issues, what we are doing about them and how they as individuals can make an impact.
“We will be advising the public about medical assessments of rescued animals, the treatment plan that has been formulated for those animals and the assessment of animals suitable for release.”
But, yes, you can still go diving with the sharks. In fact, we sent our roving reporter Yana Novak to the aquarium to do just that.