Underwater Observatory in Eilat.

Living treasures of the Red Sea.

Underwater Observatory in Eilat locates in 6 kilometers from center. It is the most amazing attraction in these places. Directly from the sea rises a white tower, similar to a lighthouse, with the flag of Israel on top. But lighthouses usually stand on the shore! Right! This is not what it seems, but a unique underwater observatory in Eilat.

The Center for Scientific Research is an interesting tourist site, extremely popular with visitors to the city. A peculiar “treasure island of the Red Sea”. Here you can see them without going under the water on their own, because not all of them can do it! And what about children who also want to see the underwater world? Here you can see all his wonders, being in complete safety.

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David Friedman and coral reef.

Surprisingly, the founder of the underwater observatory in Israel, David Friedman, firstly, was not born in the Country, and secondly, did not have a specialized biological education!

David was born in Buenos Aires and studied at the Faculty of Economics. But his heart was drawn to the study of the natural world. During his student holidays, he traveled through Argentine forests, studying tropical butterflies and river fish. He was 23 years old when he first came to Eilat. In 1956, Eilat was just a village, there was no active scientific life here. But there was a beautiful coral reef. Then people were not spoiled by various information from TV and the Internet, and David saw all the beauty with his own eyes. And fell in love with the Red Sea forever.

In 1962, almost thirty-year-old David finally moved to Eilat with his family. He worked as a simple chauffeur, and devotes all his free time to exploring the coral reef. Eilat already had the “Museum of the Sea”, but what could be seen there?

A few shark dummies? Dead coral skeletons? There were also small aquariums. David believed that such exposure – just nothing, and his beloved Red Sea is worthy to be shown to people in all its glory. He helped biologists who came for research, and they shared knowledge with him. But it all came down to a financial problem.

In the 1970s, Eilat began to develop the tourism industry. And those who did not want to give money for science, were ready to invest them in much more profitable tourism. David convinced investors that the Red Sea has something to show people from all over the world. Underwater Observatory in Eilat – the work of his life.

The construction of the observatory.

In 1968, the Interuniversity Laboratory of Marine Research was opened in Eilat. Professor Lev Fishelzon became David’s like-minded person. Together they came up with an underwater tunnel with portholes that runs through the entire reef. But the funds were enough only to build a tower with a “glass” below, which rose above the water in 1975. Unusual attraction – Underwater Observatory Marine Park – very much liked by tourists, one could think about the gradual expansion of the project.

The modern tower is the second version, created in 1991. The tower was built on the ground, and when they tried to lower it into the sea, a funny problem arose: the tower jumped out of the water like a float. Workers had to load it with ballast – wreckage of tanks, trophies of the Six Day War. So the Egyptian armed forces helped build the Israeli observatory!

Then from the construction work “escaped” fish – they were lured back with new corals. The height of the modern tower is 23 m, the construction in the sea is submerged to a depth of 6 meters. After admiring the reef, you can climb to the top – there is the “Terrace of the World”, from which 3 countries can be seen with the naked eye – Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

At first, the tower was one, but the influx of tourists demanded more, and therefore the zones “Rare Fish”, “Red Sea Aquarium”, “Amazonian Hut”, artificial reservoirs for sharks and turtles appeared here.

Journey to the underwater world.

The Underwater Observatory at Marina Park is a great place for families with children. Children are always delighted! And it is interesting to adults. This is an expansion of horizons, because local staff and guides tell a lot about all the exhibits, and a beautiful sight – fancifully colored corals of fantastic forms and smooth movements of marine life delight the eye. In addition to the observatory itself, from underwater windows of which everyone can observe the natural life of a genuine coral reef, other areas are worth visiting.

“Key points” can be bypassed in just an hour and a half. If you are interested in all the details – you need to spend half a day. But it’s worth it.

Underwater Observatory in Eilat: a collection of rarities.

In 35 aquariums collected rare and even endangered species of fish and marine animals. Each aquarium represents a separate region. It recreates all the natural conditions that exist in the natural habitat of creatures, among which are even poisonous, dangerous to humans. Unforgettable impressions are waiting for you in the “dark room”. It is illuminated by fish! Bioluminescent creatures slowly glide in the water, like living lights.

By the way, Friedman gained fame in the scientific world thanks to luminous fish. Accompanying the scientific expeditions to the coral reefs of Sinai, he became interested in seeing the greenish glow in the water. He caught in the aquarium amazing Photoblepharon palpebratum. Empirically, he found out how to keep them alive in captivity. Previously, scientists could only study them dead. It turned out that they do not tolerate daylight. Fishes with burning eyes made a real sensation in Tel Aviv, and later Friedman caught them for biologists of other countries.

Aquarium of the Red Sea.

This is an amazing circular exposition, in which a favorable environment for the life and prosperity of flora and fauna is created artificially. The aquarium is flooded with sea water, the “natural” temperature is maintained in it, corals are carefully grown, the fish feel at home. They are properly fed and carefully monitored the development and reproduction of each species, and there are almost 400 species here. Eyes diverge from diversity and variegation.

Amazon hut.

This exhibition is the home of the inhabitants of the tropics. Here you can look at caimans and piranhas, eels, tree frogs and other aquatic and amphibian.

Shark World.

Because of the enormous size of the inhabitants had to build a grand dwelling for them, accommodating 650,000 liters of water. This is the largest aquarium of the complex, two dozen sharks live here. They can be seen through the glass wall, and it is possible in a transparent 15-meter tunnel, as if staying in their society. Impressive!

The shark pool is the newest one, opened in 2014. The underwater observatory in Eilat can rightly be proud of it – it always attracts the largest number of viewers because it generates the most vivid emotions: although you know that the shark cannot reach the public, it is still scary when she swims right on you!

Turtle Island.

This pool is divided into two parts: in one live adult turtles, in the second – young, born already here. In the center – a sandy island, here they are selected when it comes time to lay eggs. Many bred turtles are released into the sea.

Two species of sea turtles are bred here: green (herbivorous) and Biss tortoise (eats everything).

Skulls-tailings coexist with turtles, also of two species – sea cats and braces. Both pose a danger to humans, and they are not without reason called their tails – after a injection of a poisonous thorn, a person may feel a serious indisposition.

Schedule of interesting shows.

If you want to see the feeding of living exhibits and learn how to get sea pearls, keep in mind the following hours:
11:00 – the diver goes down to the “Shark Pool” to feed the sea monsters.
11:30 – Breakfast in the aquarium of rare fish and animals.
12:00 – feeding the inhabitants of the “Aquarium of the Red Sea”, is made by a scuba diver.
12:30 – food is received by the population of the “Turtle Island”.
13:00 – opening of pearl shells.
13:30 – feeding teenage turtles.
14:30 – lunch at the sharks.
15:00 – food delivery to the “Amazon hut”.

Scary movie.

Since 1997, the Oceanarium has been working in the underwater observatory – this is the name of the cinema hall, where a 4D film about life at the bottom of the sea is shown. 17 minutes of presence effect are waiting for you right among the marine predators, the chairs in the hall are moving, so everything feels very realistic. You will be given headphones and voiced the film in Russian.

Sea walk.

For those who wish, there is a “visiting” excursion on the yellow, like a submarine of the Beatles group, the ship Coral 2000. It has a transparent bottom, so you can observe underwater life. The guide leads a tour in Hebrew.

Not only entertainment.

The underwater observatory in Eilat, where David Friedman worked as a scientific leader for many years, is not only a tourist attraction. David was against the excessive commercialization of his offspring to the detriment of scientific activity. His book on the wonders of the Red Sea has been translated to many languages and has withstood many reprints. He discovered a species of fish not described by science – Fridman’s Pseudochromis.

Around the observatory.

Nearby there are other attractions:

  • Coral Beach – less than 1 km. This is a nature reserve. Here you can buy cheap mask and flippers and swim among corals, look at the colorful fish, some are lucky to see the stingray.
  • Aqua Sport Sports Complex – boating and diving club, where you can dive with an instructor.
  • Beach Princess Beach – free, corals with fish without guides and instructors.

Useful information.

How to get yourself.

By bus:

  • From the central bus station of Eilat – No. 15, 16.
  • From Ovda Airport – No. 282.

By taxi from Eilat. The cost of the trip is about 20 shekels.

By car. Drive 8 km to the south from the center of Eilat. There is a large parking.

Website of Underwater Observatory in Eilat.

The observatory has its official website. The site has an English version.

Cost of Attendance.

Prices for excursions:
For adults – ₪ 99.
For children and senior citizens – ₪ 79.

For children under 3 years old – admission is free, but children under 2 years old are not allowed in the park.

A trip to the Coral 2000:
Adults – ₪ 35.
Children – ₪ 29.

Opening hours:

  • From Saturday to Thursday: 8:30 – 16:00.
  • Friday and pre-holidays: 8:30 – 17:00.