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Dive in: Europe’s first underwater museum opens

At Lanzarote’s latest museum, fish get free entry. Dive down to the Med’s seabed for a moving marine experience

Dive in: Europe’s first underwater museum opens
Museo Atlantico Lanzarote. Image: Museo Atlantico Lanzarote

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A far cry from the prosaic layout of mainstream museums, the Museo Atlantico Lanzarote requires visitors to slip into a wetsuit for entrance. Opened in January, Europe’s first underwater museum lies submerged off the coast of Lanzarote.

It’s the brainchild of British eco-sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the man behind similar creations beneath the waters off Grenada and Mexico. Swim with the fishes in this eerie underwater world, which includes The Raft of Lampedusa, a boat carrying 13 refugees; and Crossing the Rubicon, a group of 35 human figures walking towards a 30-metre long wall — a vision evoking recent closed-door policies in the US and UK. 

The figures, cast in a pH-neutral cement, support the marine ecosystem by providing a surface for coral growth. The sunken society then transforms with time, creating a visual discourse between art and nature.

  • 14 metres deep
  • 200 life-size figures in the Human Gyre
  • 100 tonne wall installed
  • 50×50 metres of lifeless sandy beach used

Four quirky theme parks to try… 

01 Ever felt excited and relaxed at the same time? Get your blood pumping while detoxing at Japan’s ‘spamusement’ park. Located in Beppu — a city famed for its hot springs — this seriously sweaty theme park will be open for a limited time from July, featuring rides like Ferris wheels and cable cars filled with steamy hot water. 

02 Surprisingly, the world’s first Bollywood theme park isn’t in India — but in Dubai. Bollywood Parks Dubai opened last November as part of Dubai Parks and Resorts. Cinematic rides and live daily performances will hit you with an emotional punch.

03 Leave the kids at home for this one. Fun comes in all forms at the adults-only ErotikaLand in Brazil: expect genitalia-shaped bumper cars, a pleasure train staffed by gogo girls and boys, a 7D cinema with vibrating seats and a nudist pool. It’s opening near Sao Paulo next year, with entry set to cost $100 (£70).

04 Gourmet theme park FICO Eataly World opens this October in Bologna. Explore orchards and gardens, plus 25 restaurants and 40 workshops.

Published in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)