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SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium opens its transformed oceanarium featuring new exhibit ‘Night on the Reef’

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium opens its transformed oceanarium featuring new exhibit ‘Night on the Reef’
January 9, 2024

Following the $9 million renovation of its oceanarium, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium has officially opned its brand-new exhibit, ‘Night on the Reef’.

The transformation represents a significant milestone for SEA LIFE Melbourne, seeing the 24-year-old oceanarium converted into a vibrant, living ecosystem that mirrors the captivating beauty and diversity of the world's coral reefs.

The renovation was an enormous undertaking that saw the entire exhibit drained and the Aquarium’s largest creatures transported to their sister aquariums in Sydney and the Sunshine Coast.

11 months in the making, 74 tonnes of premium salt, 34 tonnes of sand and a refill of 2.2m litres of water, ‘Night on the Reef’ brings a bioluminescent slice of the Great Barrier reef to the heart of the city of Melbourne. 

Night on the Reef takes guests on an enchanting journey into the world beneath the ocean with the groundbreaking exhibit set to become a must-see attraction, offering an awe-inspiring exploration of the magical underwater world that comes to life when the sun sets.

Night on the Reef is alive with a kaleidoscope of tropical fish species, sharks, eagle rays, guitarfish, and more. Inside this 360° habitat, guests can walk a bioluminescent beach surrounded by a vivid spectacle of colours that mirror the bustling life found in coral reefs around the world. This unique display ensures an up-close and personal encounter with many fascinating marine species.

The newly transformed oceanarium provides an invaluable educational experience for visitors of all ages. Informative presentations from marine educators will enhance understanding and appreciation for the fragile ecosystems many creatures call home.

SEA LIFE Melbourne remains committed to conservation and sustainability and Night on the Reef serves as a platform to raise awareness about the importance of preserving our oceans and the delicate balance of life within them.

Claire Burrell, General Manager, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium enthused "we are beyond excited to bring a slice of the Great Barrier Reef to the heart of the city. 'Night on the Reef' will not only captivate and amaze but also raise awareness about the importance of preserving precious marine ecosystems.

“This project embodies our commitment to conservation and our mission to inspire visitors to protect and cherish our oceans. We can't wait for everyone to experience our magnificent new oceanarium."

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is hosting a captivating drone show, marking the return of the popular sharks and rays and the launch of Night on the Reef. Commencing on 16th January at 9:00pm, this extraordinary display will illuminate the night sky above the Yarra River opposite Crown Casino, bringing to life an array of marine wonders.

The one-off, FREE event promises to be an unforgettable experience for Melbourne residents and visitors alike. Brought to life by SEA LIFE Melbourne in collaboration with cutting-edge drone artists from the Drone Entertainment Group, the show will see sharks, rays and other sea creatures making their way up the river creating a bioluminescent reef scene in the heart of the city.

Free to the public, attendees are encouraged to assemble along both banks of the Yarra River near SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium for an optimal vantage point. The drone spectacle is scheduled to commence from 9:00 PM on Tuesday 16 January, offering spectators an unforgettable evening.

Event Details:
What: Night on the Reef Drone Show
When: Tuesday 16 January 2024 - 9pm
Where: Yarra River in front of SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Cost: FREE

Night on the Reef is open to the public and is included in the price of a general admission ticket.
For more information visit

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