A newly opened Shark School has been set up at Budapest Zoo to prepare young marine predators for life at the menagerie’s new Pannon Park biodome, an indoor facility being built to house exotic animals. Steampunk by design, the current piscine attraction features three pools and nearly a million litres of sea water, where sharks interact with their trainers and other aquatic animals.
Having earned accolades at the 2018 International Property Awards, the Pannon Park biodome at Budapest Zoo is set to open in 2021 to provide a home to exotic animals from warmer habitats, including certain types of fish and elephants. To train species before the move, a new Shark School has been set up within another new branch of the menagerie, Holnemvolt Vár (Once Upon A Time Castle), geared towards educating and entertaining children.
The new training centre for sharks features a steampunk design fused with elements reminiscent of Captain Nemo’s underworld. Here, visitors can observe aquatic animals, as well as divers as they submerge in containers of three different sizes. Heating for this new area of the zoo is provided by the thermal waters of the nearby Széchenyi Baths, the most iconic of Budapest’s public spas. The fish tank’s liquid content features the same ingredients as sea water, its concentrate being blended on the spot.
Baby sharks are also being trained to better cooperate with specialists, including doctors. Presenting sharks at Budapest Zoo is not a new initiative. A hundred years ago, small-spotted catsharks, originating from the Adriatic Sea, were part of the menagerie’s wildlife. Today on show here is a more diverse range of fish, including blacktip reef sharks, tawny nurse sharks and zebra sharks. Stingrays, guitarfish and batfish also live in these giant containers.
Meanwhile, the huge shell of the Pannon Park biodome has already been set up, adding a modern touch to the classic look of the zoo, a mixture of Art Nouveau and contemporary styles.