The National Aquarium project, which was part of the plan for the embellishment of Buġibba and Qawra, significantly overhauled the facilities available in the area by providing a high-end National Aquarium complex. Funding for this project came from the European Union, the Government of Malta, and the private sector.
The slanted roofing of Malta’s National Aquarium is one of its feature characteristics, with the iconic curved structure imitating the shape of a starfish.
Malta’s national aquarium consists of twenty-six display tanks, each featuring different types of fish present in the Mediterranean seas as well as historical artifacts present in Malta’s seas. These tanks have been split into five different thematic zones, with each zone consisting of different characteristics of the Maltese Islands, the Grand Harbour, and areas in Gozo and Comino.
The displays are themed to tell a story of cultural and conservational importance related to the Maltese Islands, whilst the animals filling the displays are from native, cold water, and tropical marine as well as freshwater ecosystems. The main tank of the aquarium houses species from all over the world, including a black tip sharks, zebra sharks, leopard sharks, bamboo sharks, as well as rays, eels, and coral reef species.
Divided into two floors; the ground floor consists of a restaurant and gift shop, and the basement level is comprised of the aquarium and its facilities.
Opening in 2013, the Malta National Aquarium has seen considerable success. The National Audit Office of Malta reported that, between 2014 and 2017, the number of visitors to the National Aquarium significantly surpassed forecast numbers.