Bayworld - A Fun-filled Day in Port Elizabeth
The Port Elizabeth Oceanarium is called Bayworld. It consists of three different components, the oceanarium, the museum and the snake park. Affiliated with Bayworld, is no 7 Castle Hill. This Victorian House Museum is not on the Port Elizabeth Oceanarium premises, but is located in the city center. It is one of the oldest houses in Port Elizabeth and dates back to 1827. Bayworld is situated on the Port Elizabeth beachfront, and is extremely popular amongst local and international visitors.
The Oceanarium was constructed over a 10 year period, starting with the impressive 900 000 liter main fish tank, which was built in 1959. The tank was only re-established as a fish tank in 1968, after housing dolphins for a few years, while the dolphin lake was being completed. The tank now houses a large number of fish, sharks and turtles.
Bayworld has a landscaped seal pool enclosure, with a waterfall and swimming hole, home to Cape Fur seals and Sub Antarctic seals, including a few breeding pairs.
Port Elizabeth Museum is a three storey building, located next to the Bayworld Oceanarium. It is a combination of natural and cultural history, with the library, workshop and administration offices on the lower floor. The Bayworld Museum has a variety of exhibits, such as Xhosa beadwork, Dinosaurs, Maritime history, marine, birds, costumes and a curiosity corner. Hanging from the ceiling, is the skeleton of the last locally harpooned Southern Right Whale, with a staggering length of 15 meters. Exhibits that are not to be missed include the 1640 bronze cannon recovered from a shipwreck near Port Elizabeth and the life-size reconstruction of a pre-historic dinosaur.
The Bayworld snake park was closed in 2005, in anticipation for a redevelopment project. A section of the park has been closed for this reason. The re-opened section of the snake park is home to snakes, crocodiles, geckos, tortoises, terrapins and lizards, and is still worth the visit, due to the vast selection of snakes.