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If you find yourself in Denmark’s capital, we suggest you check out Den Bla Planet, The Blue Planet, Northern Europe’s largest aquarium that is well on its way to becoming a national landmark.

Clearly visible by travelers arriving by plane to the nearby Copenhagen Airport, The Blue Planet’s distinctive architecture is shaped like a giant whirlpool with arms radiating from the center to mark the various exhibitions.

Wanting to give visitors the experience of “embarking on an underwater journey,” the designers behind the Danish architectural studio, 3XN, played on the organic movement of water and the shape of sea creatures throughout the exterior and interior spaces. Covered with small diamond-shaped aluminum shingles, the exterior adds a luminous effect to the building by reflecting the color and movement of the sky above.

The first and longest of the whirlpool’s “whirls” leads one from the outdoor landscape into the circular lobby where you find yourself immersed in another world (the roof above is made of glass forming the bottom of a pool so you are truly underwater). Daylight pours through a skylight and down through a tank where it is refracted creating a magical, flickering effect as light dances about the room.

Home to over 20,000 fish and ocean animals, The Blue Planet holds over 7 million liters of water and offers over 50 aquariums and displays distinguished by river, lake, and ocean life.

Further excitement surrounds the mini rainforest, clan of hammerheads, playful sea lions, and ocean tunnel where you walk in the company of sharks and groupers as they swim around you. We recommend you end your visit at the aquarium restaurant overlooking the water for airport food is best avoided.

Located just north of Kastrup Harbour in Oresund, a suburb of Copenhagen that’s close to the airport, getting there is easy. From Copenhagen Airport simply take the Metro one stop to Kastrup. From there it’s an easy 600m stroll. Just follow “Alleen” in an easterly direction. It’s also possible to walk to the aquarium from the airport, which is just under a mile away.

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