Get to know the mysterious water world!
With this resounding slogan, the Lithuanian Sea Museum invites visitors to visit the continuously enriched and carefully cherished expositions of marine nature and history, and to attend dolphin shows and various special occasions and events.
The Lithuanian Sea Museum is a republican museum, a state budget institution under the authority of the Ministry of Culture. The Museum is situated in Kopgalis, the northernmost end of the range of dunes of the Curonian Spit, where the Curonian Spit peninsula, stretching for 98 km, ends and Klaipėda Seaport gate opens up. In the late 19th century, the Nerija fort was constructed in Kopgalis, which was almost entirely demolished during World War II. In 1979, the Nerija fort was restored and adapted for the needs of the Museum.
The Museum collects, keeps, explores, preserves, restores and promotes museum valuables reflecting the history of navigation of Lithuania and the diversity of marine nature. Diverse expositions are arranged using the state-of-art technologies and modern ways of conveying information. Thus multifunctional educational and research activities are developed more actively.
Expositions in halls, pools and outdoors
The Lithuanian Sea Museum was opened in the reconstructed Nerija fort in 1979. Aquaria with Lithuanian freshwater fish, fish species from the Baltic Sea and tropical seas were constructed and the exposition of marine nature was created.
The Lithuanian Sea Museum occupies the area of approximately 13 hectares. Outdoor pools for penguins, Baltic grey seals and Steller sea lions were equipped next to the central redoubt. The exposition of the history of navigation of Lithuania is housed in the posterns and casemates under the ramparts; while the collection of ancient and modern anchors is displayed on ramparts, earlier served for gun emplacements. In total, the collections of the Lithuanian Sea Museum contain more than 88 thousand exhibits. The most abundant collection is that of marine fauna and includes the following exhibits: mollusc shells, corals, crustaceans, echinoderms, sea birds, fish and mammals. Besides, the collections of the Museum include a variety of geological, archaeological, ethnographic, numismatic, cartographic, technical, writing and philatelic exhibits. In the meantime, the Lithuanian Sea Museum is under reconstruction, but visitors are welcome to the Dolphinarium, the ethnographic fisherman's homestead and the grounds of old fishing vessels.
In 1994, the Dolphinarium of the Lithuanian Sea Museum was opened - the only one of such kind on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, that belong to the class of mammals, the suborder of toothed whales, live there. The Dolphonarium invites visitors to attend entertaining educational shows and to get to know one of the most intellectual marine mammals. Since 2001, the dolphin assisted therapy is being offered in the Dolphinarium of the Lithuanian Sea Museum. It is a very special project involving interaction of dolphins and children facing various health problems.
The Lithuanian Sea Museum is proud of its sailing exhibit - a boat of the kurėnas type, built in 2001 which participates in ethno-cultural expeditions annually arranged in Lithuania and abroad.
The reconstructed Dolphinarium
The Dolphinarium was built more than twenty years ago. In 2010, the Dolphinarium was closed for reconstruction and the dolphins were taken to the Attica Zoological Park in Greece.
The first Dolphinarium was designed without taking into consideration the costs of energy resources, and the materials used at that time were not durable enough. The main objective was to improve the living conditions for animals. New activities of the Museum require new spaces - 60 children used to attend the dolphin assisted therapy sessions annually, though there was no separate space in the Dolphinarium for that purpose.
After the construction, the overall area of all pools for animals is three times bigger. In 2015, the Dolphin Assisted Therapy Centre was built and the outdoor pool "Sun bay" was arranged where educational shows of California sea lions are held in summer.
Construction period. Reconstruction of the Aquarium of the Lithuanian Sea Museum
In September 2014, the Aquarium of the Lithuanian Sea Museum and other expositions displayed in the Nerija fort were closed for reconstruction. According to the design of the reconstruction, with the help of modern materials the redoubt of the Nerija fort of the 19th century should acquire its previous form of the rampart encircling the building. Thus the size of the redoubt would be increased and additional spaces for the staff, equipment, educational activities and expositions would be arranged.
No changes were implemented in the Aquarium since its opening in 1979. In 35 years the value of the building decreased due to normal wear and tear and obsolescence.
After the reconstruction of the Aquarium, the acrylic tunnel will be arranged under the central pool of sturgeons, the whole exposition of the Aquarium will be changed and all aquaria will be replaced by new ones (already made in France), the exposition of the Baltic Sea will be displayed, and an exhibition hall, a souvenir shop and café will be equipped. Besides, the building will be adapted for the disabled.
The visitors will be invited to a water tour from the rivulet to the ocean. During the tour, they will get to know the fish inhabiting the Baltic basin, the North Sea and tropical seas.
The Lithuanian Sea Museum is a unique and constantly developing complex of cognition of marine nature and history. It is mostly interesting that Kopgalis is the youngest small piece of land in Lithuania that occurred only several hundred years ago, when the reinforced entrance and dunes made it possible for people to settle there.
About half a million visitors per year
The Lithuanian Sea Museum is one of the most popular museums in the country attracting about half a million visitors from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, Germany and other foreign countries per year. During the period of almost 40 years the Museum attracted more than 15 million visitors.