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Discover the Largest Great Barrier Reef Exhibit in the World

  • Wednesday 20th March 2019

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The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system on earth. It’s a magnet for divers and snorkelers, scientists and documentary makers, drawn by its incredible beauty and exotic fish. Not everyone has the chance to visit the reef, but visitors to Sydney can marvel at the next best thing; the Day and Night on the Reef exhibit, right here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Bringing you the largest reef exhibit in the world, we’re swimming with fascinating marine life.


Meet the Locals

From the moment you step into the exhibit, you’ll feel a sense of drifting through another, wonderful world. Travel through the heart of a busy and brightly coloured daytime reef to meet our marine turtles. Count the colours and intricate structures of the coral and anemone. Journey through jellyfish swarms, bobbing gracefully in a slow, hypnotic dance. Watch brilliantly coloured fish chase each other through the reef, while anemones and tube worms wave their feathery arms in the current. Say g’day to the clownfish and bright yellow tangs. It’s hard to pick a favourite because every sea creature is so beautiful and interesting.


After Sunset

So much happens once the sun goes down, and for the first time, we can truly introduce you to the overnight activities of a busy coral reef. Step out across a bioluminescent beach, glowing purple and blue in the dark. Many marine creatures and organisms use bioluminescence, which is created by the activation of light cells, similar to those of a firefly. Some display a complex pattern of light to attract a mate, and some use the light to confuse predators, so they can escape. If humans could harness bioluminescence, we’d probably use it just for fun! Whatever the reason, bioluminescence is a breathtaking natural phenomenon, and you can see it in action.


It’s a Date!

There’s one event on the reef that eclipses all others in terms of magnificence, and that’s the annual coral spawning. While it’s difficult to predict precisely when this scientific event will happen, it occurs only at night after increasing water temperatures help the egg and sperm to mature. If you’re lucky enough to witness this phenomenon, multiple colonies and species of coral polyps set free their gametes into the water, all at the same time. These then mix and fertilise to create new coral. You can see a demonstration of this marvel, which takes place inside the glowing caves of the exhibit, as nighttime predators dart around on the hunt. This is one of the coolest things you’ll see in Sydney!


Get Interactive

The Day and Night on the Reef exhibit allows you to interact with the reef, through hands-on exhibits and demos. You’ll feel like you’re there, as you explore and discover new marine life. The kids will be stoked to meet Nemo, and with their active imaginations, become immersed in the experience. The exhibit is educational too; guiding tourists and locals alike through the reef environment, and introducing new eyes to the great wonder of the underwater world on our doorstep.

Whether or not you’ve been to the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll love the Day and Night on the Reef exhibit here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. It’s truly brilliant, and the next best thing to being there.