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Haus des Meeres gets a new night time attraction for day time visitors

A giant flak tower built by the Nazis to withstand a direct hit during the Allied bombardment of Vienna and which was then converted into a giant fish tank has now opened up an underground "grotto" to house animals that only like to come out in the dark.all articles

It means that visitors at the Haus des Meeres will be able to see rarities like this illuminated scorpion as one of over 100 different animals that are only active in the dark.

It took more than a year to plan and then build the new grotto in the multifaceted attraction at the Esterhazy-Park off the busy Mariahilferstrasse shopping street. The creatures have been tricked by lighting to believe the daytime is night and nighttime is day in order to make sure they are active when people are visiting.

Although there are several of the giant concrete towers the one on the Mariahilferstrasse is the only one to be actively in use and managers have made great efforts to make every spare centimetre count.

Even the external walls have been turned into a climbing face and at one point a glass extension was built onto the building to allow the extension of a tropical rainforest environment for monkeys. Visitors waiting to buy tickets find themselves underneath a giant aquarium including crocodiles, tortoises and piranhas.

Aquarium manager Franz Six said: "Going into the cellar was the only place we have any room now – we didn't have anywhere else."

Also on show are blind fish that need no eyes and also have no colour because they live in the dark or another rare type of fish that is the only one capable of living in water with a high hydrogen sulphide content.

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