Schedules: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (closed on weekdays from 12.30 p.m. to 2 p.m.)



  • 1988 – The idea of a small public aquarium on Aguda´s beach is presented by Prof. Dr. Mike Weber of ICBAS to the Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Coronel Pinto Simões.
  • 1990-91 – The project is converted into the Littoral Station of Aguda ELA, designed by Porto´s architect João Paulo Peixoto, in collaboration with Mike Weber.
  • 1992 – The General Direction of Ports in Lisbon authorizes the project under the condition that the Municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia is hold responsible for the protection of the building, because Aguda´s beach is considered a zone with risk of erosion.

For the realization of the project, the Municipality launches a Public Tender with the basic price of 144 491 360 Escudos.

  • 1993-95 – The construction of the building takes place, carried out by the firm Orgel, Ltd. do Porto.
  • 1997 – The first aquariums are installed in the building and the outer zone of the building is arranged.

The agreement concerning ELA´s utilisation is officially signed by the Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Heitor Carvalheiras, and the ICBAS Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, represented by Prof. Dr. Corália Vicente, Prof. Dr. Nuno Grande and Prof. Dr. Luís Baldaia, in the presence of the Rector of the University of Porto, Prof. Dr. Alberto Amaral.

As an initiative of the City Councilor for the Environment and Tourism, Lício Correia, the constitution and the articles of the Foundation ELA are proposed and approved by the Municipal Board and Assembly. The 1st Administration Board is constituted by its President, Lício Correia, the City Councilor for Culture, Francisco Barbosa da Costa, and the Director of the Littoral Station of Aguda, Prof. Dr. Mike Weber.

  • 1998 – The statutes of the ELA Foundation are officially registered.

The sea water intake and the decorations of the aquaria and the museum showcases are initiated.

The Environmental Education Program on the Littoral PEAL begins, being officially inaugurated by the City Councilor for the Environment and Tourism, Lício Correia.

The Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Filipe Menezes, nominates the 2nd Administration Board which is constituted by its President and City Councilor for the Environment, Delfim Sousa, the City Councilor for Culture and Education, Francisco Barbosa da Costa, and Prof. Dr. Mike Weber.

  • 1999 – Theoretical and practical lessons of Marine Ecology and Fishery Technology are delivered as part of the Aquatic Environmental Sciences Course of ICBAS, in the Station by Mike Weber.

On the 1st of July, the Littoral Station of Aguda opens to the public, achieving 10.000 visitors in the first seventy days.

  • 2000 – On February 25, the 1st exhibition is inaugurated with the theme «Bichos» by photographer José Miguel Teles from Vila Nova de Gaia.

In May opens the 2nd exhibition «Mar … tamorfoses», a collection of oil paintings by Paula Dacosta and Manuel António, both from Porto.

A Bateira, a replica of one of the first fishing boats of Aguda is installed in front of the building.

Mike Weber presents an oral communication about the new Aquarium of ELA at the 5th International Aquarium Congress in Monaco.

In October follows the exhibition «A Ela na Imprensa», a collection of articles published in the daily press.

  • 2001 – On the 1st of October, the Official Inauguration of the Breakwater of Aguda´s beach is celebrated at ELA, in the presence of Prime Minister José Sócrates and the Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Filipe Menezes.

In November, ELA hosts the exhibition «O Bolo da Mugiganga» and «Miniaturas Marinhas», a collection of handicrafts by several local artists.

  • 2002 – The 3rd Administration Board is constituted by its President and City Councilor for the Environment, Prof. Dr. Joaquim Poças Martins, the City Councilor for Tourism, António Barbosa, and Dr. Mike Weber.

ELA installs several aquariums and aqua-terrariums, exhibiting the local aquatic fauna and flora, in the CEAR Centre of Environmental Education of Creeks of Gaia, in Miramar, which is created by the municipal firm Águas de Gaia. ELA´s team is responsible for the biological and technical maintenance on a daily basis.

In June enters the visitor number 100 000.

  • 2003 – On the 1st of May opens the permanent exhibit «Pesculturas» on the 1st floor, a collection of clay sculptures about themes of the Portuguese small scale fishery, made by Mike Weber.
  • 2004 – The City Councilor for the Environment, Firmino Pereira, is nominated for the 4th President of the Administration Board.

ELA is considered to be the “BEST ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN” in Portugal, based on an official evaluation by the General Directorate of Veterinary Science, the Eurogroup of Animal Welfare and the Portuguese Institute of Conservation of Nature.

  • 2005 – The City Councilor for the Environment, Mário Fontemanha, is nominated for the 5th President of the Administration Board.

At the CEAR, a bronze sculpture by Mike Weber is erected, showing a glass eel fisherman accompanied by his son.

  • On the 13th of July, the Aquamuseu of the Minho River, in Vila Nova de Cerveira, is inaugurated by the Minister for the Environment, Territory Planning and Development, Prof. Dr. Francisco Nunes Correia.
  • 2006 – The 200.000 visitor enters the Station, a medicine student from the UP.
  • 2008 – Mike Weber represents at the 7th International Aquarium Congress in Shanghai, China, a poster about natural conservation practices at ELA. The congress is attended by 700 delegates from 290 public aquariums of 45 countries.
  • 2009 – The 10th anniversary of the aquarium is celebrated on the 1st of July. ELA launches a new Guide book in Portuguese and English, edited by Edições Afrontamento, Porto.
  • 2010 – The City Councilor for the Environment, Eng. Mercês Ferreira, is nominated for the 6th President of the Board of Directors of the ELA Foundation.
  • 2011 – On the 1st of July, on the twelfth anniversary of ELA, the 1st Competition for the Best Cooking Dish in the Seafood / Fish Category takes place in the Aquarium, with the participation of eight local restaurants.

In August the number of visitors reaches 300 000.

  • 2012 – At ELA arrives a European lobster (Homarus gammarus), caught in a net in front of Espinho, in 30 m of depth, with a weight of 5.5 kg, a total length of 53 cm, and an age of about 80 years.
  • 2013 – The Foundation ELA is extinguished, and by the decision of the Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Filipe Menezes, ELA is integrated into the municipal company Águas de Gaia.
  • 2014 – Prof. Dr. Mike Weber and Dr. Eng. Jaime Prata teach the intensive module “Introduction to Marine Biology and Ecology” for a local PhD course, sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, at the Cape Verde University, Island of Santiago, city of Praia.
  • 2015 – The Partnership Agreement of the DOURO ATLÂNTICO GAL Program – DLBC COSTEIRO is signed by the Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, Prof. Dr. Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, and other municipalities. During this event, the model of the project Portinho da Praia da Aguda is presented by Mike Weber.

The number of visitors reaches 350.000.

  • 2016 – At ELA, over three months, runs the 1st Photographic Competition with the theme “Life in Aquariums”, which is won by the photographer José Agostinho Azevedo Silva of Maia.

The Ministry of the Environment, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, visits ELA within the scope of an intervention by the Director of the Portuguese Agency of Environment APA/Direção Norte, Eng. Pimenta Machado, on future projects of the Northern Littoral.

  • 2017 – On the 27th of May, the 1st civil marriage of Joaquim Fernando Guedes de Sousa and Mónica Elisabete Braga Margaride is celebrated in the Aquarium.

A new color mural is executed on the wall of the house in front of ELA by Mike Weber and his family.

  • 2018 – In May, ELA hosts the event “É do mar d´Aguda” organized by the Parish Council of Arcozelo and the Municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia, presenting activities such as Tales, Show-cooking, Street-theater, and Games-on-the-Beach.