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public aquariums

Aquarium, tank, bowl, or pool in which aquatic animals and plants are kept. Aquariums originated in ancient Egypt and Asia. Romans used them not for decorative purposes, but as a source of fresh fish for the dinner table. The ornamental aquarium made its appearance in the West in the 18th century, when the goldfish became popular in France. The first public aquarium was opened in London in 1853, and Vienna and Paris soon followed. Today they are found in many of the major cities of the world, including, in the United States, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Giant aquariums, or oceanariums, large enough to hold a small whale, have been built in Los Angeles and at Marineland, Fla. These collections provide entertainment for the public as well as valuable information for students of marine life.

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