Les Merveilles de la Mer showcases the wonders of the ocean. It’s the perfect place to take your kids.
Teaching youngsters the value and beauty of the ocean
Driving on the main road of Jdeidet al-Metn, one can see the red tiles of a traditional Lebanese house. Stopping to admire this beautiful 19th-century house with its arcades and surrounding garden will lead you to discover what lies behind the doors of the Yazbeck family house. The Wonders of the Sea, also known as Les Merveilles de la Mer, is an initiative started by Janine Yazbeck in 1996. From a young age she collected seashells, a hobby that led to her studying oceanography. In 1982, she exhibited her seashells for a month and a half. Despite the war, schools were invited, and the feedback was positive.
The Wonders of the Sea aims to show children the richness of marine life. The museum is an “engine of transmission,” which tries to give visitors a little more knowledge of what lies under the waters just a few meters away.
It has become a regular destination for school trips, illuminating the precious nature of the seas and making it something the children can interact with. Visitors almost always show their appreciation with a keen desire to find out more.
Before starting the tour, groups are invited to watch a short video on marine life, with commentary by Janine. The explanations change, according to the age range, the purpose of the visit and
the interest of the visitors. You then wander around the rooms that display diverse marine species and equipment.
The visit begins with the shell collection, where you get to identify and distinguish different shells from around the world. You then enter the aquarium and see creatures such as an octopus, starfish, seahorse and variety of fishes. The invertebrates, such as sponge, coral, starfish and sea urchins, are displayed in a third part of the house.
Finally, the visitor is shown antique marine equipment that illustrates how deep-sea diving used to be done, along with different instruments used for marine purposes.
Most of the children that visit the museum leave with a different attitude toward the sea. They learn about the diversity of marine species, but also acknowledge the importance of keeping the seas clean, in order to protect its residents. They also learn that when you go fishing, anything you will not – or cannot – eat has to be put back in the sea. It is important that future generations respect the ocean and the best way to achieve this is through education and exposure. Les Merveilles de la Mer is doing its best to inspire
today’s children to look after their planet.
Spotlight on the backstage of the Wonders
When you visit the museum, you don’t get to see everything.
The management of living species requires meticulous upkeep to ensure their wellbeing: water treatment, feeding, health care, monitoring and cleaning are all vital.
An extremely small team looks after the museum. Janine and Andrée inspect all the aquariums on daily basis, clean the glass and check the water temperature. They offer a “Menu à la carte” depending on the species, since each one has a particular diet and biological rhythm.
The museum is open a on daily basis
Monday to Friday
from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays from
3 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Groups can schedule an appointment at the following numbers:
Entrance fees are
8,000LL for adults
6,000LL for children