The first reason and it’s a biggy is that the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is a charity DEDICATED to marine conservation. And I mean dedicated. As in the entire place is geared towards educating you and the smalls to the wonder of our oceans, the perils sea creatures face from humans and how we can make a change. From highlighting local dangers such as the fragility of ‘super’ seagrass, or explaining the marine food chain, to championing the shark species (encouraging us to defend not destroy) the National Marine Aquarium, set up solely for the purposes of education, conservation and research, hugely impressed me. I’m not a fan of aquariums or zoos, but if I can see it’s a huge influencing drive in changing attitudes and behaviours like this one, then I can only see it as a positive move.
The National Marine Aquarium actually engages you in how fascinating the creatures of Britain’s coasts are. Lets face it Britain’s sea inhabitants aren’t as sexy as coral, sharks or turtles found in warmer climes but what the National Marine Aquarium does so well is present our waters in an exciting, appealing way. The first zone you discover on entering the aquarium (after the café!) is the ‘Plymouth Sound’ area. Here you can spot rock pool dwellers, from starfish, sea scorpions, shrimps and anemones to lobster and weever fish. We loved the magnifying domes, which allowed the girls to zoom in and get up close and personal with some of the occupants.
The aquarium is super kid friendly. The layout is easy with each zone leading into the next, starting with native waters and cleverly leaving the shark wow factor until almost the end. Exhibits on conservation are tactile, interactive and fascinating and are EVERYWHERE, matched with colourful facts & figures painted on the walls.
My eldest loves science. At 8 years old she’s convinced she’s going to be a scientist whether that be inventing potions or saving the world. She was wowed by the fact that The National Marine Aquarium has it’s own Ocean Lab. Actually my youngest likened it to Octonauts as well so it struck a chord with both of them. Here you can peer live at marine scientists going about their work. Large information boards detail the different ways in which marine scientists carry out research and monitor the impact from natural occurrences and human activity. All every important and inspirational stuff.
The Atlantic Ocean tank, almost at the end of the Aquarium is where you’ll find the sharks. Slightly obsessed with sharks, us humans whether we fear them, loathe them or love them, are certainly drawn to these apex predators, which attract visitors by the thousand. This is the deepest tank in the UK, with more than 2.5 million litres of water. As you enter the zone you’ll walk 10 metres under the tank. Above you through glass panels you’ll be able to view rays, barracuda, lemon sharks and sand tiger sharks glide over you.
If it’s our job to educate and inspire our children to protect our earth and ocean, there’s no better way of doing it than the way this Aquarium does it. Plus for the price of your ticket you can enter as many times as you want in the year (apart from bank holidays).
Highly recommended! Make sure you leave 3-4 hours to go round.
National Marine Aquarium Prices
Family Pass – on the day £46.00 (2 adults/2kids or 1 adult/3 kids)
– advance ticket £39.10
Adult – on the day £14.95
– advance ticket £12.70
Child – on the day £10.95
– advance £9.30
Further information call 0844 893 7938 or visit www.national-aquarium.co.uk
The Family Freestylers received free entry into the National Marine Aquarium but all opinions are our own.