The UK's Top Aquariums
Do the kids love fish, dolphins, or sharks? Have they seen 'Finding Nemo' or 'Shark Tale' and want to see the real thing? Aquariums are more than just a great day out - many provide educational resources, and carry out important conservation work. Here is a round up of the best Aquariums in the UK. Visit the individual websites for up to date information on opening times, prices and special events.
- The London Aquarium is probably the best known aquarium in the UK. Sharing County Hall with restaurants and exhibitions and next to the London Eye, it makes a great day out.
- Brighton Sealife Centre Reopened in May 2012 after extensive refurbishment it now boasts the UK's first glass bottomed boat in an aquarium. You can touch starfish and crabs and watch feeding demonstrations every day.
- Blue Reef Aquariums are situated in Southsea (Portsmouth), Tynemouth on Newcastle's coast, Tyne and Wear and in Newquay, Cornwall. All have regular talks and feeding displays.
- Exploris the Northern Ireland Aquarium is situated on the shores of a marine nature reserve and area of special scientific interest at Strangford Lough. They hold regular events at weekends and school holidays with craft activities and a chance to see divers feeding the sharks every sunday.
- The Lake District Coast Aquarium is on the quayside at Maryport, Cumbria. It has special displays on the marine life of the Irish Sea and Solway Estuary and does much to raise awareness of the area's marine heritage.
- The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth was the first aquarium in the United Kingdom to be set up solely for the purpose of education, conservation and research. It also has an art gallery, a maritime garden and a programme of school holiday events.
- St. Andrews Aquarium can be found close by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in Fife. It's displays include shrimp, sharks, octopus, eels, rays and seals - with an Amazonian display including the deadly piranha.
- Aquarium of the Lakes in Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Cumbria is a unique freshwater aquarium featuring the UK's largest collection of freshwater fish. The website includes a special kid's section with games, colouring pictures and quizzes.
- The Oceanarium in Bournmouth has marine life from all over the globe. It has feeding demonstrations and talks, plasma screen documentaries, and a walk-through underwater tunnel. It also hosts a programme of events for kids and adults throughout the year.
- Seaquarium Has two locations; one is built on it's own pier on the wonderful sandy beach at Weston-Super-Mare while SeaQuarium Rhyl has an open seafront location and sits on the beautiful North Wales coastline. Featuring species from around the world on show in 9 different zones, plus our amazing outdoor Sea Lion Cove where you can meet our delightful harbour seals. This state-of-the-art exhibit gives you a fantastic underwater view of our seals in their 33,000 gallon pool. A delightful exhibition with displays and talks, your ticket is valid all day so you can go in as often as you like (Our 4-year-old insisted on going in three times). The website also has downloadable worksheets for teachers.
- Deep Sea World is situated beneath the world famous Forth Rail Bridge at North Queensferry in Fife. In the world's longest underwater viewing tunnel you can walk along the bottom of ocean as sharks glide inches above your head, or even go shark diving - all training is included so this is open to everyone. They have a big educational programme and are currently working with the SSPCA to build a Seal Sanctuary at the centre.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting
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