Located on the southwest coast, Plymouth Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the UK, it currently holds an incredible 2,500,000 liters of water. Being the largest aquarium in the UK Plymouth leads the way in sea life conservation in our home country, working with universities and businesses to help protect the oceans.
It was a sunny day when we decided to take a trip down to Plymouth, which doesn’t come around as much as you would think, a sunny day that is. Visiting on a Saturday we anticipated large crowds however as we went later in the day it wasn’t as crowded as we thought. Parking is easy, I recommend the Harbour car park, which usually has plenty of space.
Tickets can be bought online at a discount however we were not organized enough to do this. Despite missing out on the discount we bought tickets at the door and discovered those tickets allowed us free access for the rest of the year which I must say is a great incentive.
We started with the Plymouth Sound area in which we saw lots of starfish and rock pool species. The other tank in this zone is a wave pool home to a variety of fish from the local area. The wonderful thing to note about Plymouth Aquarium is the effort it takes with education, for example along the bottom of this tank is information on the different fish…. try and spot them all!!
As we strolled out of this first zone we came across a member of staff giving a presentation in front of an octopus tank, this is something that happens throughout Plymouth Aquarium and I recommend getting a timetable so you can arrive when the presentations start. This friendly little Octopus is fed with his food in a closed jar, he unscrews the lid to get to the food, this helps with brain stimulation replicating similar tasks in the wild, see I did learn something.
Moving on through, you start to get an idea of how big Plymouth Aquarium is. The next zone is based on the Eddystone natural reef located 19km off the Plymouth coast. Plymouth Aquarium has replicated this reef, displaying all these species in a wide-screen tank.
Just next to the Eddystone Reef is the Ocean Drifters section where I seemingly got hypnotised by some glowing jellyfish. I love these areas as it’s quite dark everything just stands out so well, great opportunity for some photos.
At this point, I saw a sign with bright letters mentioning the word JAWSOME!! Ok so if for some very odd reason, you’re not acquainted with the film series Jaws you won’t know that this next area contains sharks. Walking down the stairs you come to an underwater tunnel don’t worry they won’t bite, but they will swim over your head. This is a great close-up opportunity, try and see if you can spot the turtle he’s very elusive so keep your eyes peeled.
This tank is based on the Atlantic Ocean and contains many sharks including tiger and lemon sharks. My favourite part about this tank is at the top you can stand under some curved glass and the rays will glide over you. They love the interaction as I noticed wherever we moved they would swim over, we attempted some very poor selfies.
We walked on past the tank playing with the educational games as we went. The sound of screaming children came swiftly as we entered the biozone, this is where Nemo and Dory live. The animation of Disney’s Finding Nemo created a real love for these reef species. When you walk around an array of beautiful colours bounce around every tank, it’s certainly a zone for picture taking.
The final zone we came across was the Great Barrier Reef zone, it just so happened there was a presentation going on so we sat and listened intently while gazing at 70 different species of fish. The Great Barrier Reef is famous for its ecosystem as its one of the most important examples of the perfect environment to support life. This tank is the second largest containing zebra sharks, grey reef sharks, and groupers. I’m not particularly eager to go into too much detail about the presentations as I don’t think I can do them justice, you will see what I mean when you visit.
I hope I have managed to give you some vision of what to expect when visiting Plymouth Aquarium, like I said above the amount of work that goes into projects like this it would be insulting to say I’ve covered everything there is. All I can say is when you visit make the most of every opportunity to listen to the experts and most importantly have fun.