I've never been to a 'proper' aquarium before. I've been to a couple of seaside efforts, but they've always been hugely anti-climactic, consisting of a number of unimaginative fish tanks welded to the wall, housing tired-looking specimens, that are either ailing from something or very, very depressed. So, it was with some trepidation that we trouped off to the bus stop, in search of Nemo and his scaly pals.
The Aquarium is conveniently situated in the popular Harbourside area of the city, next to @Bristol and helpfully signposted by what I think is a huge Dung Beetle. Oh, actually I've just googled and it's a Rhinoceros Beetle. All you need to know is there is a huge pointy-nosed creepy-crawly to show you where you need to be. Which is handy.
The Aquarium was very easy to navigate. The entrance was vibrant and welcoming, with a large cafe area and well-stocked gift shop. Considering it's relatively small size, the gift shop had a huge array of stock with a range of prices, starting from just 50p. This was a welcome change from some gift shops that seem to charge exhorbitant prices for the tiniest item, whose true value has long since been lost in translation. On entering the Aquarium itself, it had a distict 'shipwreck' vibe, which made it really interesting. There were a wealth of different colours and varieties of fish, all gentle meandering about, creating a really relaxing atmosphere.
What I found really strange about the whole experience was that, on initial inspection, the whole place seemed kind of small, I guess because the building didn't seem huge from the outside. However, due to some clever architecture, you were transported through some very distinct worlds walking around. The rain forest was my favourite. I loved the turtles. Nutters, they are, such personalities, I could watch them for hours and, again, the atmosphere was amazing. It was hard to believe you were just feet away from the bustling Waterfront.
It becomes clear early on that a lot of thought has gone into the layout of the exhibits. I really felt that the creators wanted you to feel close to the creatures you were viewing. None more so than the seahorses. I was so pleased to see that there were seahorses here, they are almost mythical, they are so extraordinary and I have never seen any up close before. Sadly , I didn't get as close as my son, who took full advantage of the children's exhibit, which was a domed tank you could actually stand inside! He was thrilled to be at one with such astonishing creatures, so much so, that he managed to cram his sister in for a look too!
|Room for a little one...|
|Or possibly two!!|
So we found Nemo, anyway. It looked like he and Dory had a bit of falling out, but hopefully they managed to patch things up. We also found some epic frogs. Very educational, because I did not know frogs came in bright blue. They make crisp-packet frog from my garden look pretty mainstream. But crisp-packet frog lives in a crisp packet, he's hard core.