A day out at The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth

Published by lucy rigley on

Outside the National Marine Aquarium with a sea-themed Elephant!

This was my boys’ favourite day out of the trip – they are big animal lovers and said that was why they loved it – they spent ages looking at all the various creatures and learning about them. Our hotel was close enough that we didn’t have to drive and could walk – so no photos outside the aquarium in the i3, just of the lads!

A huge tank in the room where the talks happened

The National Marine Aquarium claims to be the largest Aquarium in the UK – it certainly had a much airier feel to The Deep and Sealife Centres which we have been to – it was housed in a much bigger building and felt much less crammed in.

The signage was excellent – there was just enough information to get snippets of each animal and you could dip in and out without having to read it all – it was big and bold and bright with lovely illustrations. Compared to other places we visited, this won hands down as the best places for finding out information and finding your way around.

I loved looking at the textures and colours at the aquarium – here are my favourite Instagram shots I took of the plants, fish and various other sea life – I’m always captivated by a lot of the movements especially of the jellyfish.

The staff were also really knowledgable – we learned loads about starfish in the Plymouth Sound zone – how they eat (yuk!) This area showcases what you can see in the waters around Plymouth – so lots of fish!

Learning about starfish

There were plenty of talks and activities on – we loved the talk on sharks in front of the huge aquarium and also learning about the coral and other creatures in the Great Barrier Reef aquarium.

We loved the eco-slant of the talks. Saving energy was mentioned.

I love coral – I find it fascinating – the colours, how it moves and I finally found out after that talk that it is a rock, plant and animal combined! I’ve been lucky enough to have visited the Great Barrier Reef (a ‘few’ years ago!) and if you ever get chance to go it really is magical – you get a good feel for it at the exhibit though in Australia the reefs are much more colourful.

Looking at the fist after a talk at The Great Barrier Reef exhibit

We all had different favourites – mine was the slow moving funny looking crab – not because it was particularly attractive but I couldn’t believe what textures it had on it – furry bits, hard bits – I certainly wouldn’t want to find one in my bath!

My favourite- the funny looking crab!

My boys both loved the huge octopus – loads of kids were fascinated by it and the way it moved.

My boys both LOVED this huge octopus

These rays were funny too! They even appeared to be playing hide and seek at one point – bobbing up and then hiding again.


We had some nice food in the cafe which overlooked the harbour – great views!

The shop was spacious and well stocked with a lot of green products as well as the usual kids stuff including lots of wooden toys.- my 8 year old chose some shark teeth – apparently they find them on the bottom of the aquariums. Yuk!

Lots of eco-friendly items for sale in the National Marine Aquarium shop
I loved the range of items on sale in the shop

A little tip for after – there are some nice boat rides which take off just round the corner from the aquarium – a nice way to finish your day off!

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