I often check there’s an aquarium nearby when I’m planning places to visit. They’re good for rainy day activities, although obviously then get busy. Near where we were staying in Southsea, right on the sea front, was Blue Reef Aquarium and I’d picked out the coupons I’d found in case N wanted to go. I didn’t expect him to ask to go on the first day we were exploring Southsea seafront.
Blue Reef Aquarium is looking a little tired especially in the entrance area, but it’s got plenty of classic fish and animals to interest children and find out more about. We paid around £10 for myself, and N got in free on the tourist guide coupon I had.
Just inside the entrance children can pick up steps to carry round to stand on to see into the tanks better. There were also colouring and activities available when we were there, but N whizzed on by.
Most aquariums are similar, some are a bit larger and brighter with additional extras like films and activities. Blue Reef was smaller scale, and I didn’t notice any additional activities other than the usual information boards around each tank, and feeding times where you could see the fish or animals feeding time and hear about them from the staff.
The rays were so interesting to watch, because they were flapping along the side of the tank at people as they moved along. Pretty amazing to watch, along with the other fish in there.
I prefer the smaller prettier fish and there were plenty of those, along with seahorses doing interesting things. Unfortunately the jellyfish tanks were empty – I love seeing those against the dark.
N likes the turtles and one was almost having a conversation with him.
I enjoyed watching the otters. They have 3 at Blue Reef Aquarium, and we only had about 10 minutes to wait until feeding time. Of course, N wasn’t happy with that. He wanted to continue on and not watch them. They are pretty smelly animals though, and there wasn’t much viewing room for children to see through the glass or over the top, so we headed outside to see what was there.
As usual we hadn’t thought to bring along N’s swimwear. I really should remember that most aquariums seem to have splash zones. The outdoor play area was really nice. Plenty of space, a bit of shade, lots of rocks and things, sandpit and things to climb on. N wasn’t keen on playing so we headed back inside to make our way through the final areas.
Of course no aquarium is complete without the tunnel walkway where you can see the fish and sharks swimming over the top of you. Most of the sharks were lying hidden away in a corner, but a few were out swimming around so we enjoyed watching them swimming past to finish off our visit.
Our visit to Blue Reef aquarium was about 1 ½ hours long (as I’ve said before we do tend to whizz through places), but it was sufficient for us to see everything. You can use your ticket to leave and come back later if you want to get lunch somewhere else. There is a small café, but it looked fairly busy when we were there.
If you’re looking for something to do in an afternoon or morning, especially on a rainy day, the aquarium is perfect. It’s also close enough to Southsea Common for a picnic, and to the historical museum sites like the D-Day museum and Southsea Castle.
Have you been to Southsea? What are your favourite places to visit at the seaside?
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