Newest Review: ... fish that he thought looked a bit odd and produce a bit of a giggle. The rainforest section included several frogs' toads and chameleons wh... more
Worth a visit if you don't pay full price
Aquarium of the Lakes (Newby Bridge)
Member Name: jillycat
Aquarium of the Lakes (Newby Bridge)
Advantages: Some interesting exhibits friendly staff
Disadvantages: Expensive to get in full price
The aquarium of the lakes was somewhere we visited recently on holiday. We had gone to Lakeside and taken a boat trip to Bowness and on our return our son asked if we could go in so we went in for a visited. We were all a little disappointed by the visited so this will be one of my less positive reviews.
The Aquarium is situated on the southern shore of Lake Windermere at Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Cumbria. There are clear brown signs that take you to along the A590 to Newby Bridge. Take first right after the roundabout, over the bridge and follow the road to Hawkshead for approximately 1 mile to Lakeside. There is plenty of car parking we found at lakeside both for boat trips and the aquarium and at around £3.50 for a days parking is good value.
We purchase our tickets and were advised to go upstairs to start our tour and that an otter talk and feeding was starting in 20 minutes so we wanted to make sure we could see this.
There are several display areas including a three tired tank for some brown trout that is designed for them to jump as they would in the wild however we didn't see any jumping trout despite returning on several occasions. If you don't have an impatient 3 year old with you there maybe a better chance of seeing the trout jump but our son wasn't fascinated by these fish enough to stand and wait.
The display area that really appealed to my son was the section on the Americas and the tropical rainforest. The Americas had some blind fish that he thought looked a bit odd and produce a bit of a giggle. The rainforest section included several frogs' toads and chameleons which he enjoyed seeing. The other animals such as the marmosets were great fun to watch as they leaped about their enclosure. He was fascinated by the caiman's and referred to these as crocodiles. There is a snake in this section but I managed to avoid seeing the tank with this in as I phobic about them but when my son and husband saw them it just produced a yuck from them both so it can't have being looking at its best. Whilst these were great to look at the time we spent there in total of several times around the aquarium we went can only of being 10 minutes tops so whilst it is interesting it didn't hold the attention for long.
The otters were the main hit for my son really and he loved seeing them get feed and then watching run through their tunnel to the other section they have. He was quite happy looking at these animals and their playful antics for a good 15 minutes.
The walk ways through tunnels whilst interesting are not very long and compared to a visit to The Deep at Hull's aquarium and the walk ways there was just too short and the fish that we watch were not sufficiently enthralling and colourful enough for our pre school son we found and it was certainly more interesting for the adults for what we saw of other visitors whilst there.
The section on rock pools was lovely as we could watch the crabs and other small creatures roam around. The aquarium was well thought out here with lots of good viewing platforms for the younger visitor to stand on to see the contents of the pools so it saves your back from lifting them up
The Morecambe bay section which is close by features rays amongst other fish and these were great to watch as we were lucky to time being there at a feed and whilst we couldn't feed them ourselves we were close enough to see these come up for bits of fish and get quite close to them.
There is a small interactive section call the "Virtual diving bell". Whilst the buttons were too high for our son at three to reach himself he could do so when lifted and you then are given the choice of picking between a hippo a crocodile or a shark to find out facts about and play some games. As we had seen the caiman early our son picked crocodile and we learnt a lot of facts about them but the bit that made my son laugh and jump the most was the game of trying to spot a crocodile in the lake we failed 3 times in a row and got meet by the wide open jaws of the crocodile coming to eat us each time.
The aquarium doesn't have a café or restaurant but there is a Starbucks and a restaurant near by if you want a snack drink or lunch.
Disabled access and family friendly
With walk ways and lifts the aquarium is fully accessible to all areas for those in wheelchairs for the same reason it is also easy to push pushchairs and prams around with easy. There is a toilet but I am uncertain if it contains baby changing but this is available in the café nearby.
Now most of what I have said about the contents of the aquarium has been positive and it is a good little aquarium with friendly staff. But the attraction takes at most an hour to an hour and a half to do and at full price like we paid I just don't think it justifies it admission price of £9.15 for adults and £6.10 for children over 3 due to the how long our are there. I am comparing this to a few pounds more that we spent at the South Lakes Zoo where we were there all day and I know which I think is the better bargain. However if you buy the tickets on line in advance the cost goes down by 25% to £6.86 for adults and £4.57 for children which makes it much more reasonable. You can combine tickets with either a boat trip or a train ride which again makes it a more reasonable entrance fee. Your other option is to use Tesco's vouchers but these are just against full price tickets. The tickets are valid all day and if you stagger going back in for some of the talks which we didn't do due to going at the end of the day you may get better value out of your tickets too. So I have mixed feeling about the aquarium and will give it 3 stars as some of the attractions are well laid out but its high entrance fee just lets it down
They are open everyday of the year bar Christmas day from 9am to 6pm.
t: +44 (0)15395 30153
f: +44 (0)15395 30152
Summary: A Good little aquarium in the lakes but a bit expensive for whats there
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