“ Address: Quai Louis Prunier / BP 4 / 17002 La Rochelle Cedex 1 / France „
We are just back from our Holidays and due to the poor weather in France we decided that we would visit the Aquarium in La Rochelle and what a great decision it was.
Within the local area the Aquarium is well signposted and it is very easy to find however for full directions and postcode I would recommend the website www.aquarium-larochelle.com this is the official website and so you need to click on the union jack in the top right corner.
The Basic price is 13 euro for Adults and 10 for children under 3's are free you can purchase an audio tour we didn't as it is only available for Adults in English.
The centre is divided into sections these are Atlantic, Caribbean, pacific, Tropical, Sharks, Sea Turtles and jellyfish.
The Aquarium is laid out incredibly well from the moment that you walk into the lift you feel part of the ocean at times there are fish swimming above you or that you are at the bottom of the ocean of in amongst the fish.
My Children are 2 and 4 and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves my eldest was particularly excited by Nemo swimming in the anemone we must have spent nearly half an hour trying to get a picture! Every exhibit has details of the fish in English so you can tell the children/ Husband what they are (he thought my French was superb for the first section!)
They are also discovery areas which let you learn about the sea which both mine liked playing with but didn't really understand!
We thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the fish I particularly liked seeing all the crabs that we had seen the day before on the beach we liked identifying what we had seen my youngest liked the spider crabs best and my oldest liked seeing all the characters from Finding Nemo and Daddy well he liked the Guitar Fish!
We didn't try the restaurant because it was packed out and also we felt it would be more reasonable at a local restaurant. I would not describe it as expensive as but more expensive than nearby.
The gift shop was very large selling a wide variety of goods most of which I thought were expensive so we went for a postcard!
This was a great day out the Aquarium was very good and very enjoyable and I would defiantly recommend this if the weather isn't great but if the sun is shining head to the nearest beach instead!
Ahh! Why is it that I am the only person in my group never to take French in school or anything and yet it's me that is figuring out what people want from us! Oh well!
Open air parking right next to the Aquarium meant we didn't have to drag the children too far which is always a bonus. Not stupidly expensive either!
Upon entering the building we were greeted by a staff member who to my delight spoke perfect English! We opted to rent an audio guide for my 7 year old. Unfortunately it's only available in French so he had to get an English adult one. My fear was it would be too adult for him but he was willing to give it a go.
Adult : 13 Euro
From 3 to 17 Years (and students on presentation of card) : 10 Euro
Under 3 Years : free
The audio guide was an extra 2 Euro
We went through the entrance gates and collected the audio guide. They lady looked at my other half and said something. He looked in panic as he had no clue what she'd said. She turned and repeated it to me. I picked out the few words I knew and managed to figure out she was asking us for an ID card to swap. She then said something else and pointed to the desk on the other side of the counter near the gift shop. I figured she meant swap back over there at the end of the visit. She nodded and we were off on our aquarium travels.
First thing you do is one of the main things I remember and that is the lift that take you to the start of the tour. It is designed to look like some sort of submarine that is taking you under the sea. Two fake windows (TV screens) slowly take you under water to the bottom of the ocean.
Almost every tank had a number for my elder son to enter into the headset. He figured it out immediately and stopped at each one. His interest in the audio guide didn't end after a while either. He listened to almost every one in the entire building! The only time we made him hurry up was when we were at places like the shark tank. There were 3 or 4 different numbers due to the number of different sharks and fish in that enormous tank. The smaller of our children were trying to go to the next bit so we had to drag him away.
We didn't eat in the restaurant because it looked pretty basic and we had seen somewhere really nice in the morning on the way to the Aquarium.
The only thing the Aquarium was missing was a hands on area for the children. In the States and in the London Aquarium there are areas for the children to play with running water, shells, touch the tops on certain fish and stuff like that. This Aquarium could have done with something like that for the kiddies.
The last area we headed off for was a jungle looking place. Signs said beware of the Piranhas so my son got excited. Bet he was wishing it was feeding time! I looked back from the stairs as the two we'd left with the pushchairs waited in line to get the lift downstairs. I have found France to be really unaccommodating for wheelchairs and buggies. It took 5 minutes for them to catch up with us by which time we had gone round the fishies and were ready to move on.
As always we end our journey at the gift shop. Not horrendously overpriced thankfully and had some lovely souvenirs.
Aquarium La Rochelle
Quai Louis Prunier - BP 4
17 002 La Rochelle Cedex 1
Tel : +33 (0)5 46 34 00 00
I bit of info I later found on the net: 12,000 marine animals, 20 species of shark, 70 aquariums and 3 million litres of water! wow!