Newest Review: ... manner of fish and marine life are housed here. The big hitters of course are the Seals (which have a couple of live feeding shows p... more
Under the sea..
Blue Reef Aquarium (England)
Member Name: anwar7
Blue Reef Aquarium (England)
Advantages: fun place to visit,attractive sea front location
My children have always been fascinated by marine life and really enjoy visiting aquariums. During the summer holiday I decided to treat them to a visit to the Blue reef aquarium in Tynemouth. I had heard mixed reviews form friends about this venue but decided it was worth a visit.
The aquarium is really easy to find! By car you will need to take the A1058 signposted to Tynemouth. The aquarium is well signposted and is situated on the attractive sea front just before you get to Cullercoats.Whitley bay is a bit further along the coast road and is also worth a visit!
There is a metro station at Cullercoats and then it's about a 10 minute walk to the aquarium. There are also busses that run from Newcastle to the aquarium. There are plenty of parking bays along the sea front including disabled parking bays right outside the aquarium entrance.
Prices and opening times.
The aquarium is open daily all year from 9.30 am-6 pm.
An adult ticket costs £8.30 and a child ticket from 3-14 costs £5.95. Under 3's are free.
It is possible to buy a family ticket- £26.50 for 2 adults and 2 children or £31.50 for a family of 5.
Is it worth the outlay?
My first impressions of the aquarium was how small it appeared. I had been expected a much larger building. However not to be deterred we ventured in. There are toilets opposite the entrance desk including a baby change area and a toilet for disabled visitors.
The aquarium is split into sections with the various oceans and seas of the planet featured. There is a North Sea display showing what is lurking under our local waters and another showing the beautiful Mediterranean.
One of the highlights for my children was the huge ocean tank with a walk through tunnel. The tank displays the barrier reef and has tropical fish, sharks and stingrays to name a few .We spent quite some time observing the inhabitants at close range.
Another highlight was watching the fascinating otters. They are housed in a spacious Holt and when we visited were very active. It is possible to watch the otters feeding time, although we sadly managed to miss out on this experience as I misread the information board!
Most of the displays are inside, making this a good place to visit when the weather is poor. The one exception is the seals cove. This is a large area with a walkway allowing you to observe the seals both out of the water and underneath it. We did manage to watch the seals being fed; although space was a bit limited as the aquarium was very busy.
In addition to marine life there is an Amazon display. This was another highlight for all of us and contained some adorable miniature monkeys. We all enjoyed watching their antics for ages! There are also poison dart frogs and various other frogs and toads.
There were staff on hand to answer questions and there are educational talks throughout the day. The times for these are posted on the board at the admissions desk.
The aquarium also has events on offer such as a shark day. These are listed on the blue reef aquarium web site.
There is a small café serving light refreshments and meals. Like most cafes within an attraction the prices were steep! We had packed a picnic and decided to eat on the beach following our visit. I can't comment on the quality of the food but it looked ok from what I could see. There is also a small gift shop selling overpriced marine themed gifts.
I really like the way all the tanks have been designed to allow even the smallest people to be able to view well. The walkways are both pushchair and wheelchair friendly. All the displays are well explained with and the staff were friendly and informative.
The otters and seals appear to have plenty of space and were great fun to watch. The walkthrough tunnel was also really enjoyable; especially watching the sharks swim overhead!
There is a lovely stretch of sandy beach to explore opposite the aquarium making this a really good day out for all the family.
This is a fairly small aquarium and I think the entrance price is very steep. I really object to family tickets consisting of 2 adults and 2 children! What about single parents? On a busy day some of the displays can feel a bit cramped especially the seal cove at feeding time!
Overall we all enjoyed our day out although it really doesn't take that long to see all that is on offer and I think you would struggle to spend a whole day at this aquarium. I am not sure we will be in any hurry to return, although we would be interested to experience one of the events days.
Summary: aquarium in Tynemouth
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