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
An enjoyable visit and good value.
Blue Reef Aquarium (England)
Member Name: kiss_me2070
Blue Reef Aquarium (England)
Advantages: good value, good displays, good range of animals, walk through tunnel
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There are currently 5 Blue Reef Aquariums in the country. I recently visited the Portsmouth on which is easy to get to via car, bus or train. The aquarium isn't as big or well known as Sea Life Centre's but they do claim to have some beautiful displays showing various animals and their home life. There are over 40 displays which show fascinating marine life from around the world. The aquarium is family friendly which means it's suitable for people with wheelchairs and pushchairs, and with multi-level displays it means the smallest members of the family can enjoy the Aquarium too. There is a small cafe and gift shop also in the aquarium where you can enjoy a wide range of snacks, drinks and meals. The gift shop contains marine themed gifts, educational toys, cards, posters and more. The Aquarium looked very small from outside; how-ever we wanted to visit it anyway so we went here on the Sunday morning just after they opened so it wasn't too busy.
Under water Tunnel - This was my favourite part of the Aquarium as you walk through a long tunnel with fish swimming over your head and around you. It's fascinating and beautiful looking at the corals and exotic fish such as angelfish, puffer fish and other brightly coloured fish that grab your attention. This area is quite bright and it's a beautiful place to take photographs. I could have spent longer in here watching the different fish swim over my head and around the sides of the tunnel.
Solent Seas - This area contains lots of different species found here in UK waters. This area contains large open top tanks which include large rays and sea bream and bass. It advises you not to ouch any of the fish which may come to the surface of the water, which found a lot of the rays, did. These are beautiful animals and I loved watching them swim around the open topped tank.
Blue Reef Nursery - The nursery provides the perfect environment for many species including clownfish and seahorses. This area is very small and although I didn't see any seahorses, we did see some small fish in their egg sacks which was quite amazing to watch as you can see them moving about. There is plenty of information about the animals in this section as well and how they help to look after the baby fish and animals.
Predators - This section includes some of the most interesting fish and animals such as sharks, stinging jellyfish, venomous lionfish and the giant pacific octopus. I found this area quite fascinating and I particularly loved watching the lionfish and the jellyfish which I think are beautiful creatures.
Fascinating Frogs - This area contains small tanks with lots of plants in which contain some of deadliest and most beautiful members of the amphibian family. In this area you will see the highly toxic poison dart frog and the giant cane toad. I also think these are beautiful creatures and I love how bright and colourful the frogs are. Although some of the frogs are quite bright they can be hard to find in amongst the greenery and plants.
The Amazing Octopus - An Octopus has three hearts, blue blood and the ability to change both in shape and in colour, which is why it has terrified mankind to centuries. This is the most intelligent inhabitant in the ocean that are capable of solving complex puzzles and tests of memories. The octopus is kept in a large round tank which means you can see all the way round the tank. This was good as wherever the octopus may be you can see it.
Otter Holt - Otter are the most enchanting and graceful aquatic mammals in the world and are adapted to life above and below the water. They have a freshwater indoor display which has natural themed surroundings for the family of Asian short claw otters. This area is quite large and has perfect viewing areas in which you can see the otters running about, playing with each other and eating. I think these animals are really cute and I could have spent much longer watching them run about on the rocks and pieces of wood.
Sharks & Rays - These are the top predators in most food chains are the only threat is from other sharks or man. The rays are beautiful creatures and are often hard to spot as they are adapted to life by lying flat on the seabed which also makes them camouflaged as well. These are beautiful and graceful creatures are truly fascinating to watch. They only have one shark which is kept in a large tank along with rays and other fish such as large eels.
Reverting Reptiles - This section is very small and although it states it has constricting snakes the only reptiles in this area we could see were iguana's, baby crocodiles, snapping turtles, poison frogs and giant toads. There definitely weren't any snakes and if there were we would have seen them.
Blue Reef Beach Club - This is the aquariums newest attraction which overlooks Solent. It had its very own 50-tonne sandy beach and rock pool sandpit alongside an outdoor splash area which is complete with giant water nozzles, showers and sprays. This area is great for the children; how-ever not so good if the weather isn't particularly great.
Feeding displays and other things go on throughout the day in the Aquarium and you can find out the times of these things by asking for a leaflet at the reception when you pay for your entry fee. A staff member may also come around the aquarium to inform you of the things that are going on during your visit here. There is plenty of information about each animal located next to the tank they are in. This information is very useful and children can learn fascinating facts about the creatures.
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The Aquarium is good value as when you enter you will get given a stamp on your hand which entitles you to go away and come back to the Aquarium later in the day so you can have entry all day to the aquarium so long as you show the stamp on your hand. The range of displays and information is good and is also very interesting as you learn new things about the animals and creatures in the aquarium. Some of the creatures such as the rays and jellyfish are fascinating and beautiful to watch. Children can easily see into the tanks as a lot of them are quite low down so children can enjoy watching the fish swim around in the tank. I would probably go back here again in a few years' time when visiting Portsmouth again. I could also recommend this to others as well to visit as its good value and you get to see a good range of different fish and animals.
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Adult - £9.75
Child (3-4yrs, must be accompanied by an adult) - £7.50
Seniors & Students - £8.75
Family of 4 (2 adults & 2 children) - £32.50
Family of 5 (2 adults & 3 children) - £39.25
Tickets cannot be purchased online and must be purchased at the venue on arrival.
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Getting there - I was staying at a hotel nearby with my boyfriend so this was within walking distance for us. You can catch a bus straight to the Aquarium from the Harbour Station. Alternatively it's a short walk from Southsea Centre. There is also parking available nearby for those driving.
Blue Reef Aquarium, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Hampshire PO5 3PB
Tel: 023 9287 5222
(review may also appear on ciao)
Summary: Blue Reef Aquarium Southsea
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