Bristol Aquarium weekend fun!
Last weekend we were really lucky to be invited to Bristol Aquarium. If you have a toddler that loves to explore then it is certainly worth a visit. The aquarium is located along Anchor Road, Bristol, just behind the bars and restaurants along the waterfront.
There isn’t any onsite parking but you have loads of parking nearby. We always park in the Wapping Wharf car park at the weekend. It’s £4.50 for the whole day, which for city centre parking is a bargain. It’s just behind the M Shed and a five minute walk from the aquarium.
The aquarium opens at 10am and we were there just after. You know us, we like to be early. When we collected our tickets, we were told we could use them throughout the day. This makes it very handy if you want to pop out and grab a bite to eat.
The aquarium isn’t huge so you can get around it in an hour and a half or so. But if you want to make the most of the talks through the day then I recommend going back in.
Our journey around the aquarium started at the life-size replica of a sunken ship – complete with treasure chests! Now this was of interest to b because he loves treasure chests. And he really wanted to get in and open them up!
In terms of fish, there are hundreds. We saw everything from sharks and eels, to rays and seahorses. In fact the aquarium is home to over 300 seahorses! They were super cute but our photos were shocking. The dark light makes it difficult to get any decent ones I’m afraid.
There is an octopus but we couldn’t spot him. Apparently he likes to hide in a rocky bit of his tank. One interesting fact I read though while wandering around, octopus can have up 100,000 babies. I struggled with one baby so hats off to mumma octopus everywhere!
B loved these pink jelly fish. You can only just see B and daddy to the right side in this photo. Mr d isn’t a big fan of jelly fish at all. He had a “Jaws” moment as a child. You know…an “everyone out of the water” type moment. And he’s never been in the sea since.
An aquarium wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory Nemo and Dory fish! As you can imagine, these tanks proved really popular with the toddlers! So popular I couldn’t get close enough to get a decent photo!
As you wander around the aquarium, be sure to look at the sand in the bigger tanks. There are lots of rays and skates all hovering close the bottom. It may surprise you to know that rays and skates are actually members of the shark family! They are pretty much flat sharks, but with a few major differences.
Plenty of room for prams at the aquarium!
The layout of the aquarium is well planned with plenty of room to get a pram through. We are lucky though that b (mostly) walks now, so no pram for us. The route through the aquarium takes you through darker inside areas and lighter covered bio-dome areas. The giant Botanical House is actually the only one in the UK housed in an aquarium. B loved the waterfall 🙂
He also loved these dinosaur eggs!
We also enjoyed the pool with the rays and the turtles. They swam up to say hello.
The Learning Lab
As part of the aquarium there is the learning lab. Inside here we got to use a a super duper microscope to look at various sea life close up – so from shark teeth to fish skin and sand. The sand looked really pretty. This photo does not do it justice but hey, let me off as it’s difficult to take good pictures in a dark aquarium!
The Learning lab also houses the rock pool and any babies that have been born. We saw all the little seahorses and they were super cute.
Next along our route was the Amazon Rainforest area. The rainforest is complete with rain and thunder sounds. Now because b got super frightened last summer when we had a thunder storm, he was not happy at all with the thunder sounds. It took quite a lot of convincing that it was pretend thunder.
No aquarium would be complete without an underwater tunnel! This runs through the centre of the coral reef which you can also view from above. The colours were really lovely.
Make a day of it!
The cost to enter the aquarium is just over £13 for an adult and just under £9 for kids from age 3. It is fairly pricey compared with other attractions but the great thing is that the ticket is reusable through the day. You can come and go as you please. Bristol waterfront and harbour has so much to offer when it comes to families and there are loads of free things to do. We particularly love the the M Shed and Millennium Square. We’ve had so many fun days out and you can read more here and in this post about the nature festival!
There is a little café onsite if you need to grab a drink or a bite to eat. There is also a pretty cool gift shop. B wanted to buy everything. We let him have a little nemo fish and we always get a fridge magnet when we visit new places.
All in all we had a lovely visit to the aquarium and I would recommend it, especially if it’s a rainy day. It is laid out well and the displays and tanks are lovely. Any toddler would enjoy this and it’s interesting for adults too. Win win!
Have you been to Bristol? Did you visit the aquarium? We always have a fun time when we go to Bristol and will be back again really soon! If you’re planning a trip soon, don’t forget to pin this post for later!
Disclaimer: We were given tickets free of charge in return for this honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.