For the last month or so we have been looking at Oceans: Where they are, what they’re called and what lives in them! It has been a lot of fun, probably even more so as it was something L got interested in all by herself and I centered work and activities around it. For this I thank the Octonauts! What a great show! I pride myself in my knowledge of the Natural World, I love it and have done since I was a little girl like my daughter and this interest and love was nurtured by my dearly departed Gran, so when I say I’ve learned stuff from the Octonauts, I’m pretty impressed. My husband has too and he thoroughly enjoys watching it too. Win all around at Casa Osborne.
So we live in Nottingham and The Deep is in Hull, Google Maps predicted about 2hrs depending on traffic so we were up, dressed and out the door for just after 9am and arrived at the Aquarium around 11:30. What a grim day for driving on the motorway today, I really felt for my husband, rain and spray is just no fun at all.
Cold and blustery as it’s located right on the banks of the estuary of the Humber, we scuttled indoors quickly to keep warm! I’m glad we arrived when we did and chose a Monday, because as the afternoon wore on, it got much busier than I’d expected with at least 3 school visits and at least one special needs and disabled large party too. There was no difficulty in getting around or seeing attractions though.
We bought our tickets and picked up a Visitors Guide and Attraction Leaflet as L was excited to get an idea of things to come.
Upon spying the turtles there was much ooh-ing and ahh-ing and excitement. A quick toilet break before we started our tour (which I must say there were plenty of throughout, clean, well maintained and stocked). We chose to take the stairs up (8 flights!) to get some exercise rather than the lift and despite my disabilities, I didn’t find it too challenging taking it slow and there were great views out over the Humber to take in! Worth it.
The first part of the exhibit talks about the make up of the ocean, the timeline of ocean life and some tectonic science and other cool geological and geographical information about the formation of the planet as we know it today. It was above L’s understanding of course, but some really great information and interactive displays and games for older children, teens and adults but this game was one she could do! You push the button and the light moves round the circle and highlights various animals from sharks to whales, bears and turtles and the object of the game is to push the button again to stop the light, but to make sure you highlight only mammals! It was fun and a good talking point too.
At the bottom L got her first glimpse of Sea Stars/ Starfish which were on her bucket-list of things to see along with Sharks, Rays and Mudskippers (!) We were fascinated to see them moving along the tank floor and at a much faster speed then any of us thought they would/could move.
When we got to the bottom of the ramp the hall opened up into a beautiful room with a huge tank and a discovery zone area. This is pretty newly refurbished and looks amazing, don’t you think?
You could see both above and below the water here and there were loads of different fish from Sharks to Pufferfish and even Rays! Lizzie was utterly enthralled here and you can check out her reaction on our Facebook Page as we posted a video!
I could have sat here all day, it was so relaxing watching all the fish and the beautiful lights and colours. The Lagoon of Light was an instant and HUGE hit with all three of us and we probably spent this most time in this area overall. In the corner was The Discovery Zone and here they had small tanks with some Starfish, Crabs, Fish and Sea Urchins and we’d arrived just in time for a talk and handling session. The lady was very informative and made sure everyone who wanted to got to ask questions and have a feel of the creatures. The two today were the Starfish and Sea Urchin. L said the Starfish was soft but bumpy and the Urchin was “too jaggy!”
Next up were the Gentoo Penguins. J’s favourite! He absolutely ADORES Penguins. Apparently they were L’s favourite today as well, which was kinda cool. Last year The Deep had two eggs hatch and the chicks were named Attenborough and Lizzie! They were easily identifiable today and very active and lovely to see.
The next area had wow factor as well with the biggest tank and main attraction The Endless Ocean Exhibit, which holds 2.5 million litres of water! WOW! Inside were large Sharks, huge Stingrays, massive Sawfish, Fish and Eels and Loggerhead Sea Turtles! Breathtaking is the only word to describe it. It was amazing.
As we neared the end and had descended down to the bottom we came to a soft play area for babies and toddlers. It’s only for children under 1 meter in height and it’s filled with soft foam toys to climb and slide on etc. It’s free too, but parental supervision at all times is a must. L loved it and spent a good half hour running, jumping and climbing with the babies and other toddlers and came out a hot little mess and begging for more food haha!
I’m so glad we made the drive to Hull as we had considered just going to the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, but we’ll leave that for another time as we’ve noticed they have an Octonauts Event “coming soon” and we’ll likely be popping along to that!
All in all a brilliant day. We popped into the shop on the way out and surprised by the prices not being totally extortionate as is often the case in these places. Some things were steep but most were pretty decently priced and they had Toobz for only £3 odd instead of around £10 or so they retail for online! That was our bargain of the day.
We cannot WAIT to go back 😀