Our first Blogger trip of the year took us to Plymouth this weekend as we set ourselves up to explore the very best attractions and events that the South West has to offer in 2020.
The kids are fascinated by all things wildlife and our coast so they couldn't wait to get in and explore.. We'd told them a little bit about it before we got there and naturally they were both super excited to see the Sharks. My eldest has a great understanding of this magnificent sea creature and the story behind it's whole 'predator' status so he was mesmerised by the Lemon Sharks size meanwhile my youngest, Harley has a little fear of the ocean purely because of sharks and we have to remind him every time we visit the beach that sharks attacks are just unheard of in the UK and that we're safe.
So it was super nice for him to stand up close and personal with the aquariums largest Shark and see how calm and peaceful they can be, fingers crossed this means he'll actually want to surf with me later this year :)
Each area of the Aquarium is full of fun and interactive fact boards for the kids to get involved in, rock pools and window displays of beautiful sea creatures like Seahorses and Jellyfish.
The children's fave was the Atlantic sea section where they could meet our local critters and swimmers along with their newest resident baby Octopus.
There's a cinema too which shows lot's of cool wildlife and environmental films, but unfortunately it's undergoing work at the moment so we couldn't see this exhibit.
If halfway round you want to break up your visit and stop for lunch you'll find a Cafe serving yummy treats, light bites and much needed coffee.
You'll find lot's of conservation area info around the aquarium which really is worth the read if, like me, you don't agree with tourist attractions that expose animals to captivity, you'll see how this particular Aquarium (The largest in the UK) is helping towards conservation and rehabilitation programmes.
Head to my IG stories today to see this little baby pick up something for comfort and head off to bed, it's the sweetest thing.
Both boys had been set a challenge earlier this year by their wildlife teacher, Mr FT, a local legend who gives up his time to go over and above to provide exciting adventures for the
local's little ones during school time, which includes lot's of beach trips, foraging and rock-pooling. Their challenge over the Summer holidays was to find "Mermaids Purses", beautiful egg cases of Sharks, but we hadn't found any at our local beach so the kids were so excited when they found this part of the aquarium which showed the behind the scenes breeding.
There's loads of cool experiences you can book here from vip tours to dining alongside the ocean tank, but our personal fave has to be the sleepover with sharks! click here to find out more : https://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/events/sleeping-with-shark-sleepovers/
Like most tourist attractions you'll find the dreaded gift shop at the end, the usual part of the day where your'e badgered by the kiddies into buying lot's of souvenir style goodies..
We did buy a cuddly toy, a bag of precious gems and a necklace BUT, we we're shocked to find less 'useless' promo stuff and actually lot's of local beautifully crafted gifts and ethically produced products such as re-useable straws, glass coffee cups, soaps and so much more!
Thanks for inviting us down National Marine Aquarium! We had a blast!
Obviously there's so much more to see and do here, but we don't want to spoil it for you! Head to https://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/visit-us/ to book your tickets, save 10% by booking online!
Insider tip: We parked just outside the aquarium in the Cookhouse pub carpark which allows 3 hours free parking, to save £ on parking tickets if you stop for coffee afterwards you can claim a ticket voucher for upto 3 hours since you parked :) win win.
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