Visit Plymouth: National Marine Aquarium
Anyone with even a snippet of interest in life under the waves should check out the Plymouth National Marine Aquarium. We had the pleasure of finding out for ourselves recently after searching for things to do with a toddler, pre-teen and a teenager. It’s actually no mean feat trying to cater for all ages in one sitting but I think we cracked it on this visit.
The Aquarium is really easy to find, just follow the brown tourist signs or any for Plymouth Harbour. We made a day of it by getting the train from Exeter on the famous Dawlish coastal train, then catching a taxi to the aquarium, although there is parking there if you don’t fancy our method of transport.
The check in process was quick and easy, we found all the staff we dealt with were very friendly and helpful. Customer service is such a deal breaker for me these days, is that an age thing? Either way happy helpful, well informed and enthusiastic staff was a real plus.
After navigating our way to the top with a buggy, taking the lift to the final floor, we began our tour.
The Toddler couldn't wait to get out and investigate his new surroundings, starting with a face press against the starfish tank glass. In an ideal world, I'd have liked to have sat and have done a lot more fish spotting. Tween and I were poised waiting to see if the Conga eel was actually real as it didn't appear to move at all while we were there, but our toddler had other ideas.
The Atlantic Ocean area was definitely all of our favourite area. Seeing the rays swim up and over our heads while sharks glided in an out of their way was mesmerising.
After stopping by the final tanks to see if the turtle was still there (the boys remembered it from a school trip visit many years ago) and doing the inevitable gift shop exit walk, we headed back up to the cafe for smoothies and to rest our legs, admire the yacht, discuss how safe Plymouth would be if a tidal wave struck and let the Toddler rearrange all the chairs in a last-ditch attempt to burn off his remaining energy before heading up to the cafe for lunch.
The view is stunning and an added extra watching the boats as well as the bridge opening and shutting. We ended up taking a stroll along the harbour and spotted some really nice looking restaurants and cafes to visit next time we come down. And yes, there will be a next time!