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For James’s 2nd birthday treat day out we needed somewhere that would keep both him and Stanley entertained (no easy task!), be predominately indoors (gotta love February birthdays), and have plenty of facilities for Eli.

Blue Planet Aquarium Chester was our chosen destination, and is roughly 1.5hrs away from us and so there was much talk of sharks and crocodiles (Stanley) and someone singing Baby Shark (James) on route. Nana came along with us and so we were looking forward to it being a great day out.

A captivating underwater world is waiting for you to discover at Blue Planet Aquarium. Home to more than 100 living displays, as well as one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks, the aquarium offers plenty of marine life to marvel at.

For those mummy’s with little ones, I decided to wear Eli in a carrier for our visit, but all exhibits were buggy/wheelchair friendly and there was also a buggy park at the Aquatheatre site, if you choose to watch a show.

On arrival we were given a leaflet with a timetable for feeding times/shows and off we went. There was a sign detailing the different zones and a map which my boys took absolutely no notice of and went running to the waterfall and into the first zone of discovery ‘Northern Streams’.

These are inhabitants of the waters of the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, including the rivers and streams of the British Isles.

I would have liked the chance to read the signs and displays to find out more, but life with two boys under 5 tends to go at 100mph at the best of times and before we knew it we were in the Flooded Forest.

The Flooded Forest tropical river exhibit is designed to represent a branch of the Amazon River, the mighty waterway of the rainforests of South America, with its abundant and exotic freshwater life.

This zone included an interactive electric eel display which James enjoyed and also the huge tank of piranha which the boys viewed with both awe and nervousness.

Fun Fact: The infamous razor-sharp teeth of the red-bellied piranha are self-sharpening and can cut through steel. A shoal of piranha can strip an unwary animal to a skeleton in minutes.

For a fish that is so deadly they really are beautiful creatures, glimmering and glinting under the water as they turn, some time was spent watching the piranhas then running away when they swam towards the glass.

We passed through Lake Malawi and the Frog Zone before heading downstairs to the Mangrove Swamps, which for my boys was all about the crocodiles (caiman). On our first passing we spotted a tail poking out from the submerged roots but on our next viewing (there were several) we finally got a good look.

The next environment was Rock Pools, which was one of my favourites just because I love being at the coast, one of the rock pools is home to some beautiful star fish which were clinging to the glass. There is a simulated wave that crashes over them every few minutes or so. One of my favourite sounds…I could have stayed there all day!

So far on our journey the colours had been muted, with the odd pop of colour here and there, but from here on in there was about to be a colour explosion. If like me you are a fan of photos, Blue Planet Aquarium can provide the backdrop to some very ‘instaworthy’ shots. All photos within this post were captured with my phone, and I’m completely in love with the colours. This would be an absolutely great day out for an amateur photographer.

Coral Cave was a delight, we ventured into the cave taking in the brightly coloured coral and it’s inhabitants and for my little Finding Nemo fans, we found his whole family and Dory made an appearance too.

You can view the coral reef from above, either from the viewing platform or by looking directly down through the viewing portholes in the floor.

I wasn’t expecting Eli to get much from the day as he’s only 16 weeks old, but the colourful coral and the bright fish darting in and out, had him completely mesmerised.

At this point we decided to double back and grab some lunch from The Nautilus Kitchen. The set up in the restaurant is great, plenty of high chairs are available and tables that look out into the deep…don’t be surprised to see rays and fish swimming up to the glass while you’re eating!

After looking at the menu display boards behind the counter, (ideally I’d have liked the option of a table menu, as it was we had to go up and view the menu in turns) we decided on fish and chips all round. Unfortunately we were told that they hadn’t any fish…the irony was not lost on us! We soon made other choices from the somewhat limited menu finally settling on burgers, pizza and the chicken bites kids meal and the food was served quickly. The meal was average and typical of these kind of attractions, which was a bit of a shame as this could be a real feature of the experience if it was upgraded a little, I personally think they’re missing a trick as the setting is so amazing! If you have any dietary requirements I’d suggest ringing ahead of your trip if you plan to eat in-house.

Alternatively, you can take your own food and eat it on site. There are benches dotted around the aquarium and also picnic tables provided in the outside play area for this purpose. This would be my preference for a return visit.

Back to the aquarium and finally we were in the domain of the sharks, if you intend on visiting with anyone under the age of 10 be prepared to spend approximately 18 hours here…it’s a magical experience for little ones!

The Aquatheatre hosts at least 3 dive shows daily, we chose not to catch a show during our visit as our boys struggle to sit still for any great length of time and we didn’t want to disrupt the other visitors. We did however, stand and gaze in amazement at the underwater panorama before us.

Fun Fact: The Blue Planet Aquarium Aquatheatre window is actually made of acrylic and is 23cm (8in) thick to hold back the 4 million litres (880,000 gallons) of water of the Caribbean reef. It cost more than £100,000!

And finally onto Shark Tunnel, this could not have been more exciting for my boys, as it involved a moving walkway and sharks, lots of sharks!! I must admit I got a bit lost in the wonder of it myself, it really is a special way to view these majestic creatures.

At the heart of Blue Planet Aquarium is the Aquatunnel, one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world. You’ll be taken on a spectacular underwater safari on our moving walkway and everywhere you look you’ll find amazing tropical fish and awesome sharks staring back at you!

The walkway allowed us to look up and keep moving without falling over, and it felt like we were part of the underwater world. Being below the rays and watching them swim overhead, gave a wonderful view of their hidden ‘faces’.

We also got a true sense of the sheer scale of all these animals, and how they interact with each other below the surface.

Once we had managed to convince the boys to leave Shark Tunnel (no easy task) using the promise of a trip to the Pirate Playground as bribery, we headed through to Venom where we got up close and personal with some big spiders and stingy things before making our way back upstairs ending our fabulous day of underwater exploration.

If you would like to visit Blue Planet Aquarium on the door prices are £19.00 for standard tickets, £13.50 for juniors over 90cm and up to 12 years old, and £16.50 for concessions. Infant juniors under 90cm in height are admitted free.

Visit the website for more details and news of upcoming events.

All images are my own unless otherwise credited and must not be reproduced without permission.

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23 responses to “Review: Blue Planet Aquarium”

  1. How to Make the Most of your Staycation. – Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

    […] Choose a destination that has a few indoor places of interest nearby too. Museums, play centres or aquariums– it’s better to have a backup for rainy days out with the […]


  2. Kerry Avatar

    I love aquariums! But yes sadly we tend to fly around them at super fast speed too to keep up with my youngest (& husband!). Love the shark tunnel! Thanks for linking up with #KidsandKreativity hope to see you back next time x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jendixon35 Avatar

    We haven’t visited here since my eldest was small! We will have to plan another trip soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jen Dixon Avatar

    We’ve not been here since my eldest was small, we’ll have to plan a trip soon!


  5. Lauren Avatar

    That looked like amazing fun! So wish there was something like that closer to me (Oxfordshire), we’ll have to stick with Longleat Safari!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tiredbutcraftymummy Avatar

    We have a February Birthday Boy too so definitely know how you feel about the birthday treats! The Blue Planet Aquarium looks perfect. I love the tunnel where you can walk through the sharks etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brazen Mummy Writes Avatar
    Brazen Mummy Writes

    This looks and sounds completely amazing. Definitely on our list of things to do – although will have to try hard not to think about that annoying Baby Shark song! X (Anita Faulkner)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. clairelomax2018 Avatar

    Looks amazing! I did a moving walkway in Tenerife and it was brilliant because you can just take it all in.

    Think a visit to Chester is in order, bonus as I love the place!

    Think I’ll take a picnic though


  9. outandaboutmummy Avatar

    I love a trip to the aquarium! Such a fab day out, looks like you all had fun x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Me, Them and the Others Avatar
    Me, Them and the Others

    I love aquariums because they’re great for all ages, I just went to our local one as part of my 40th Birthday celebrations!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Daydreamer mum Avatar
    Daydreamer mum

    I’ve a bit of a weird confession!! I have a huge fish phobia!!!So I admit to reading this post through squinted eyes so as i could avoid the pictures!!!Seems a fab review though and somewhere my youngest would love….just that daddy can do that trip on his days with her! !#blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      Oh Kelly bless you…I feel honored and slightly guilty that you took the time to read!!


      1. Daydreamer mum Avatar
        Daydreamer mum

        Ha ha !!!!


  12. The Wandering Pram Avatar

    Great photos! I’ve a friend going to Chester with two young boys next month so I’ll definitely recommend this to them

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kate (@Newmummykate) Avatar

    Hope your little one enjoyed his birthday! I love visiting the aquarium but my two race round so fast I can’t take it all in! Thanks for linking up #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  14. chickenruby Avatar

    I only had to see the thumbnail and I clicked on the link. I love visiting aquariums #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  15. mackenzieglanville Avatar

    I was slaws so fascinated as a child with exploring what was under the sea, my dad would take me snorkelling and I could have stayed forever in the rock pools and exploring the creatures, seeing this reminds me of how much I wished to become a marine biologists, I would be happy living under the sea. Although I don’t want to meet the piranha that is seriously scary! Thanks for being part of #ABloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jade Avatar

    Wow that shark tunnel looks awesome. We went to our local aquarium recently and my son was so excited by the sharks he was screaming ‘There’s a shark in the Park’ (his favourite book) at the top of his voice and they only had little sharks so he might explode if we go here! I love the aquarium but wish my boys would slow down as we go round. #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      That was my problem…we went round at warp speed until we got to the sharks 😂. I did go round twice but still ended up playing catch the toddler!!


      1. Jade Avatar

        Yep we had to go round twice. Don’t know why I’m not losing weight all this running after children!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. An Ordinary Mom Avatar
    An Ordinary Mom

    Looks like it was a colorful and fun day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs Avatar

      It really was, it was lovely to stand back and let the boys discover things for themselves. Thanks for stopping by!


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