Ian Waller takes his teenage daughter for a return visit to one of her favourite Bristol attractions
This was by no means our first visit to Bristol Aquarium. Since Evie was four years old, it’s been one of her favourite places to enjoy in Bristol, so with half term in full swing, we decided that a return trip was on the cards.
Situated bang in the heart of the city, it means that it’s pretty easy to find your way to the aquarium by bus, train or car, with plenty of signs to help you. The short queue meant that in no time we were back inside and retracing our steps around the tanks and viewing areas of the aquarium.
Home to thousands of aquatic creatures, there’s around 40 displays to catch your eye, along with exotic plants from around the world in the urban jungle that perfectly sets that scene for an enjoyable and educational day out.
As soon as you’re inside you can follow the trail to the viewing windows displaying the extraordinarily colourful and enchanting sea life on offer, along with excellent panels introducing each of the species and detailing the conservation work being carried out by the aquarium.
Early on this includes the sunken ship display with its catsharks and crayfish, along with just so many opportunities for amazing photos. In no time you’ll find yourself visiting the bay of rays where, amongst others, you’ll see common stingray, thornback rays and painted rays, all swimming past just inches away and even breaking the surface of the water as they check out the visitors to their home.
One of the real highlights is the wander through the underwater tunnel, where sealife big and small swim right above your head as you check out the sea bass, pufferfish, eels and many more.
Throughout our visit there, children of all ages were mesmerised by the creatures on display, eliciting squeals of delight and pulling their parents excitedly from one display to the next. As you would expect, social distancing is encouraged throughout, and while a few of the hands-on displays are closed due to COVID restrictions, there is still plenty more to keep you amused and amazed.
Another of the real highlights is the Mighty Amazon display which includes mangrove swamps, piranhas and the gorgeous yellow bellied turtles who seem only too happy to swim on over and say hello.
Once the trail comes to an end, there’s the chance for visitors to enjoy the gift shop and C-Shed Cafe, or find out a little about the conversation work being carried out by the team at the aquarium. Throughout, the staff were friendly and helpful, helping to make our latest visit a real half term treat.