While I was disappointed with the beach in Brighton because the weather was cold and rainy, I was glad to have a sunny weather when I was in Bournemouth. Upon reaching the place, I could immediately feel that it was a touristy beach town. There were plenty of eateries and sizeable malls for those who need to go on retail therapy. Using the giant Ferris Wheel as my guide, I made my way to the beach through the Lower Gardens. There were a lot of people walking or picnicking in the park due to the good weather. Some were playing with Frisbees or catch with their pets.
The beaches I am used to are sandy beaches and I was pleased to find out Bournemouth beach wasn't a rocky beach. Even better was the length of the beach strip, providing everyone ample and comfortable spots on the sand. Although the beach looked crowded, my friend and I could find ourselves a spot to soak in the sunlight without infringing the personal space of another group. There was even so much space left for children to dig themselves a huge crater for themselves to play in. A kid did just that and discovered he had to clamber back up to his family once he was done digging.
One thing I liked about the beach was there was a stretch of space with shallow sea waters for younger children to play in safely. Parents could watch over them from the shore. The shallow waters run under the pier, still a distance away from the deeper waves. If the children do not fancy playing by the beach, there is a carousel and the flying swing right beside the Ferris Wheel. For those who are interested in something more educational, they could head to the Oceanarium which is also by the beach side.
After dipping my feet in the cold sea water, I decided to check out what was offered in the Oceanarium. I was also interested because there were student discounts that day. The Oceanarium might be small for the adults but I think it was just the right length for families with younger children. There is a Kids Play Zone with a mini playground for families to rest and a baby changing area. In the Kids Play Zone, there are circular windows that face the beach and some small jellyfish tanks at the side. I managed to catch the feeding times for the Oriental Small-Clawed Otters and the giant turtles. One thing that set the Oceanarium apart from the other aquariums I've visited was being able to see a large group of Humboldt penguins swimming. The Oceanarium has a number of interesting animals such as the Zane the Zebra shark, the Lookdown fish, and the Picasso Triggerfish. The prettiest to me was the blue spotted stingray due to its bright, blue spots.
Upon exiting the Oceanarium, I walked along the beach towards the West Cliff area. It was then I realised there were beach huts lined through the whole beach strip. I couldn't find the brightly coloured ones as shown in brochures but most of the huts were maintained well enough for the colours to show. I didn't go up the West Cliff lift because I wanted to walk up the Zig-Zag for the view. I believe it costs about a pound for the lift ride. Along the way to the Zig-Zag, I passed by a nicely decorated VW camper van which I believed was for weddings.
The view of the beach strip was spectacular up above from the Zig-Zag. The sunny weather helped reflect the waves, like a scene from the movies. The end of the Zig-Zag was the West Cliff Gardens with spaces for parking beside it. My friend and I thought of checking out the activities at the pier but we had to pay for entry. Since we didn't plan to join in the activities available, we didn't pay to enter. However, we were able to watch people zip lining from the end of the pier to the shore. The change of plans meant we could walk up higher in the Lower Gardens to see what else was there. We got to see colourful tulips in full bloom. We came across a new mall next to the garden and had an early dinner in TGIF with good service.
While waiting for the bus to head back home, we spent the time looking at birds at the Bournemouth Aviary, located in the Lower Gardens. There are plans to build a bigger aviary to make a larger space for the birds to fly. There is a parrot sculpture accepting donations from the public to help build the new aviary and to feed the birds.
Bournemouth holds a few festivals such as Craft Beer Festival, Gin Festival, Food & Drink Festival and Air Festival.