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National Marine Aquarium

Home > Plymouth > Animals and Wildlife | Cafes | Environment | Exhibitions | Nature
by Time to walk about (subscribe)
We travel full-time as a family and I've just started blogging and freelance writing with no set place to call home, I'm now sharing my family's adventures online. Please visit my blog at www.timetowalkabout.com
Published March 6th 2019
Dive deep into the murky coastal waters of the UK
The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is home to over 4000 animals and has the largest aquarium in the UK.

Founded with the aim to educate the public about the animals in our oceans and to promote a sympathetic understanding of them and our influence upon them.

National Marine Aquarium,ocean,fish,animals,plymouth
National Marine Aquarium


The exhibits are laid out on several levels and you start your journey on the top floor, working your way down through the many different animals on display.

Aquarium, entrance,plymouth,devon,sealife
Aquarium entrance


Although there is a lot of information around most of the aquarium, we did find a few of the exhibits didn't have signs telling us about the animals we were looking at. However, the friendly staff we found were enthusiastic and happy to answer questions with those we met having an in-depth knowledge of the animals.



It would be easy to spend half a day here exploring the six different exhibit zones.

The journey through the exhibits begins in the Plymouth Sound area and contains over 80 species of fish and invertebrates from the local area, giving you a glimpse at the amazing world just off the coast.

Next is the Eddystone Reef, which explores the marine life in the deeper water off the British shore, and leads through to the Ocean Drifters display, containing an amazing array of jellyfish.

Onwards to The Laboratory, where you get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes and may get to see the biologists at work.

aquarium,sharks,stingray,fish,ocean,sealife
Large aquarium


In the Atlantic ocean exhibit, you get to look into the largest and deepest aquarium tank in the UK that holds over two million litres of water. You start at the bottom, underneath the tank, and gradually move up towards the surface as you look in you'll see barracuda, sharks, rays and many more animals.



The Biozone contains lots of smaller tanks that display a small selection of the vast variety of animals that live in our oceans, giving you a glimpse of just how diverse they are. Even with the vast number of aquariums that we have visited over the last few years, there were a few animals here that we hadn't seen before.

The final exhibit is of the Great Barrier Reef with over 70 varied and colourful species housed in a 700,000-litre tank

There is a café on site which serves ethical and sustainable food, but if you're like us and want to save money, you can bring your own food and eat at the picnic tables located outside near the middle of the exhibits. There is also an indoor soft play area for younger children located beside the outdoor area.

We've visited several times in the past year, making the most of the fact that you only have to pay for your first visit each year then they give you a form to fill in and bring back each time.

Though given the size of the aquarium and the low admission price, it's still good value for money even without the free return.
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Why? Explore underwater Britain
When: Open Daily 10am – 5pm Last entry 4pm
Phone: 0844 893 7938
Where: National Marine Aquarium Rope Walk Coxside Plymouth PL4 0LF
Cost: Adult (16-59): £16.95, Child (3-15): £12.95, Senior Citizens (60 ): £14.95, Family (2A 2C or 1A 3C): £53.50, Student: £14.50
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