FAQs

Can I book tickets in advance?

Yes. Please use our on-line booking service to purchase advance tickets. You’ll be able to use our Fast Track entry.

Can I smoke anywhere in the Aquarium?

We do not allow any form of smoking inside the building. This includes the use of any e-cigarette/vaping devices. This is to ensure that we avoid any confusion on reports of sources of smoke within the building. We do have a Maritime Garden in which members of the public may smoke if they wish.

How do I get there?

The Aquarium is signposted from all major routes into the city and from the city centre, but the recommended route is from the A38, taking the Marsh Mills (Sainsbury’s) turn off. Follow the fish symbols on the brown tourist signs to the National Marine Aquarium and Coxside Car Park. If you have SatNav the postcode is PL4 0DX Click here for full directions.

How is the National Marine Aquarium funded?

The National Marine Aquarium receives no revenue support and is entirely dependent on visitor income to cover the costs of operation and to support the charitable work of the Aquarium. It does apply for grants and sponsorship funds wherever possible but these go to supporting specific projects.

How long should I allow for my visit?

We recommend a minimum of three hours for your visit, but you may need longer if you wish to listen to some of the talks that happen throughout the day. Not to be missed is the dive show at 2 pm – but please check on the day of your visit as we may have to cancel due to circumstances beyond our control.

I'm coming with a group - can I get a discount?

Yes. Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of our special group booking rates. Please call 01752 275214 for more information.

I've got young children - what facilities do you provide?

We have several exciting areas throughout the Aquarium designed specifically for children.  Let them create something to take home in our Discovery Zone; explore the Cavern of Colour in the Coral Seas or see sharks from the Mermaid’s Cave. Better still, all children under four go free. If you have very small children, the Aquarium is fully accessible for pushchairs, with most exhibits served by ramps and lifts where there are stairs. Nursing mothers are welcome throughout the building; however, should you require privacy, please speak to one of our hosts who can arrange for this.

We've been before - have you got anything new?

The National Marine Aquarium is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the changing marine environment and, as such, things change here quite often. Sometimes these changes are big; for example, Ocean Drifters opened in 2009, Marine Power was added in 2010 and Eddystone was re-themed in 2011.  We are also planning to open our Saving Seahorses exhibition. Sometimes these changes are small, such as the introduction of new creatures to our exhibits. However, with over 4,000 marine creatures, every visit to the National Marine Aquarium will offer an opportunity to see something new. Why not become a member and get unlimited return visits?

What animals do you have at the National Marine Aquarium?

There are over 4,000 marine fish in the Aquarium, of almost 400 different species, as well as many thousands of invertebrate animals and one Loggerhead Turtle. A large proportion of the animals come from our local waters, showing the marvellous diversity; from soft Corals to tiny Gobies and fascinating Prawns, to 2.5 metre Conger Eels. The Aquarium also displays, when possible, other interesting creatures found in the seas around the South-Sest such as Seahorses and Octopuses. There are also animals from the Mediterranean and the warmer seas of the world including our new Eagle Rays. A colourful array of fish inhabit our Great Barrier Reef tank. Our sharks come from Britain, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, ranging from the tiny Coral Shark and shy Epaulette Shark to the large Sand Tiger Sharks.

What facilities do you provide for disabled people?

The National Marine Aquarium is committed to providing Access for All. The majority of the Aquarium is serviced by walkways; however, ramps or lifts are supplied where there are stairs. There are a number of disabled parking bays on site and there are drop-off points for minibuses and coaches. We have a limited number of wheelchairs on site, available free of charge on a first come first served basis, and there are full disabled toilet facilities. Carers for the disabled are admitted free of charge (1 per person depending on care package), plus guide and listening dogs are welcome. If booking online carers do not need to prebook their free pass. Click here to download our access statement

What is the National Marine Aquarium?

The National Marine Aquarium is a registered chairity committed to promoting a sympathetic understanding of the sea through programmes of education, conservation and research. With a mission to Drive Marine Conservation Through Engagement, the National Marine Aquarium operates the largest public aquarium in the UK and is the lead partner in Just Add H2O, a programme for schools that aims to bring the Marine Curriculum alive.

Where do you get the animals from?

Some of our animals are bred in captivity at the National Marine Aquarium or other similar facilities; some are brought in by fishermen or members of the public (although we do ask people to telephone us first to check that we can take them); others are collected by our dedicated team of aquarists; but most are purchased from reputable suppliers. The Aquarium has a strict conservation policy, operates within the guidelines of the Marine Aquarium Council and will only use suppliers who follow similar guidelines.

Where should I park?

We have a limited number of disabled parking bays, which are available on a first come first served basis to those displaying a valid disabled Blue Badge. There is no other parking available at the National Marine Aquarium; please use the Barbican Pay & Display car parks adjacent to the site. The cost for 3 hours is around £4.20.

Why is the National Marine Aquarium a charity?

The National Marine Aquarium is a charity as it was set up primarily for the purposes of education, conservation and research. It is governed by a board of trustees, each of whom give their time free of charge to the Aquarium. As a charity, we do not pay any dividends to shareholders or take any profits. Every penny we receive helps us to continue to operate, to fund our innovative learning programme, to participate in international conservation efforts and to support vital research, helping us to succeed in our mission: Driving Marine Conservation Through Engagement.

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