Quiet at the Aquarium Returns

18th October 2017

A blog by Helen – Public Engagement Coordinator

Shhhhs…Here at the National Marine Aquarium we are all inclusive and sometimes this means that we need to lower the noise levels, turn off the bright lights and create a relaxing atmosphere. Quiet at the Aquarium is an evening event tailored for people with autism and other sensory needs. We love these events because it allows families to enjoy all our wonderful tanks and the 4000 ocean animals without the hustle and bustle of a day time visit.

Everyone experiences the world a little differently, but we all experience the world through our senses. Many children and adults with autism experience challenges in processing sensory information from their own bodies and from the environment. Studies also suggest that 5 to 15% of school aged children are affected by sensory processing disorder. This means that the everyday senses that we take for granted may be over- or under-sensitive, or both. These sensory differences can affect behaviour, and can have a profound effect on a person’s life.

Our researchers here have studies the therapeutic effects of viewing an aquarium and how it can improve people’s moods, so we want everyone to be able to visit us for a fun and relaxing time. Working at the National Marine Aquarium we get to spend a lot of time with some of the amazing animals you can find in the ocean. These animals have fantastic personalities and quirks. These evenings are the perfect opportunity to just sit and watch and get to know our animals. For instance, we have Cooper the Humphead Wrasse in our Great Barrier Reef exhibit who just loves your attention. If you spend some time near the glass he will come over to check you out and start to perform twirls and spins showing off his beautiful colours to you.

Our previous Quiet at the Aquariums have had great feedback with one family writing “Thanks for putting on these quiet evenings, my daughter wouldn’t be able to come otherwise and she loved it”, and another saying “enjoyed the quiet event, much calmer and relaxing. Very friendly and welcoming”.

It isn’t just our visitors that love these evenings, our staff have a wonderful time too. Here we are used to being loud, energetic and a little bit over the top but these evenings give us an opportunity to relax and spend one to one time with families, showing off our amazing exhibits and some special artefacts in a peaceful, stress free environment.

If you think this event would be perfect for you, you can buy your tickets here: Quiet at the Aquarium tickets (careers and under 3’s free)

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