We’re delighted to say that today, we have finally reopened our doors to the public again after more than three months of closure due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
With local Labour MP Luke Pollard on hand to mark the occasion with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, we were thrilled to welcome our first visitors back into our underwater world this morning, and hope to see many more of you in the weeks to come.
And, to help ensure that you – our visitors – are fully protected from risk, we’ve put some stringent measures in place to ensure that we’re in compliance with social distancing and hygiene rules to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit.
We are now fully kitted out with 100 medical-grade visors for our staff to wear out on the floor and around the building, allowing our Ocean Discovery Rangers and other front of house staff members to continue providing an optimal customer experience without putting customers – or themselves – at risk.
The visors were donated to our Aquarium – which is run by Ocean conservation charity, the Ocean Conservation Trust – by ambassadors Sir Ben and his wife, Georgie Ainslie. The specialist masks were made especially for the NMA by INEOS TEAM UK – the British Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup. The team is headed up by four times Olympic gold medalist, Sir Ben Ainslie.
As we are run by an Ocean conservation charity, we reliy on visitors to the Aquarium to fund vital habitat restoration and behaviour change programmes. Even when closed to the public, the cost of operating the largest Aquarium in the UK can be up to £10,000 a day – with keeping animals fed adding an additional £5k to the bill each month.
Now that we have reopened our doors to the public, the ticket sales generated will help to keep the Aquarium running and to ensure our animal residents remain happy – as well as allowing us, and our parent charity the Ocean Conservation Trust to continue our vital conservation and communication work.
Here’s what our CEO Roger Maslin has to say:
“At the NMA, we’re doing all that we can to ensure that our Aquarium can provide a safe and enjoyable experience for customers, and we’re extremely grateful to Ben, Georgie and all at INEOS TEAM UK for this extremely kind and much-needed donation. Behind the scenes over the past few weeks, we’ve been busy implementing extensive safety measures to keep our customers and staff safe and to remain compliant with government rules and guidance, and the extra layer of protection these visors will provide gives us even more confidence that we can safely reopen.
“As the largest aquarium in the UK, we have plenty of floor space for everyone to spread out into and will be making sure that our popular talks and shows are available to download on our free WIFI , so that people can watch and learn as they journey around the world’s Ocean. We’re delighted to be able to finally start welcoming the public back through our doors this week, and are grateful to those who do come and see us for their support.”
Ben and Georgie Ainslie said: “We are happy to support the Ocean Conservation Trust in their mission to reopen the doors to the National Marine Aquarium. Not only is it key for visitors of all ages to be able to enjoy the experience of visiting the aquarium, but it’s imperative for the aquarium to generate revenue that is put towards the ongoing conservation work and the day to day business of looking after and feeding the animals.
“Opening the doors safely meant adopting measures to keep visitors and staff safe, providing PPE for the staff was an easy solution and we were happy to help and look forward to visiting as a family soon”.
Despite our lengthy closure here at the National Marine Aquarium, we’ve been continuing to connect people with the Ocean – albeit from a distance – by providing exciting online content for our visitors. Did you catch any of our popular weekly live streams, which drew in huge numbers of viewers from across the country, giving families the chance to witness rockpool and shark feeds and learn a little more about the Ocean environment our range of animals live in? We hope you did. But, now that we are back open for business, face-to-face Ocean activities – from a safe social distance – are set to resume, and we can’t wait to see some of you soon.
THINGS WE’VE CHANGED
To find out more about the safety measures we’ve put in place to protect our visitors, click here.
Don’t forget, if you’d like to visit us then all tickets and spaces must be reserved online in advance. To book your slot, click here.