In 2023, the National Marine Aquarium celebrated our 25th Anniversary. Our building, which sits on the shores of Plymouth Sound, was officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip in May 1998.  

To celebrate this milestone, we made several exciting changes to the building, hosted some very special events and our docu-series, Secrets of the Aquarium, launched on BBC2!

How we celebrated! 

We celebrated by launching a new 25th trail around the NMA, reintroduced a Seahorse exhibit and hosted a canapés event for all our amazing suppliers!

About the National Marine Aquarium 

There has been an aquarium in Plymouth since 1888. It was originally housed at the Marine Biological Association on Plymouth Hoe and was one of the first aquariums in the United Kingdom. Less than 100 years later a much larger building was built on the Barbican district – it is that building that we now call home.

Architectural firm LHC was first commissioned to design the iconic building in 1995 and it opened in 1998. Since then, tens of thousands of animals have made the Aquarium their home and we have welcomed over 7 million visitors.

Over the last 25 years the National Marine Aquarium has become a key pillar of the local community. Countless Plymouth locals can recount tales of coming to the Aquarium for a school trip, sleepover, a visit with grandparents or even a first date!  

Perhaps the National Marine Aquarium’s greatest impact regards Ocean conservation. Since 1998, we have been at the forefront of the battle for a healthy and thriving Ocean. In that time, we have worked tirelessly to fund, inspire and drive Ocean Conservation.  

Funding Ocean Conservation 

100% of profits raised through admission tickets, café and retail sales go directly to the Ocean Conservation Trust. Our charity dedicated to protecting the Ocean through community engagement and habitat restoration. Last year alone the Ocean Conservation Trust engaged 12,000 people with the Ocean and protected over twenty football pitches of seagrass meadow.  

Inspiring Ocean Conservation 

Since 1998, over 600,000 children have visited the National Marine Aquarium as part of a school trip or educational experience. Through our multi award-winning educational programme, we have and will continue to inspire the next generation to protect our Ocean. 

Driving Ocean Conservation 

Since 1998, we have connected millions of people with the Ocean, teaching them about the issues and what part they can play in the solution.  Each day the NMA has been open we have shone a light on how important the Ocean is using a fun mix of education and entertainment. In recent years our involvement in the Ocean Conservation Trust’s Think Ocean campaign, has given countless people the tools they need to drive pro-Ocean behaviour. Ocean Conservation is only possible if we all do our part, and we are so proud of the role we have played so far.  

The NMA has had a great history, but we think the next 25 years are going to be even better… 

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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