Dear Mummy, it’s a dark and blustery day as we walk along Clarence Esplanade, Southsea in search for some respite. The wind is whistling past my ears and the sea spray is hitting the sea wall splashing us as we walk. It’s warm but walking by the sea makes it seem cooler.
We’re on a mission to find Blue Reef Aquarium and find parking at The Pyramids Center which daddy liked as it has RingGo though we did later find parking along the esplanade. Taking the short walk past the D-Day Museum next to Southsea Castle towards Clarence Pier and the arcades would bring us to the aquarium.
Portsmouth’s award-winning Blue Reef Aquarium is sandwiched in between these attractions and we were looking forward to heading inside away from the windchill. We couldn’t wait to discover the wonders of the deep and to learn more about aquatic life. Watch our vlog to see what we got up to:
It was very eye-catching in the aquarium however my attention was drawn immediately to a couple of ride on machines! The team at the desk were very welcoming and friendly which meant our experience started well. We walked around the tanks with the majority amazingly clean as we stared into the blue, however a few displays looked as though the glass needed a bit of TLC probably thanks to us excited kids. There was something so calming about watching fish swim around.
There were over 50 living displays revealing the sheer variety of life in the deep, from tropical sharks and stingrays to giant lobsters, elegant seahorses and playful otters. Unfortunately due to the poor weather we didn’t make use of the aquarium’s outdoor Blue Reef Beach Club. I bet this would be lovely on a sunny day right next to the sea.
My favourite part was seeing the nursery and looking at the baby fish, I also liked stalking the giant turtle and waving at the playful stingrays who waved back flopping against the side of their tanks. (See our video – we’ve never seen anything like it at the Bay of Rays) The otters, were sad as they’d just lost a family member so weren’t around to play. We watched their enclosure for some time, hoping they would become more playful as otters can be.
My mummy and daddy were most impressed with the Monsoon Falls, with an awesome tank and display, you could see they’d really put a lot of effort into this rainforest area and it looked great as it felt like we had been transported to another country.
We caught an informative talk about a spider crab and a starfish and I even had a go at touching one, it was very spikey. At the aquarium’s heart is the giant ocean tank where an underwater tropical tunnel offers at great view of the recreated coral reef. I even spotted a puffer fish which my mummy was very impressed with as I identify it myself doing impressions while she questioned whether I was right or not. I’ll make a marine biologist yet!
It was sadly over far too quickly as we emerged into the shop, we’d definitely recommend walking around the circuit a couple of times to get your moneys worth and making sure you don’t miss anything. It’s a shame as the Aquarium is so lovely that having got immersed in the atmosphere we all wanted it to go on longer and we really wish it had more attractions.
The gift shop is pretty epic and my folks laughed as my eyes lit up on seeing the displays of soft cuddly toys. They are my weakness! It would have been nice to see more interactive displays, push buttons and questions and answers to help kids learn on the walls, as opposed to fact sheets. I mentioned to my mummy that a pirate ship wouldn’t have gone amiss!
The cafe was next door and we enjoyed a hot chocolate and cake. They also do a selection of hot food but with more dinning areas further down towards Clarence Pier we’d definitely suggest making a day of it splitting your time between the aquarium and the pier. After our underwater adventure we enjoyed playing at the arcades and rides on the pier fun fair eating candy floss and being silly.
We chose to eat at an awesome beach restaurant called Mozzarella Joes which was welcoming and a hive of activity. We enjoyed amazing stoned baked pizza and they also do wicked desserts, though make sure you leave room as Daddy struggled!
So, what are you waiting for? A trip to Southsea can be a lot of fun for the whole family and they is lots to see and do, we’d totally recommend Blue Reef Aquarium as part of your fun-filled day out in Portsmouth!
Love Bella x
Disclosure: We were invited down to Blue Reef to review, all thoughts, pictures and candy floss are our own.