How do the tickets work?
Standard and family tickets are valid for 6 days after date of purchase. For example, a ticket bought on a Monday will be valid until the end of the following Sunday. You can use them as often as you like! (Please note that group tickets are valid for only 1 day.) When you buy your ticket, we ask you to sign the back. This is to confirm it’s your ticket, so we can sign you in every time you visit. Simply bring your ticket with you on your return visit and we’ll sign you in with the same signature that’s on the ticket. Keep your ticket safe – it’ll be no good for you if it’s lost!
Important: If e.g. your partner has bought a ticket with you but wants to come back later without you, make sure both of you sign the ticket – that way you can use it together or separately.
Can I give my ticket to someone else?
Unfortunately no, the tickets are non-transferable. If you return with a person who isn't on your ticket, they will need to buy their own separate ticket.
How long does it take to go round?
This is difficult to predict! We have over 40 tanks displaying native British marine wildlife, how long you will spend with them depends entirely on your own interest and whether you attend any of the talks or other activities. We recommend you take your time and don't rush through - many of the animals are well camouflaged or like to hide, and it can take a bit of searching to find them!
On average, visitors tend to take about 45 minutes to go around the aquarium once (but remember you can come and go as often as you like for a week with your ticket!) Some stay only for this amount of time, others spend the entire day on site.
Talks, feeds and other activities usually take between 20-40 minutes each, and you’ll find schedules of these in the aquarium. There are usually at least 3 talks every day. We do extra activities especially during school holidays, and staff members are always happy to tell you more about the creatures you see in the tanks or point out ones you might have missed!
Is the site suitable for wheelchairs?
Yes! The only steps in the building are those to access the pier tank from above, which can also be seen from a different angle below, and those to access the top deck in the Café. A ramp leads to the entrance. We also have a wheelchair available to borrow from our admissions. For more information, see our Access Statement.
Can I bring my dog?
Dogs are allowed on site outside but unfortunately not inside the building, apart from assistance dogs. You are welcome to leave your dog in one of our dog pens outside to keep your pet cool in hot weather. The pens have a water bowl and a freshwater tap is available – you can also borrow a padlock from the admissions for a £5 deposit. Owners are responsible for their dogs at all times.
Do you have picnic tables?
Yes, we have outdoor picnic tables so you can bring your own lunch! During the summer some of these will be under a marquee tent away from the rain.
When are the fish being fed?
At least one of our aquarium tanks is usually fed each day during the summer, along with a talk about the species in question. This does not require booking in advance. Please note that most aquarium species eat a lot less during colder
weather, so some feeds may not take place at certain times of year. The feeds and times are displayed on signs at our Admissions and at the Food Prep area. During busy periods it’s advisable to be at the talk about 5-10 minutes in advance to ensure good view.
Where are your sharks?
We get this question quite a lot! We have 2 species of British sharks - Smallspotted catsharks (Scyliorhinus canicula) and Bull huss (Scyliorhinus stellaris, also known as Nursehound.) These are bottom-living nocturnal predators, so during the day you're most likely to spot them napping along the sides of our Shark & Ray Pool, unless they're being fed. Look under the grids under your feet as you're walking round and you'll be able to spot them! Juvenile catsharks are on display in smaller separate tanks in the aquarium. We do not keep large shark species for animal welfare reasons.
What discounts are available?
- Group discounts are available to 10+ paying visitors (ticket valid for 1 day)
- Children under 3 years old are free of charge
- Blue Peter badge holders get in for free, just remember to bring your badge and card!
- 1 carer gets in for free per paying disabled person (must have a valid ID)
- Click here for more information about other admissions discounts.
To enquire about other discounts, please call 01248 430 411 or ask at our Admissions. Please note that Sea Life vouchers are not valid here as we are not part of the Sea Life Centres chain.
Are you open in the winter?
We're closed to the public for winter maintenance from December until the start of February half term, but will still be open for group bookings. For up to date season dates, please check our opening times! To enquire about a group booking in the winter, please call 01248 430 411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that we may take slightly longer to get back to you if you contact us during the winter maintenance season.
Can you donate raffle prizes for charity?
Yes we can! For raffle prize requests, please email email@example.com.