Head to Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula south of Belfast for Exploris, Northern Ireland’s fun and unique aquarium.
A visit to Exploris will be educational but as it’s so much fun the kids won’t notice the amount of information they’re taking in! Starting at Strangford Lough Hall, there are tanks representing various environments found within this important sea loch. Species include assorted fish, prawns, mussels, spider crabs and a soft coral known as dead man’s fingers.
Open Sea Tank
The Open Sea Tank, contrary to its name, isn’t outside. The “Open” part of its name refers to the sea rather than its actual location. This truly spectacular tank is actually in a cave and can be viewed from a bridge above or windows below. The tank houses species that commercial fishermen pursue, like cod, halibut, rays, sharks and conger eels. Don’t miss the divers feeding the fish at specified times!
The Exploris website (see further information below) lists all the special events that are arranged at Exploris throughout the calendar year. As well as the normal day to day events such as feeding times and live talks, this includes seasonal and one-off events such as “Seal Week” during which time the centre enjoys a week of seal-filled fun. At Christmastime Santa comes to Exploris for the weekend and you can meet him if you plan your visit for the same time.
Throughout the day, demonstrations are held at various Discovery Pools. These demonstrations show visitors the variety of marine creatures that are close to hand and help children to appreciate and understand more about the natural world around them. Exploris lets you see and appreciate an underwater world usually confined to the pages of text books.
Highlight of the Day
Visiting the Seal Sanctuary.
Nearest train station : Belfast
Car parking : On site and free!
Website : www.exploris.org.uk