What is it?

Oceanarium is an aquarium in Bournemouth featuring a shark tunnel, penguin enclosure and cafe plus hundreds of types of fish, birds and mammals.

Where is it?

Oceanarium is in a prime location right on Bournemouth beach next to the town’s main pier. You can step straight off the sand and into the aquarium.

What did we think?

A compact aquarium in a great location and perfect when you need a bit of time indoors if the weather is bad or too hot. It is a bit narrow in places so may be a bit of a squash at busy times. We weren’t overly impressed with the café, it was a bit chaotic, but perhaps we were there at a bad time.

Looking at a fish in a tank at Oceanarium aquarium in Bournemouth


*The Great Barrier Reef – an underwater tunnel you can view from above and then head down the stairs and walk through to see sharks and turtles.

*Kids play zone – this little bonus hidden in the far corner of the site is a small indoor play area and a kiosk selling ice creams. Mainly for children aged two to eight, the equipment gives parents a chance to sit down while their offspring burn off some energy.

*Penguin beach encounter – this is a dry weather activity ideally as it is mostly outdoors although there is a small viewing area undercover. You can see the penguins above ground and view them underwater downstairs in the aquarium.

Our top tips

*The most popular talks are on the hour with shark feeding time at 2pm when we visited, so try and visit then if you can.

*The site emptied at about 3pm when we visited so if you want a bit more space to explore then leave your visit until later in the day.

*If you eat in the Offshore Cafe, be aware that to use the toilet you have to key in a code from your receipt to get in and the keys are hard to press. The cafe was very busy and chaotic when we visited.

Exterior GV of Oceanarium the Aquarium in Bournemouth

Oceanarium, the Bournemouth Aquarium information


*Offshore Cafe serving sandwiches, jacket potatoes and simple children’s meals like cheese on toast plus cakes, snacks, fruit and drinks.

*Bay View Terrace cafe, with views of Bournemouth beach (closed in the winter).

*There’s also an ice cream kiosk at the play area.

Opening hours: open daily from 10am

Cost: Adult £12.50, child £8.50, under 3s free. Family ticket for four £29.95.

Best for: Ages three to eight

Time needed: one hour plus

Access and restrictions: There are lifts available for the two floors. It is narrow in places so wheelchair users would struggle at busy periods although the site is accessible.

Address: Oceanarium, Pier Approach, West Beach, Bournemouth, BH2 5AA.

For a full review of our trip to Bournemouth, click here and see our video below!


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