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.
*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.
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!