Underwater is a fascinating, colourful and tranquil world with the promise of still unexplored realms. A trip to one of London's two aquariums gives you a taste of this watery world, bringing you a unique opportunity to explore marine life from the world's oceans and coastlines. Aquariums are also centres of expertise for marine management, education and conservation, so you can enjoy your visit knowing that you are helping to safeguard the future of the oceans and their inhabitants. London's two aquariums are the Sea Life Aquarium and the aquarium housed in the ZSL London Zoo.
The Sea Life Aquarium has over fifty displays of underwater life contained in 2 million litres of water and is one of the largest in the world. At this aquarium you can meet over 500 different species, from sharks of all sizes to funny penguins and hungry piranhas! Visitors of all ages will jump at the chance to get to feed stingrays, watch diving displays, as well as handle crabs and lobsters. The 14 themed zones are set over three floors and contain plenty of interactive and informative exhibits each one with something new to learn. Look out for the funny Gentoo penguins enjoying their icy Antarctic world, or the mysterious courtship dances of sea dragons in the Sea Dragon exhibition.
The aquarium at London Zoo is divided into three halls which are home to Freshwater, Coral Reef and Amazonian Fish. Hall One features freshwater environments from around the world, such as flooded bamboo forests, a Madagascar river and British rock pools. The last contains the weird and ethereal pink sea fans. The Coral Reef exhibit is home to some of the most beautiful fish in the aquarium. Children will recognise the timid regal tang as the character Dory from Finding Nemo. The Amazonian Tank is the largest in the aquarium and home to several stingray as well as shoals of piranha. Piranha, with their sharp teeth and love of meat, have a reputation for being aggressive, but are in fact, shy and timid fish who swim in shoals for protection rather than hunting.
Both aquariums have informative and educational websites detailing their opening hours, location and special events, such as Being a Marine Biologist for a Day and Behind the Scenes Tours. The Sea Life Aquarium is housed in the old County Hall building, which is next to the London Eye on the banks of the River Thames. London Zoo is located in Regent's Park and is just a short walk from Camden Town and Regent's Park underground stations. For best value tickets to both aquariums look for pre-book offers online and don't forget to pick up a map on your way in to get the most out of your visit, and to make sure you don't miss activities and feeding times.