Oceanarium - Bournemouth

Aquarium, Business Service, Gift Shop, Tourism, Vacances, Zoos and Aquariums



Pier Approach, Bournemouth, BH2 5AA

+44 1202 311993




Based on 201 reviews.


Agregated reviews (201) Oceanarium - Bournemouth

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The Oceanarium on Bournemouth seafront was opened in 1998. I have been promising myself a visit since then which happened on the 26th March 2018. I have to say after visiting the Sea Life Centre in Bangkok, Thailand this was nothing compared to that venue. The covered walkway was quite narrow in the Bournemouth venue compared to the Bangkok one. The sizes of the the tanks were small compared to Thailand, I would go as far as to say they were really far too small. The Otter display was a disappointment, they were sunning themselves outside and could not be seen clearly from the walkway. The Penguins seemed almost bored and lifeless many even refusing food when the feeding display was on. The day I went they had an offer on for half price for local OAP’s at £5.25 each. I have to say if I had paid the full amount I would certainly have been disappointed.
It advertises ~ This venue offers all visitors a journey around the waters of the world! 10 recreated environments include the Amazon, Key West, the Mediterranean, Abyss, and the Great Barrier Reef. Another attraction called the Oceanarium’s interactive feature and launched in June 2008, Global Meltdown, looks into the possible effects of global warming. Visitors are transported to an imaginery time in the future when sea levels could have risen to such an extent that tropical fish and sharks swim through the streets of London or Britain. Displays illustrate to visitors the effects of peoples actions may have on ocean levels and allows them to record personal pledges to reduce their carbon footprint via a special interactive video pledge wall.
The Oceanarium gets in excess of 225,000 visitors per year and in November 2008, the Oceanarium was announced as Tourism Attraction Experience of the Year at Bournemouth’s annual Tourism Awards. The attraction is owned by Spanish leisure giant Parques Reunidos, who operate 67 parks across the world. Parques Reunidos UK parks comprise Oceanarium, Blackpool Zoo, and Lakes Aquarium ( formerly Aquarium of the Lakes ).
The Oceanarium displays are situated on two floors with lift access, as well as stair access. Wide passageways are throughout the displays for ease of access. There are some steps within the Oceanarium but all of these are clearly marked and alternative routes are available. Disabled toilet facilities, the Offshore Café and Cove gift shop are all located on the ground floor.
The Oceanarium is open daily from 10am throughout the year, except Christmas Day.

3 by Gordon Knowles Review source

Great value for the price and the perfect size to keep a toddler interested. Great location by the beach with easy parking at the BIC. They have a cafe and souvenir shop and a souvenir penny machine at the end.

Discounts are available if you buy tickets online in advance and you can even buy you meal from the cafe at the same time.

You'll get a stamp on your hand so you can come in and out all day. You'll be given a list of feeding times on entry. There is also a little booklet you can pick up at the bottom on the entrance stairs with questions for kinds to answer.

If you decide you want a season ticket they are very reasonably priced and you can upgrade your day ticket to a season ticket. There are 3 types of season ticket depending on what days you want to be able to go.

4 by Becca Fripp Review source

Had a pleasant visit here on Sunday. Entered at 3pm and took 2hrs to walk round watching the various feeds on at the time. Quite a heavy emphasis on conservation which is good. Annoyed to see people using flash on various aquatic creatures.

The price was reasonable around (£12 per adult) considering the high cost of running an aquarium - I have visited another of similar size at similar price.

The visit could be improved with a general bit of a clean up most of the aquarium was fine but the worrying and large leak at the very end as you exit leaves a lasting impression. Also the café was small of course the building is a historic part of the seafront so I don't know if this could be helped.

4 by Dylan Milne Review source

The aquarium enjoys an excellent position on the sea front and you can see the beach from Windows as you walk around. It's not as large as a Sea Life Centre, although they have still packed a lot of animals in. There's a strong emphasis on conservation as you walk around; as a result, I've started washing my clothes at 30 degrees to save more penguins - play the interactive game in the 2nd to last room to see what I mean! There's a reasonably priced cafe attached with outdoor and indoor seating on the promenade. All in all, theres about 2-3 hours of entertainment here. Not bad for when it starts to rain outside! My wife and I have joined as Gold members as we live locally.

5 by Douglas Easton Review source

The access is very awkward for pushchairs as there is only one lift and if you leave the pushchair in the pushchair park upstairs, good luck retrieving it. We found there was very little viewing space around the main tank for the feeding displays, even with it being out of season. We don't know what the legal minimum size of a tank/enclosure is but some seem very small for the size and number of creatures in them, especially the main tank. The view from the tunnel under the main tank was good despite the number of people in there. Otherwise, the other exhibitions were disappointing.

1 by Review source

Me and my boyfriend visited very recently whilst on holiday and enjoyed ourselves. The staff are friendly, and there's plenty of feeding times for many of the different animals such as Otters, Penguins, e.t.c throughout the day. Additionally, they stamp your hand which means you can come and go all day, which for a price of £10.50 or something close to that you can't argue.
However, I would say that this place is definitely more for kids than adults, but in a way that's a given :) All in all I would recommend coming here for something to do for an hour or two.

3 by Becky Charters Review source

Not a bad visit. I do feel that the admission price is a bit much. Going through the tour it does look like the facility is poorly maintained. If you visit during mid afternoon you may even catch the time where they feed the fish in their 'barrier reef' section which does have two turtles, sharks and more.

The staff members were very helpful and polite, although the staff that were feeding the fish in the big tank seemed to lack enthusiasm and professionalism - not great for the kids, which there was a few at the time of my visit.

3 by Alex Madrid Review source

Spent 1 hour here with the kids, not bad as the price was 50% of for locals but very crowded and annoying as kids don't have space because the adults are more curious to see than the kids. My message to parents it's clear, can you back of a bit and let the kids watch the penguins and turtles being fed? My little boy was pushed away by a grown-up which is rediculos. I will not recommend you going here at the weekend or bank holidays its rediculos busy and very little space not pleasant when someone breathing is on your back nonstop.

4 by Marius Meciar Review source

Went to the Oceanarium last week as we had a few hours to kill in the area. Didn’t regret it! Got there in time to watch the turtles and the penguins get fed, both of which were quite fascinating! It was out of tourist season so the place wasn’t too busy but we enjoyed those few hours we spent there. It’s not massive so a couple of hours should be enough but if you have kids, you might need more. Your ticket is valid all day so you can always go somewhere else for lunch or something then go back to watch the different feedings.

5 by Anita Benko Review source

Huh. What can I say? Fish are nice, this place is not. It's very small. Most of the tanks are very dirty or full of scratches. The tunnel tank is very outdated, full of scratches, transparency is limited. The penguin area is smelling like... I don't know, really hard to spend 2 minutes there because it is so stinky. Penguin tank is full of algae, from the bottom you can see almost nothing. I think, the people who gave 5 star for this, never been any other place like this. Worst oceanarium I've ever seen/been.

2 by Chris Review source

I loved it, it was very educational and had a lot about the effects of climate change and how we could help. The penguin feeding was adorable and the person giving the talk was very knowledgeable. The deep sea bit was so exciting and so were the turtles! The only downside for me was that it said online there were seahorses but I couldn’t find them. There was pipefish though! And starfish too. I loved all the different areas like Africa, Florida keys etc. I would like to return when the India bit is back open. Great aquarium.

5 by Sophie HalaKahiki Review source

firstly, overpriced.. should of been 7 pounds maximum for each ticket. secondly, where ever you went a foul odour followed you.. a kind of dead fish smell... horrible. also, cramped conditions.. not just for the paying visitors but also the poor fish / sea creatures. those giant beautiful turtles swimming around in a paddling pool sized area was sad to see. had high hopes for this place, seeing as it situated in such a nice location... but honestly would have been better not going, shame. waste of 25 quid

1 by Review source

This is a very good sized Oceanarium with plenty of sea life to learn about. There are feeding time opportunities and challenges for kids to do as they go round the different sections. It can get very cramped here but there is lots to look at so you don't get impatient. The staff are enigmatic and care about the work they do, remaining enthusiastic when telling you about each species. As expected, there is a well stocked gift shop, and the onsite cafe offers a good variety of food choices.

4 by Leigh Strong Review source

A great day out right in the middle of a bustling tourist town. Lots of wonderful tanks packed with information about the fish, a reptile section, beautiful and playful otters, even a bird enclosure you can walk through. If you're local an annual ticket is well worth it, though it's by calendar year so best to buy early on. Cafe quite expensive, not very tidy and rather small. The snack bar is far better, with friendlier staff and a small children's play area.

4 by Entorien Scriber Review source

Been to many aquariums and I can say far and away this one was the best so far and that is mainly because of the happy, healthy animals and fish! Good sized exhibits with lovely specimens, we went round twice and were mesmerised by the turtles and sturgeons. The penguins and terns were cheeky and entertaining. Amazingly large axolotls and beautiful catfish, just to mention a few of my favourites. Cheaper than your average aquarium and well worth it.

5 by Review source

I didnt expect there to be such an amazing wide range of sea life. We went to bournmouth not really planning a visit just went in as it was 2 for 1 on the day we went. I didnt know how to feel about this place. Walking round was amazing but the size of the spaces for the animals it not big enough. I was amazed as I didnt no turtles of that size could be in captivity. Allthough it was incredible I did feel very guilty the tanks where to small.q

3 by Review source

What a place to go to!! My kids loved it. I loved it. Lots of information so you can learn all about the different animals they have. Feeding times are brilliant. Listening to them talking about the turtles and sharks. Love the fact you can leave and come back all day. So a quick sneak off to the beach. Then back for the feedings. The yearly tickets are perfect. Makes it worth coming any day all year round. We will be back again soon!!

5 by Mark Cadle Review source

Nice little aquarium by the sea side. Will be a good place to spend couple of hours away if you are unfortunate to face rain when you are by the beach. Not taking anything away from the place though. Kids will enjoy . Decent size Cafe , could be better. There is a decent size play area to keep them occupied.Overall it's worth visiting if you are planning to spend the day at the beach and looking for a break for kids from waters.

4 by Review source

A fantastic way to spend a few hours and for the whole experience of seeing such majestic creatures from far away places in a town near you, I think it is remarkable value for money, loggerhead turtles, black tip reef sharks gliding through the waters above you in the underwater tunnel, penguins and piranhas through to sting rays and otters, brilliantly helpful staff with plenty of time for questions about the animals. 10/10

5 by Nigel Williams Review source

Despite the crowds at the weekends and the amount of pushchairs (even though there's a buggy parking place) it's a very lovely place. It's calming if you have anxieties, it's educational, exciting and makes you conscious of the environment.
The food is great and worth the price in my opinion.

All in all, this makes for a great date, family day out, educational trip or just a time filler.

5 by Review source

Was much smaller than I had anticipated. We went towards the end of the day so we pretty much had the place ourselves. The cafe area was nice and we managed to have our food with nice views of the beach to look at. Staff were very friendly and approachable and didn't put pressure on us to end our tour quickly as they were closing. All in all a good little visit but definitely not as big as I had thought it would be.

3 by Review source

Great aquarium. Nice and clean with a lot to see. Very well laid out and it also has an excellent soft play type area where parents can sit and watch the penguins dive while children play. The cafe is good although does get VERY busy so don't rely on it for lunch/coffee. Best place to park is the BIC multistory car park which is a short walk away (pay and display or app so take change!!).

4 by Amy McCormick Review source

Good for the footprint but a tad expensive. Unless you take it really slow and hang around for every feeding you could probably get through it within 30-40 minutes. If you've got little one's even quicker! Deff worth extending your visit by getting them to play in the play area near the penguins whilst you have a coffee.

Look out for offers before going.

3 by Matt Baker Review source

The staff here are absolutely great and went above and beyond to help us out when I made a mistake with the tickets and didn't make it seems like I did anything wrong at all. Amazing personalities, really seemed like they loved it there and wanted us to enjoy the day! The place itself was nice enough and the food is good there. The talks are definitely worth a watch.

5 by Sunny Silver Alloy Review source

When we come to Bournemouth for our summer holiday, my kids always want to come here. And at £24(ish) for a family ticket it's good value. There are some awesome things to see in here. It's not huge but there is enough. For your day ticket you can come and go as many times as you like in a day......handy for a rainy beach day. We'll be back next year again.

5 by Darrell Moreira Review source

Very nice aquarium, over a little bit too quickly and I do wish they would stop catering so much to little kids because the ones we saw there were so uninterested in the exhibits, so it would have been nice to read up a bit more on the fish and have more detailed information sheets.
Other than that it is definitely worth a visit and I was not disappointed.

4 by Gareth Holenstein Review source

I love this aquarium even though we live in plymouth (where the national marine aquarium is) it is worth the trip. My son really enjoyed it too. Its not very big but the animals are amazing. The only thing is that the main pool needs to be updated as its showing signs of old age and damage, however i still enjoy it all the same. Staff are friendly and helpful.

5 by Lorna Markillie Review source

Great value for money and absolutely amazing animals! As a turtle/tortoise lover, I was not disappointed when seeing the sea turtles. The penguins were an unexpected surprise but Ioved how close then got and how interested they were in me.

In depth facts are provided on the animals and a green screen souvenir photo is available.

5 by Eve Williams Review source

A fun 2 hours of entertainment for young children.
A nice mix of animals; penguins, otters, reptiles and a wide variety of tropical fish including large sharks and turtles.
A small cafe inside and gift shop.
Buy tickets online/on your phone, even for the same day, to save money.
Very useful for a cold or rainy day.

5 by Paul Harrow Review source

I got there with my wife,paid just 18 pounds for the both of us
Fantastic experience,so many interesting creatures,i am surprised that the staff can do so much,everi every was clean,mammals and fishes fishes looked well kept,nothing amiss.
I would definitely return there,i believe itsi a must see for kids and adults alike.

5 by Cristian B Review source

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