The area along the Thames in front of County Hall is, unfortunately, becoming a bit of a busy and somewhat tacky tourist area. This is unfortunate, but possibly inevitable, and is rapidly evolving into the more depressing cheap and shabby areas like South Street Seaport in New York and Fisherman’s Wharf (Pier 39) in San Francisco. Gone is the Dali permanent exhibition and Saatchi art exhibitions and now there is Movie themed and horror house type attractions. Along with low price fast food, and a very busy McDonald.
In here too is the Aquarium. It has been open some years and recently been more active in promoting itself. I had heard mixed things and so was interested to go.
Overall it is a fairly entertaining few hours visit, and certainly the young children (aged 6 and 9) we went with found it fun, engaging, interesting and not too long. In fact a few hours went by and I did not realise until we left quite how long we had spent in there. So that must mean something positive.
I think it is a fairly good but not exceptional or world leading aquarium. But that is probably me just having been spoilt from getting to see some more ocean based and mega funded aquariums over the years on my travels where they have more “trophy” catches for the marginally sea life interested patron like me. There is a wide range of fish and tanks which are structured and show the type of fish life through the various oceans and areas of the world. For me, the most impressive was the tank with the sharks in (but that is maybe the adult in me). The children were as happy, if not even happier, to spend time looking at the Sea Horses and multi coloured fish of all sizes from around the world where they could get up close and view them in their smaller tanks.
The place is very dark, as they have a good selection of deep sea fish and well laid out. There are clearly a lot of people in there at any one time, but although felt busy did not get too crowded. They have people giving talks and explaining hr fish and how they were acquired, and these are worth joining (I found out some interesting facts, and finding out one fairly large but what seemed unremarked fish was worth at least £250000 and is very rare and came to them from being confiscated at Heathrow when someone was trying o smuggle it in , added to the interest and story of the place).
There is a “fact finding” scratch card they give to children with 9 questions and that also got us and them engaged, and they got a nice medal at the end if completed and correct.
Overall a good day out. But nice visited not sure would go back, but I would recommend it to anyone visiting.
Watch the video I took of the area around the Aquarium: