A post unrelated to music, what’s going on? Here is a review (sort of) of the London Aquarium.
I love aquariums, I’ve been to a few this year. Hastings aquarium, Brighton Sealife Centre, Boston Aquarium, New York Aquarium aaaaand most recently (today) London Aquarium. I like to think I know a bit about sealife centres and aqauriums. Last year I did 2 weeks work experience at Brighton Sealife Centre. I had a fantastic time.
Backstory: At Brighton Sealife Centre I was part of the ‘entertainments’ team, I helped customers, did a couple of rockpool talks, cleaned stuff, and fed animals. It was so much fun. The staff and guests were lovely. The Brighton Sealife Centre has this one room which is particularly impressive, it boasts a huge tank that holds thousands of litres of water, dozens of coral fish, 2 sea turtles and some sharks. At the end of my work experience I got to hand feed Lulu, their giant sea turtle. I also got to feed Dottie, the Zebra Shark, which was amazing. I got to stroke her face. She is seriously the cutest thing ever (go see her right now!). Because Zebra sharks have their teeth so far back in their mouth it’s perfectly safe to stroke their faces. While at the Sealife centre I learnt alot about the fish and especially the crabs (damn those evil Velvet crabs and their strong pincers). I also gained a huge amount of love for sea creatures.
Whiiiiich brings me up to today. I went to the London Aquarium, which is located about 5 minutes from Westminster tube station. It would have been too easy for me to get the tube, so I decided to walk all the way across London in the freezing cold to get there. I had to queue outside for about 10 minutes before I went in. A student ticket costed me £10.25, they said it was reduced by a pound because some of their exhibits were ‘under construction’. It didn’t take me long to realise that pretty much the whole place could be classified as ‘under construction’.
Earlier today I learnt that London Aquarium has been acquisitioned by super group Merlin Entertainments, who own the ‘Sealife Centre’ brand. I think this could potentially be a very good thing, once the whole place is rebranded I think it will be much more spectacular than it currently is.
The aquarium had quite a few displays, but to be honest, the place looked like a dump. The displays were ugly, seemingly little or no thought had been put into them. The lighting in the tanks could have been utilised much better, to make different areas of the aquarium more exciting. The giant tank was plain, there was just a rock in the shape of a face in the middle, the walls were bare and unattractive. The signs on the walls were old and dated and didn’t convey the interesting information in an easily accessible way. I figure these faults will all (hopefully) improve once the place is refurbished and rebranded. So, ugliness aside, I set about looking at the fish. There was no touch pool due to the redevelopment, which meant I only got to see one giant ray in the big tank. I hope they get some Undulate Rays before my next visit. No crabs either. No octopus. Only a few upside down jellyfish. I was pleased to see they had a Zebra shark, I enjoyed watching that for a while. They had a nice lionfish display which I enjoyed. The terrapin display was also popular. There were the obligatory clown fish/angel fish/little tropical fishes tanks. It took me an hour to walk round and look at everything. Feeling dissatisfied I walked around again for another hour. I would like to see some tropical frogs next time. There was a fun Stonefish exhibit, well it was fun for me. Stonefish are really good at camouflaging themselves (like stones) so it was fun trying to spot all four in the tank.
So to conclude, I would say wait a few months if you plan on visiting the London Aquarium. I had a good time because I like fish, but it could have been better. When I got to the end of the exhibit I heard one lady say “was that it?” I echoed her sentiment. However, for a central London attraction I thought it was quite reasonably priced. But for a big city aqaurium, London Aquarium can’t even hold a candle to the Boston or New York aquariums. Boston Aquarium is seriously amazing though, it had penguins and jellyfish and an absolutely massive tank that was really very impressive. I wish Boston aquarium was in walking distance. I think I would love to be the head of Marketing at the London Aquarium right now, it must be alot of fun rebranding a place.