What is it?
It’s an aquarium located on Towan Beach in Newquay, Cornwall. The Sat Nav postcode is TR7 1DU but for the nearest town centre parking (Manor Road Car Park) use TR7 1JQ.
Babies / Toddlers & Preschool
5 – 8 / 9 – 12. It may not be exciting enough to interest older children or children who aren’t interested in marine life or animals.
£££ – On the door, standard tickets cost £10. Juniors between the ages of 3 – 12 years cost £7.75. Under 3’s go free. You’ll save some money if you book online in advance. A family ticket and annual membership passes are also available.
What’s on offer
Not only is Newquay Aquarium conscious of conservation efforts, it mostly acts as an interesting attraction for families with an interest in sea life. It’s a small aquarium, but still does the job.
There are more than 40 fascinating exhibits with all natural themes, to make a comfortable habitat for the giant octopi, turtles, sharks and other exciting sea creatures that take residence at Blue Reef. If you’d rather take a swim down 42 Wallaby Lane, you could always check out the brand new Finding Nemo tank, which was designed for younger visitors and is perfect for fans of the movie. (Who isn’t a fan of Finding Nemo?)
One of the best bits about Newquay’s Blue Reef is the amazing underwater tunnel, which is home to the coral reef exhibit, but you can walk right under it and see the stingrays, puffer fish and countless other species swim overhead. It’s sure to be a magical experience for little ones.
Keep an eye on the official daily talks and feeding timetable, so you can plan your visit accordingly.
As with all attractions, there is the Blue Reef Café and a marine gift shop filled with cuddly toys and other souvenirs.
Facilities-wise, the aquarium is very child-friendly. Steps are available for tiny tots who want to climb up to see the fish swimming in their tanks. There are accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities. Baby food and feed warming facilities are also available – just ask a member of staff for more details. Lost children can be announced for via the PA system and first aiders are always on hand. It’s also pushchair accessible.
It’s indoors – so it’s ideal for miserable or drizzly days. It’s well presented and for the aquarium’s small size, there’s so much to see! A variety of unusual and interesting sea creatures, the Finding Nemo tank and the underwater tunnel are perfect, especially for little children who will no doubt be in awe.
Your ticket gets you entry throughout the whole day, so if your hand has been stamped you can come and go as you please, which is a small bonus – especially if you want to go for a slap up lunch somewhere other than the café, or enjoy a picnic nearby.
What to watch out for
- The Blue Reef Aquarium cannot be held responsible for anything to do with the car parks located nearby, as it does not own them. Visitors use them at their own discretion.
- Don’t let your children touch any of the fish, unless otherwise instructed by a trained staff member. If they do for whatever come into contact with one of the creatures, please get them to immediately wash their hands with the wash facilities in the toilets.
- Many reviewers on TripAdvisor think that the aquarium is too small and very costly given the lack of entertainment and how long you’ll spend there. They also feel that its nothing special in comparison to bigger aquariums. Please bear this in mind before you visit.
- Beware of queuing on those miserable, drizzly days or even when it’s pouring down, as it will be a popular choice for many families looking to be entertained whilst the weather is bed.
- Anyone over 12 is charged the standard ticket. Keep this in mind if you’re holidaying with teenagers, especially since there’s nothing here for them.
- There’s will not be enough information on the displays for some families.
- Want to visit the Blue Reef Aquarium but can’t get to Cornwall? There’s one in the North East of England in Tynemouth, plus additional aquariums at Portsmouth and Hastings.
- Don’t plan a full day here. You’ll need two hours at a push. Make a day of your animal adventure with a trip to Newquay Zoo or Dairyland Farmworld. Either that or go for an attraction that’ll keep you occupied all day – by visiting Eden Project or Lappa Valley Railway Station.
- Alternatively, if the weather’s good, spend an hour here and then hit the nearby Fistral Beach (if the tide is low). Have a picnic or stroll through Newquay town centre and enjoy a nice pub lunch.
- Vouchers, vouchers, vouchers. You can exchange Tesco Clubcard points for vouchers to the aquarium. Look in tourist brochures in hotels, attractions and train stations. Sometimes, local papers will offer discounts. Always check online for vouchers and one TripAdvisor user reports that the Blue Reef itself has a leaflet containing discounts – so be alert!
What the owners say
“Over 40 living displays reveal the sheer variety of life in the deep; from tropical sharks and lobsters to seahorses and tropical fish.
At the aquarium’s heart is the ocean tank where an underwater walk-through tunnel offers incredibly close encounters with the stunning beauty of a tropical coral reef – home to hundreds of colourful fish, tropical sharks in all shapes and sizes and Omiros the rescued loggerhead turtle.”
Where else to visit in Cornwall?