Aquariums are not only like a giant colourful museum, but they are also an amazing place of education for children. We recently visited one of the best aquariums in the UK for kids: The Deep, Hull, England. So, if you live near or are planning a visit to the East of England, make sure you have this incredible aquarium on your itinerary.
Are Aquariums Fun to Visit?
There is just something spectacular about aquariums. I am not sure whether it’s the beautiful, bright & tropical fish swimming against the rolling blue backdrops, or the mystery and wonder of the animals lurking in the deepest corners of the large, dark pools, but my children were both captivated and inspired by all of the exhibits in The Deep. We made a little Instagram Reel about our lovely visit, which you can see here.
Are Sea Life Centres Interactive?
As a mother to 4, the thing I look out for the most when searching for a family attraction, is the interactivity and how engaging my children will find it. I check the website of the aquarium or museum and find the link that says “things to do” to give myself an understanding of what we can expect when we are there. We found The Deep in Hull to be possibly the most interactive aquarium we have ever been to. Shh! We have been to some in the past where we have felt like the local garden centre was a better day out… However, I can really recommend The Deep for the opportunity for the children to get involved.
There were a lot of digitally interactive stations, with fact finding, games, quiz wheels, educational video snippets and more. We were also thrilled with the sensory stations, too. As you know, Sylvester is our sensory seeker so he loved the ice-wall, the giant spinning globes, the interactive floor AND the fossil digging. Above, Sylvester is holding a giant coral, which we said resembled a huge ear! We got to look at 3 pieces of real coral and compare them.
Are Aquariums Educational?
When you visit an aquarium, you want to feel like you have learned something, for sure. We found The Deep in Hull to be really educationally valuable as they have really thought about their customers (children!). Lots of museums and parks we have visited don’t cater well for young kids, as there are simply signs with paragraphs of information. However, at The Deep, there are many ways for children to access information, not just by reading. There are multiple choice quizzes, as well as short videos and live talks. Benedykt, 6, had no problem reading their enclosure signage to learn about the species within.
Benedykt & Sylvester Coral Reef Box
The Coral Reef topic box goes hand in hand with a visit to any aquarium. You can get in the mood before your visit, or make more out of your visit by working through the activity pack after, or better still, do what we did and take along your Montessori Learning Tiles with you to see if you can spot the fishes while you are there! The Coral Reef tiles are available only in our Coral Reef topic box. It was another thing that brought the exhibit to life for them, offering them a little bit more of a tactile learning experience.
The Benedykt & Sylvester Montessori Subscription box is a fantastic way to access materials and activities all about a theme or specific topic. In the coral reef box, discover the 3 main types of reef and the species that inhabit them through the use of tactile 3 part wooden Montessori Learning Tiles, a beautiful 9 piece wooden puzzle with real bright coral reef imagery, plus stencils, crafting, colouring and more.
Marine Animals Downloadable Activities
On The Deep’s website, you will also be able to access some FREE educational resources – what a bonus! You can search and download them from here. At The Deep, there are microscopes were you are able to inspect shells and other items up close. This was actually a bonus for us, as my boys had never had the opportunity to use a microscope before. It was lovely to experience this first with them.
Below: we are reading the little snippets of information and peeking through the portholes to see the artefacts from the ocean.
Is The Deep in Hull Value for Money?
You can’t argue with the ticket price for entry into The Deep. For a stand alone visit, with the amount of exhibits, species and things to do, you could spend in excess of 5 hours (with a pitstop for lunch) enjoying the experience. You can see the latest ticket prices here. But what’s the best thing about their tickets? You get FREE additional admission, valid for 365 days from the day of purchase. This means you can go back as many times as you want to get even more value for money. This is PERFECT for home educating families, particularly if you are doing a module on marine animals! If you don’t live close enough to visit that regularly, it’s still worth retaining your tickets and planning to make the journey again since you have a whole year to do it!
What’s the best age to visit an aquarium?
One of the great things about aquariums is how they cater for all ages, and become more and more beneficial the older your children get. We first took Benedykt to an aquarium when he was 6 months old. Babies certainly enjoy all the colours and tracking the fish with their eyes. The Deep was perfect for all the ages of our children, right from Olympia (9 months), who was definitely due a nap after about 30 mins, but she was so exhilarated by all the wonderful sights, she clung on for the entire visit and eventually slept in the car (she didn’t even whinge as we walked around!). Otylia, 2, was just as thrilled with all the sights but in particular it was just great to have all the accessible areas: she got really stuck into the sand, brushing for fossils and she was very interested in feeling the corals. The boys now age 4 & 6 of course got the most out of the experience, as they can now read the information & were also thirsty for the facts. Therefore, for several different reasons, I find you can satisfactorily visit an aquarium with children of any age.
What are the facilities at The Deep?
We found everything we needed during our visit, and we enjoyed the food at the on site restaurant-with-a-sea-view, too. The staff were all very friendly and happy, and the gift shop had a lovely selection of souvenirs too. Even the toilet cubicles are jolly, decorated with bright, colourful marine scenes! One small detail of feedback I would offer The Deep, is to have an outdoor play area for kids. The Deep, like all aquariums is indoor and quite dark, so it would be lovely to be able to sit outside and let the children run about a while before returning inside again to continue the tour around. There is a sea-front area in front of the car park where our children ran about a little bit and took photos before we got back into the car.
Penguins at The Deep in Hull
A few weeks after our visit, I asked the children what they could tell me about their experience The Deep. It’s always best to ask this question a few weeks later, because it allows for a more natural and genuine response. Otylia remembers the penguins well: without a doubt the penguins at The Deep were definitely the children’s favourite experience. We got to the enclosure right on feeding time so it was a brilliant opportunity to watch them swimming to the bank, then hopping out for their lunch.
Sylvester told me that his favourite memory of the aquarium was the sharks. At the time, he was pretty wary about them. They are so mesmerising to watch them slowly stalking around their deep, dark tank. We all stood in awe quietly watching for several moments. Benedykt recalled the icy wall and said he was pretty thrilled to see all the “nemos” (clownfish!).
Our tickets to The Deep in Hull were kindly gifted, but the review here is our genuine opinions and thoughts about our visit. You can find more information about The Deep on their website here.