|Rays at The Deep|
If this phrase prompts dramatic music to chime in your ears, and conjures images of Captain Barnacles and his crew in their fleet of aquatic vehicles, then you're probably the parent of a young child who would love to visit The Deep.
With one such four-year-old, I was delighted to be offered the chance to visit and review the award-winning aquarium in Hull by MoneySupermarket.com's vouchers site for family days out and days out discounts.
|Checking out the lagoon|
Home to over 3,500 fish, including spectacular sharks and rays, It's designed like a ship, but in a stylish, not gimmicky way. No fake portholes framing posters of tropical beaches here. From the moment you're handed your entrance ticket, the same shape, size and feel to a rail ticket, there is a sense of subtle authenticity, as though you really could be on a large ferry. And nothing supports this more than the building's fabulous location. Right on the edge of the Humber Estuary, the building juts out over the sea so that from its observatory cafe, where your tour begins and ends, you can look out over panoramic views of the sea at the point where two rivers meet it.
But, as the name suggests, it's as you travel downwards underground that the journey to the deep really begins.
Our young charge was keen to skip through the first series of exhibits - well laid out along gently declining walkways. They focused on the history of the planet, suggesting it would be more appropriately named Sea rather than Earth.
|Trying to splat jellyfish!|
At the bottom of the walkway our son was happy to stop and explore. Here was a huge lagoon teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes. There was also a projected image of a rock pool on the floor, where jellyfish ran off-screen unless you were quick enough to jump on them and splat them.
|Garden eels - the meerkats of the sea world!|
Next it was a hall of slime, with tanks of snails, frogs and eels, before we reached another giant tank where we saw a live demonstration of a diver feeding the inhabitants.
All around us, throughout the tour there were clever and easy-to-use interactive tools for learning more about science and nature. Because the exhibition is underground, natural daylight is barred in place of a blue, underwater feel, and sound is used a lot to create atmosphere and add to the experience.
|At the helm of the ship - looking out from the observatory to sea|
My little boy said he particularly liked the 'flat ones' (rays) and that there was nothing bad about our trip, he liked all of it. My husband contrasted it with the Scarborough Sea Life Centre, which we've been to a couple of times, which has an outdoor area with penguins, otters and seals. This makes it a different experience - more that of a zoo, getting up close and personal with the creatures, with all the mess and smell that goes with it. At The Deep, because everything is behind glass, there is more of a clean, museum-like feel. His favourite aspect was the sense of being on a ship, and on the misty day we visited he said that looking down at the sea below he had the sense of being on a becalmed vessel, waiting for the foghorn to sound.
|A swordfish having a snooze!|
If you fancy a trip to The Deep or a
family day out anywhere, try www.moneysupermarket.com/vouchers/?all
For more information on The Deep, visit www.thedeep.co.uk
|Outside The Deep|