The only aquarium in the Channel Islands has been refurbished throughout to create a unique, authentic attraction and venue, with a new focus on local marine fish and life. Re-branded as The Aquarium, Guernsey’s new underwater experience is housed in tunnels used by the Germans during the Occupation years as a store.
While I’d already ascertained that the aquarium would be on our planned walking route along the island’s coastline prior to taking our cruise on the Sapphire Princess I hadn’t checked the opening times (mostly because we hadn’t intended to visit it) and wasn’t certain that it would be open with it being fairly early in the tourist season and a Sunday. As it turns out, the aquarium opens daily from 10:00 until 17:00.
Upon entry and payment (£5 each for adults, £3 for children (not that there were any of those things with us)) we first noticed the sign above the nearest of the numerous fish tanks.
As previously quoted from the official website, Guernsey Aquarium boasts that it is the world’s only tunnel aquarium, used by Germans during the Second World War. Okay, that’s a pretty niche claim but I suppose a little bit of that sort of marketing doesn’t hurt.
As the aquarium has a fair bit of focus on local fish as opposed to more exotic, tropical sorts there was a slightly different feel to this aqaurium than others we’ve visited (and we do tend to visit a lot). My wife started remarking as she moved from tank to tank along one of the tunnels how tasty some of the fish looked and wondered if the building moonlighted as a seafood restaurant.
Some of the fish tanks were quite quirky with decor that included sea mines or action figures and there were some animatronic additions such as clams that would open and release bubbles. Sadly, the curse of aquariums and their low light requiring me to take photos at high ISO prevented any of the pictures of clams and bubbles from being good enough to share.
The aquarium isn’t the largest one or the most impressive one you’ll ever visit but it’s not that expensive and it was good to get out of the sun for a bit while we were there (we also bought a raspberry slushie in the gift shop to try to rehydrate a little bit and gave ourselves the lasting memory of a huge sugar rush and ice headaches). It won’t take you long to look around what it has to offer but I think it’s worth a nose, especially if you’ve got kids who like these sorts of places.