The lovely people at Exploris kindly provided us with tickets to try out the new and improved Aquarium in Portaferry. It is Northern Ireland’s only aquarium which reopened after a £2m refurbishment, having been closed for almost two years. It was also threatened with complete closure back in 2013 but thankfully it remains open.
Exploris is located in County Down in the lovely little town of Portaferry. We decided to take our boys there as we haven’t been in many years – since the boys were very young. Our day started by getting the ferry from Strangford over to Portaferry. The boys were extremely excited but so was I – it was a big adventure as we normally don’t travel by ferry unless we’re going on summer holidays.
We visited Exploris during the Easter holidays so it was pretty busy but there was still plenty of room to get a good look at all the fish with staff available to answer any and all queries that we had! Our boys were thrilled to see the sharks and be able to get up really close and personal.
They were also delighted to see the new reptile section with snakes and alligators. This is a welcome addition as the boys would watch Steve Backshall in Deadly 60, so seeing these animals up close was a welcome surprise.
At the time we were visiting we also got to see a baby sea otter being fed. Of course this attracted quite a crowd but our boys are so tall they could see fine! Another favourite was getting to see the seals swimming especially when they came really close to the glass-sided tank.
No visit to Exploris is complete without taking time to have a hot chocolate in the restaurant. While it was busy, there was no waiting time as staff were very quick at serving.
I have no hesitation in recommending Exploris for kids of any age and with lots of other things to do nearby it is the ideal place to visit as part of your day out exploring Portaferry and the surrounding areas.