Belfast & Northern Ireland

Exploris Aquarium

A sunken galleon, friendly sharks and super cute seals all star in NI's re-imagined aquarium.

Nestled on the shores of Strangford Lough marine nature reserve, this aquatic attraction reflects its fabulous location with exhibits focusing on the Lough and the Irish Sea.

And among its global array of nautical occupants are eels, an octopus, otters, stingrays, tropical fish and even a resident crocodile.

The journey begins at the Touch Tank where a replica Viking Long Boat is testament to Strangford's turbulent past. Feel a spiky sea urchin, stroke a stingray and tickle the belly of a small shark as you get hands on with nature.

The large pirate ship and its cutlass-wielding inhabitants spirit you through the star-strewn Smugglers Cove and Pirate's Cave. Look out for the large stone skull spewing out water while fish dart about below.

Outside, a family of adorable otters playfully cavort around their specially constructed lakeside lodge. The Aquarium's cutest and most important calling card, however, is the Seal Sanctuary where sick or orphaned seal pups are rehabilitated then released back into the wild. Since 1989, Exploris has returned hundreds of seals to their natural habitat.

The nature of rehabilitation means there will be times when there are no seals 'in residence' so please call in advance if you are particularly interested in seeing seals.

Experienced guides are always on hand to talk you through Exploris' many exhibits and answer all your questions. Info screens and panels also keep you educated on the area's human and maritime history as you tour the aquarium and reptile exhibition.

A licensed cafe, soft play area and shop complete your family-friendly Exploris adventure. And the aquarium's beautiful setting in the quaint conservation village of Portaferry positively demands you to take the short ferry trip across the lough to the equally picturesque Strangford village.
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Amenities

Guarded parking
Restaurant

Website

Open

Open daily: Apr-Oct 10:00 - 18:00 (last admission 16.30), Nov-Mar 10:00 - 17:00 (last admission 16:00).

Price/Additional Info

Adult £9.50, 3-16/carer £8, conc. £9, 0-2 free. Family adult + child tickets: 1+2 £21.50, 2+1 £24.50, 1+3 or 2+2 £30, 2+3 £35, 2+4 £37.50. Book online for discounts and beat the queue tickets.

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