Reviewed by Jennifer Barnsley
We had a lovely day out to The Deep in Hull – an aquarium that is home to 3,500 fish.
When you arrive at the venue there is plenty of parking and it costs £2 for a maximum 4 hours. The website recommends coming when it first opens or towards the end of the day, we arrived at 11.30 and did manage to beat the crowds in the cafe before our start, but we went at a quiet time of the year so even earlier probably would be beneficial at busier times.
We avoided any queues at reception buying our tickets, and the staff were friendly and helpful. There is an option to fill in a form to make your ticket eligible to return within a year for free. I’m not sure on busier times how this affects the queue time. When buying your tickets there is an online discount of 10%, or you buy on the day at the venue. There are discounts for students, seniors and families also. The website also informs you that visitors generally spend 2-3 hours here, we actually spent 4, however we had a baby in tow so I think 3 hours is probably a fair estimate.
You can buy a guide book for £2 at reception should you wish.
The exhibition starts with ‘how the earth began timeline’ with many interactive features. It’s dark and your eyes have to get used to reading the information boards in the restricted light. There are lots of replica animal fossils half buried in the wall of this first section.
It is after learning about the history and evolution of animals that you get to the tanks. There are lots of types of tropical fish, sharks, rays and coral, also as advertised on the website a couple of green sawfish, which truly are quite spectacular. That’s just the tanks. There’s a penguin feature, poisonous frogs, snakes and insects.
There’s a film about the penguins three times a day, 11.30, 13.00 and 15.30, and a dive presentation to watch feeding. When we visited it was at 14.00 with an extended presentation on the history of diving for ‘march into science’ month. This is in the open area opposite the catfish.
There is a picnic area and kiosk just after here, where more toilets are situated, if you’ve brought your own food you can eat it here.
Just passed this point there are some stairs, and a lift down to a small soft play area for kids, however there was a sign saying lift out of order, a member of staff will be along to assist you. However we looked around for a few minutes and not sure where they were supposed to be. We had a pushchair so luckily were able to carry it, not sure what a wheelchair user would have done or how long they’d have to wait.
Other than that slight problem which is temporary of course, the rest of the experience is very wheelchair/buggy friendly, wide corridors and slopes everywhere.
The cafe is located along with toilets after you have gone up to the third floor which is the start of the exhibition. The cafe has a nice selection of food including pie, chilli, lasagne, jackets, salads, sandwiches and cakes. However be aware that hot food finishes at 15.00, so we missed out when we had finished our tour, but it looked and smelled good when we first arrived.
Lastly there is a gift shop upon exiting.
The whole venue was impeccably clean and tidy. The price of £11.75 (adult) / £9.75 (child) is fairly reasonable, especially with the free return feature.
I look forward to returning when my little girl is a bit older.
Tickets cost £11.75 (adult) / £9.75 (child 3-15 years) / Under 3’s are free. Save 10% by booking online in advance.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.thedeep.co.uk.
The Deep, Tower St, Hull, HU9 1TU