- Grab your goggles (metaphorically speaking), and take in one of the daily feeds at Bristol Aquarium.
- Learn about the aquarium's conservation and education efforts on one of their daily talks and tours.
- Admire the tropical marine life, and discover creatures that live on the United Kingdom's shores.
- Count the four different species of shark swimming over your heads in the aquarium's Underwater Tunnel.
For little ocean lovers, Bristol Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Bristol with kids. Dive into the ocean and trawl the wonders of the deep. The aquarium has over 40 displays, including Coral Seas, and Sunken Ships, but watch you don't get splashed in the open-topped Bay of Rays and Mighty Amazon. Keep your eyes peeled for tropical fish, sharks, rays, seahorses, puffer fish, piranhas, and more - but mind your fingers around the latter, they're a little snappy! Watch the fantastic aquatic creatures swim right over your head in the Underwater Tunnel, and imagine yourselves submerged in a marine world.
Bristol Aquarium is the only UK aquarium to feature a giant botanical house, known as the Urban Jungle, which is home to hundreds of exotic plant and tree species from around the world, so your kids can improve their knowledge of flora and fauna alongside their learning about marine life. Alongside more tropical life, the aquarium in Bristol houses many species that are native to the waters of the United Kingdom, so that your family can see and learn about the creatures both on our shores and abroad.
Bristol Aquarium is committed to conservation and education efforts, from breeding programmes and rehoming to husbandry research and supporting marine conservation. Take one of the talks and tours during your experience to discover the marine life with which they work - there's so much to see and learn about keeping sea creatures safe, and how the aquarium supports endangered species.
Plan to spend roughly an hour to an hour and a half at Bristol Aquarium, but you can move your visit along at your family's pace depending on what you want to see. Dive into the deep end and experience feeding time at the aquarium, from watching tropical predators feed to the ravenous rays and giant Pacific octopus. You can also catch the frenzy of feed time for the piranhas and may get splashed as a result of their frenetic attempts to eat.
The city of Bristol has so much to offer for families to do elsewhere, too. Consider a visit to Bristol Zoo, where you can see the friendly penguins and not-so-friendly big cats. Or take a long walk around Ashton Court Estate, where you can see Fallow and Red deer in one of the two parks, or benefit from a breath of fresh air and a walk with the dog.
What to know before you go
- Bristol Aquarium is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm, with last entry at 4pm.
- Take time out in the friendly nautical-themed C-shed Café, where you can enjoy a deli range of pizzas, pizzinis, and flatbreads served with a side salad, as well as a wide range of snacks. Adults can boost their caffeine intake, too, with Lavazza coffee. Children's meal deals are available, and there are baby changing facilities in the space. There's also plenty of room for wheelchair users and buggies, and, provided the weather is good, there's an outdoor area too. There's a microwave facility, and the kitchen will provide you with a bowl of hot water should you want to heat baby bottles or food. Under The Stars is also fab, as is The River Grille.
- Otherwise, there are plenty of restaurant options near Bristol Aquarium, and around Bristol more broadly. Urban Tandoor does excellent Indian food, and The River offers a lovely view over the River Avon.
- Bristol Aquarium is access friendly. They allow free entry for a carer of a disabled visitor - bring along your DLA letter with you. The aquarium has ramps throughout and multi-level viewing, there are two wheelchairs available for visitors, and two accessible toilets on the ground floor, one of which also has baby changing facilities. Service dogs are welcome. Be aware that there is low lighting in some areas of the aquarium for the sake of the marine life, and there is a hurricane simulator machine in the main foyer that uses strobe lighting.
- If you are planning to drive, be aware that there is no Bristol Aquarium parking on site. There are plenty of parking opportunities available through Bristol city that are near to the aquarium. Millennium Square car park is only a two minute walk, and NCP-run Prince Street is five minutes away. Wapping Wharf provides parking at a 10-minute walk, and The Mall Galleries, Broadmead has parking at a 20-minute walk from the aquarium. Otherwise, you could choose to park at one of the three Park & Ride stations in Bristol. Choose from Portway, Long Ashton, and Brislington, all of which drop off in the city centre to make for easier Bristol Aquarium parking.
- Bristol Temple Meads Station is just a 20-minute walk away or a 10-minute bus ride from Bristol Aquarium, and is served by Great Western Rail.
- If you're planning to visit the aquarium by bus, take the First Bus service numbers 8 or 9 to College Green, and walk from there down the side of Bristol Cathedral. From there, you can cross the road at the traffic lights to get to the aquarium.
- Bicycle parking is not available on site, but there are plenty of options to park your bikes at Anchor Square, Mud Dock and Cabot Circus.
- If you want to arrive in style, you could also take a Bristol Ferry Boat to get to the aquarium - you'd be sticking with the nautical theme and not have to worry about car parking!