I had no idea there was a Sea-Life Centre, in Boulogne, which in only 1.5 hours from London. We hopped onto the Eurostar at St. Pancras International and within an hour we were in Calais. The Sea-Life centre is only 20km from there. The journey through the tunnel was enough excitement on it’s own for a 4-year-old. The journey was a breeze, still stunned at the lack of immigration control on the other side we just strolled right into France!
On the face of it, Nausicaa looks like any other aquarium that you would find at the seaside in the UK with giant aquariums and underwater exploration. However, they’re absolutely passionate about conservation, education and raising public awareness of the need to live in harmony with the sea. In 1997 they were awarded the Centre of Excellence in recognition of their work.
‘They’ve been into conservation long before it became fashionable’.
To celebrate Nausicaa’s 20th Birthday we were treated to a behind the scenes tour by the Aquarium’s Curator, in his flamboyant fish shirt, to meet the baby animals that have been born in the centre and their parents such as Sharks, Rays, Lumpfish and Guitarfish. You could feel his passion and commitment as he spoke to us about pollution, global warming and the threat to fish stocks.
My favourite was the Sea Dragon as it looked mythical. My daughter squealed with laughter at the unicorn fish and we both came to the conclusion that the large shark looks rather grumpy! We also watched the Sea-lion training, visited the penguin enclosure and we even got to stroke a ray. They were almost puppy dog like.
As it was a gorgeous day we finished off the day with a quick visit to the beach. My daughter played in the sand while I digested everything that I’d learned with the sea as a backdrop.
It was a fantastic day out and I would highly recommend it. To keep the costs down you may want to enquire about a Ferry Crossing.
Entry into Nausicaa when booked online:
Family Ticket (2 kids and 2 adults) £39
If you want to learn more about being a responsible fish consumer, including information on selecting seasonal fish visit the Mr. Goodfish Website where you won’t find any lectures but good solid advice.
Disclosure: all expenses, inclusive of lunch, entry and travel were covered by Nausicaa.