Discover his inspiration for the children’s story about a cheeky little fellow with big dreams of being in the spotlight.
Unless you’re an avid diver or snorkeller, there’s a good chance that you’d never otherwise encounter many of the residents of the Sea Life London Aquarium. From dogfish to catfish, penguins to piranhas, the Aquarium brings together an eclectic mix of creatures who spend their time in, around and at the bottom of lakes, rivers and oceans.
A silver elevator takes you beneath the surface, leading the dive down to a dark world filled with wonderful and weird amphibians. Each stage of the journey is themed by region, ranging from the swampy heat of the Amazon to the slightly cooler climes of our own rivers and coastal waters, with a psychedelic stop off in the land of the jellies for a trippy change of pace.
The Aquarium is on the banks of the Thames, a short walk from London Waterloo station and the London Eye. The London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure! are right next door and the imposing Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are right across the water.
The central attraction is a huge tank with a glass tunnel at the bottom and a glass walkway as you enter the aquarium. This is where the stars hang out, including the black-eyed giants of Richard Dreyfuss’s nightmares. Of the Aquarium’s sharks, it’s the ferocious-looking (but actually harmless – as long as you’re not a fish) sand tiger sharks who impress the most. There are also black tip reef sharks, nurse sharks alongside huge rays, dogfish (who are a kind of shark) and guitarfish.
Throughout all of the different zones – home to an army of clownfish, snapping Cuban crocodiles, poison dart frogs, elaborate lionfish, penguins, catfish, giant gourami and more – the message of conservation and environmental consciousness is front and centre. The Aquarium does a stellar job of conveying the importance of its work in an entertaining and engaging fashion. This is never more striking than an augmented reality exhibit that places guests next to endangered species.
There are touch pools where visitors can meet starfish up close. You can also book behind the scenes VIP tours to meet the penguins or turtles, dive with the sharks or go behind the scenes and see how the Aquarium works. Otherwise, the Aquarium’s residents can’t be touched.
The Aquarium’s opening hours vary throughout the year. Click here to see a complete list of its current opening hours. There are also daily talks and feeding times, which are detailed on the website.
Tickets for Sea Life London Aquarium are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.