Wednesday, 4 April 2018

At The Deep end...

It's about ten years since we last visited The Deep and it's fair to say it's changed quite a bit. In the fifteen years since it first opened it has undergone a £5 million extension and is now bigger, and better, than ever.

Oh, and deeper. Although it wasn't originally going to be called 'The Deep' (an early suggestion was The Evolving Sea Centre) The Deep boasts Europe's deepest viewing tunnel at 9 metres (30 ft) - something you can experience 'Chocolate Factory' style riding in a glass elevator through a tank which is home to sharks, sting rays, turtles and Europe's only pair of green sawfish.

It's amazing. See for yourself...

We were invited to take a look and report back. Sometimes, attractions like this can be a little disappointing. They don't always live up to their own hype.

Rarely, very rarely, they exceed it. But I think that was pretty much the case with our visit to The Deep.

We hardly need to tell you anything about it or publicise it in any way. They're not short of visitors. (Seven million since they opened, including record numbers on their 15th birthday last March!) And although it was busy on the day we went, there was so much to see and the displays so well laid out that it didn't ever seem too crowded. (The queues for the lift were the worst.)

If I had one criticism it's that the (highly informative) live commentary provided by staff is extremely difficult to hear. But that may have been due to the noise of excited visitors oo-ing and ahh-ing (literally!) at the penguins, or clownfish, or turtles or sawfish or any of the other 5000 fish and other creatures on display.

And it's not just for display, either. Far from it. The Deep is a major centre for marine research. Since opening it has mentored 38 BSc degree students and 8 MSc students from universities across the UK. Marine biologists both care for The Deep's collection and carry out important research into the marine environment (discovering a new hybrid species of Manta ray in the Red Sea among other things). And the 'Big Fish' campaign works with pet shops to try and ensure that 'tank buster' species (fish that outgrow home aquariums) aren't sold.

It's clearly a happy place to work, too. So far three couples who met while working at The Deep have gone on to get married. And you can, too! Get married, that is - at The Deep. Yes, the venue is licensed for weddings as well as a host of other events. You can eat in their restaurant and even (in some cases) sleep next to the exhibits.

It really is much, much more than even the best aquarium!

The Deep, Tower Street, Hull (01482 3810000) is open daily from 10am-6pm (exc. Christmas Day and Boxing Day) and a family ticket (two adults, three children) costs £49.05 if booked online. Parking is available (£3 for six hours) on site. 

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