I always am surprised when I remember that although mankind has been to the moon we still do not have the technology to travel to the bottom of our deepest oceans and so much of our planet is still unexplored, and there is so much more to learn about our rich marine life.
A visit to the French National Centre, Nausicaa, reminded me of our oceans and the amazing life within them. On entering the building you descend a flight of stairs and are greeted by a huge cylinder teeming with jelly fish.
Nausicaa, which opened in 1991, is far more than just an aquarium, it aims to educate and raise public awareness through wonder rather than moralising, and also is a breeding and research centre. With almost 650,000 visitors a year it is one of the top 10 attractions in France.
Within the tanks of the aquarium there are more than 36,000 fish and other animals. Ranging from the familiar such as cod & star fish to turtles, sharks, sea lions, seahorses and others to the most exotic and almost alien and unworldly looking.
On your visit you travel through a series of rooms with different tanks for the different seas and oceans of the planet. The attraction is very child friendly and there were numerous school and family visits taking place whilst we had our tour. Visitors seemed fairly equally divided between French and British and the entire centre is more or less bi-lingual.
Travelling from zone to zone you feel as if you are being whisked around the entire planet. We walked through a tunnel as the sea lions swan alongside, above and below us, darting far too quickly to take photos.
More somber and thought provoking is the exhibition on climate change and the ocean, highlighting the plight of small islands whose land is being lost to the sea.
If you are quick you can trail your hands in the water an stroke a spiny Thronback ray in the popular touch tank, or sit and drink a cup of coffee looking over the beach and the English channel.
The tropical zone with its submerged houses thrilling species such as crocodiles and piranhas, safely behind thick glass.
Nausicaa is a world class sea life centre and a visit will be entertaining, awe inspiring as well as educational and though provoking. Certainly well worth the travel and a night away to see the centre and the town of Bolougne-sur-Mer. Suitable for all the family. Allow a good few hours to explore the centre.
Bolougne Ville station is a short walk, with frequent trains to nearby Calais-Frethun and its connections to the Eurostar and TVG network.
There is parking on site.
Tickets EUR18.30 adults / EUR10.80 with group discounts availableNausicaa Centre National de la Mer
Boulevard Sainte Beuve
62203 Boulogne-sur-Mer Cedex
FRANCE00 33 3 21 30 98 98
Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of Nausicaa. All options our own.