Now that autumn is here, we find ourselves increasingly looking for days out which don't rely on sunny weather. It's the ideal time of year to visit an aquarium - and as aquariums go, it doesn't get much better than the Deep in Hull.
Our little boy loves it here. For him, the highlights include the sharks, the penguins, the soft-play zone and a game involving jumping on animated jellyfish to make them go splat. In fact it can be hard to get him to move on from that bit to the rest of the exhibition.
We first came here when our little boy had only just started walking. At that age he enjoyed following the trail of coloured lights in the floor around the exhibition, and watching the fish swimming around in their tanks. Now he's a bit older, and able to interact slightly differently - thinking about which animals live where, what they eat, counting them, naming their colours, etc. There is so much to stimulate children of all ages.
There are some really lovely interactive displays at the Deep - we especially loved an animated globe which could be spun in any direction with just a flick of the wrist. And whilst conversations about what proportion of the earth's surface is water might be a bit advanced for us just yet, it is still fun to play with.
This is one of those places best visited outside of peak hours if possible. It's in the very nature of the thing that there's going to be a lot of stopping and looking in tanks, and the fewer people there are trying to do that at once, the more relaxing the experience tends to be. It's also very dark inside most of the exhibition, which can be a bit disorientating, so keep a close eye on those kids.
It cost us £23.00 to get in when we visited most recently, based on annual passes for two adults and a two year old getting in for free. We had our lunch at the cafe which was busy but reasonably priced and has some amazing views out to sea. Somewhat unfeasibly, though, it ran out of fish. Seriously.
The Deep is pushchair-friendly, there's ample parking and the toilets are plentiful and clean as you could hope for. The staff are friendly and the gift-shop has more cuddly penguins than you could ever need. In terms of facilities, it's hard to think what could be done better, just as you would expect from a custom-built venue which is just over a decade old.