It’s been a while since we visited The Deep in Hull. While not much really changes year on year – which my children LOVE by the way! – we do like visiting and seeing the wonderful array of sealife on display, including numerous fish and rays, sharks, and more recently, penguins.
Our visit this weekend was very timely as we got Charlie the school bear home on Friday and he simply has to have adventures. Looking at his diary, he’s better travelled than me, so we need to do our bit to contribute to his well-rounded educational experiences. I would bet that Charlie has already been to The Deep before now, although if he has, was very gracious and didn’t say a word.
We decided to tie in a visit with a trip to the city centre shops, and we walked to The Deep through the Old Town and over the footbridge. The Deep looked as awesome as ever even on the overcast day when we visited. There is car parking on site which is pay and display, and during busy periods there is a land train which leaves from Hull City Hall, though renovation work in the city centre has put a stop to this temporarily.
There wasn’t a queue at all to get in and getting our tickets was very quick. It got busy a little after we got there, but not so much you’d be waiting very long.
We did the obligatory look out of the top floor window and a quick trip to the loos and then we were on our way. The Deep is pretty easy to navigate – it’s basically a winding path from the top floor down to the bottom and is very accessible in all places. There are steps in places but there is always a lift option too for wheelchairs and prams.
The girls’s favourite bits in the first section are the MASSIVE replica whale teeth, and the interactive things that can be bashed and poked – always a winner! There is also an awesome jellyfish tank here, which draws a lot of interest.
The next bit is the lagoon where you get to see your first fish and sealife, such as rays, and also starfish, crabs, and sea urchins.
The touch pool opens periodically where you can touch starfish and sea urchins with the help of a guide. Charlie didn’t want to do this bit as his paws are too furry and not waterproof, however he did like sitting and looking at the fish in the main pool.
Moving on and we saw coral reefs, some more fish from different angles – from the side and below – and also had a nosy at the penguins (more on these later).
The main tank is very impressive. Not only are there numerous large fish here, which shoal wonderfully, there are also sharks, huge rays, and sawfish. Charlie liked this bit too and he wasn’t at all scared by the sharks.
In this part of The Deep, there are lots of smaller fish and reptiles to look at, like these beautiful clown fish.
After this there is an area where there are often activities during the school holidays, and also a cinema screen. There wasn’t anything happening here when we got there so we carried on through the exhibition. Here there is also more toilets, a cafe, and a picnic area.
The twilight zone explains about the very deep oceans and what sort of life lives 1000 feet down in the water. There are glowing fish, and a jellyfish kaleidoscope. The 5 year olds were a little confused by this but Charlie Bear explained. He is very worldly and wise.
Next was another look at the penguins, this time from their level. They are in an indoor tank but it has been done very well and they look happy enough. They have started breeding, and Nessie currently has an egg in a nest. We couldn’t see very much apart from her laid there on a pile of stones. The Deep have said it will be June before any chick is hatched, and they are very excited about the prospect.
The penguins were fantastic, walking about, socialising, and swimming in their ‘dockside’ pool. I wish I knew how to use my camera better for these sort of shots.
As one of the five year olds was getting a bit restless (and stroppy about some little thing that happened that morning!), we headed to the small soft play area so they could chill out in there for a few minutes. The soft play is in another great area of interactive boards and wildlife displays, so the 8 year old took Charlie to have a look at a few of these while I had a little chill out of my own. He liked this bit apparently, which is good news.
The underwater tunnel on the way out was popular and people were trying to look at the fish in peace, so we didn’t subject them to the stroppy 5 year old, and we headed straight for the famous lift. It had a bit of a queue so we decided on the stairs instead. Actually I like the alternative of the stairs as you get the same great views of the three storey tank yet you can go at your own pace. If you prefer to take your time, the stairs are a great option.
And that’s it! Back on the top floor and out. We stopped in the cafe with a view over the River Humber for some drinks and cookies, having thoroughly enjoyed our trip. The stroppy five year old was still stropping, but the cookie seemed to help a little. Charlie enjoyed his trip too.
Exit through the very pretty gift shop (with more fish) to buy Charlie a badge for his collection to commemorate his trip.
Total trip time – 2 – 3 hours.
The Deep has pay and display parking, and is also accessible on foot from Hull city centre. Parking is £2 for four hours, which should be enough for a visit.
There are toilets and baby changing facilities in at least three areas.
The cafe serves hot and cold food and drinks throughout the day.
You can upgrade your day ticket to a Day Pass Plus which entitles you to free entry for 12 months from purchase date
More information is available at The Deep Hull
Disclosure – we (including Charlie Bear) were guests of The Deep for this review