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“Educational, Fascinating, Fun, Relevant to Area, Best Aquarium We Have Visited”
Review of South West Sea Life Centre - CLOSED

South West Sea Life Centre
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Come to South West Sea Life Centre (formerly Porlock Weir Marine Aquarium)and wonder at the variety of marine life to be found in and along the shores of the Bristol Channel.Most of the exhibits in the tanks are native to the Bristol Channel, although there are some unusual visitors to the Channel waters which we hope to have on display.You can watch flounder, bass, blennies and various kinds of wrasse in the numerous tanks and spot turbot and rays and many other species in the large open pool.There is a comprehensive display of handmade painted models of species from the Bristol Channel and also a selection of marine fossils to see.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Educational, Fascinating, Fun, Relevant to Area, Best Aquarium We Have Visited”
Reviewed March 19, 2012

This place is fantastic and extraordinary. The owner, family and assistants are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and welcoming to visitors. The tanks of healthy local fish swimming so close in front of youare breathtaking. This has to be one of the great serious tourist attarctions in this country. It is simply wonderful. My five year old boy learned so much about fish life in the Bristol Channel, and so did I! If you are anywhwhere near Porlock you must visit. Brilliant.

Visited August 2011
1 Thank 124StephenT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

8 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Southampton Parish, Bermuda
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Very interesting and fun aquarium”
Reviewed August 15, 2011

Two of us visited this aquarium after spending a few lovely hours on Porlock Weir. From the outside, the aquarium does not look like much but as it was so cheap to enter - only 3 pounds per person, and as we are very interested in marine life, we thought 'why not?'. Despite only being a very small aquarium, we spent over an hour there and were very impressed with what we saw. The tanks are very clean, interesting facts were provided for every species found in the aquarium - but what made the visit really worth it was tour given by the gentleman who I believe owns the aquarium (sadly I can not remember his name). His knowledge was astounding! He knew every single fish, crab, shark, shrimp - every organism that lived in the tanks - he knew every thing about them! His stories were incredible and watching each fish and learning all about each animal was a real treat. All of the animals living in the aquarium are released after a period of time, and then new ones are collected. We left the aquarium with a far greater understanding of Porlock's marine life. I wish the owners of this attraction the best of luck and I hope everyone who visits Porlock Weir will pay a visit to this aquarium.

Visited August 2011
2 Thank Jessica R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
“Small but packed with facinating things”
Reviewed July 1, 2011

This aquarium was facinating, from the lobby where superb models of fish seen in the local water, photographs and posters to the spotlessly clean tanks inside. It was possible to view the fish and sea creatures of local waters so closely, watch their behaviour and study so many different ways of moving, their colours and interesting shapes. Beautiful markings and I never knew they had differently patterened eyes, some with gold round. From the huge royal blue lobster to the tiny, pretty red & white squat lobster.
The large tank has many larger fish and it is possible to stroke a shark but ask first, you don't want to stroke the wrong one! There were some children who didn't want to leave, they were facinated by what they saw.
The owners show infinite patience, seemingly can answer every question and have really interesting tales to tell. This personal touch makes it special. A wonderful way to see what is in our waters. A real little gem.

Visited June 2011
1 Thank Toopaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“worth an excursion”
Reviewed August 21, 2010

This is a wonderfully well run place, reflecting a warm enthusiasm which is rare, yet not in your face. What these people do not know about local fish aint worth knowing... and get this - We saw fish get called over, up they swim, turn onto their side and let their keeper tickle them. The place is quality, and quite eye opening as to the rich diversity of life out there in the channel. Can do it in about half an hour, but there is so much to do locally that it could be done in conjunction with something else. Go

2 Thank boogaloodoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Small, but talk to the owner, and you'll never forget it”
Reviewed July 24, 2010

A visit to this aquarium is strongly recommended.

The aquarium itself is small - everything would fit in the entrance lobby of many of the major establishments around the world. For your three pounds adult entrance fee, you will find about 15 small tanks, and one larger one. The focus is on sea life found in the local area, apparently covering species not well represented elsewhere.

The aquarium has been established by a retired fisherman. The door money helps towards the costs, but he has to contribute personally to keep it going. If you can get him to give you the tour for, I would suggest, and additional voluntary donation, then you will have an extraordinary experience.

The owner talks of the fish and other creatures in the way that others talk about people they know. He described personalities, who was likely to eat who, and how the mud skippers liked to take a mouth full of water and climb out of the tanks for a few hours. He described one fish he had that liked having its head scratched, after which it would turn away, look back, and surf the surface of the water.

Unlike large impersonal institutions, what makes the difference here is the personal touch. If you are lucky enough to benefit from the owner's insights, you'll leave feeling that these few fish and other marine organisms are far more interesting than you'd ever thought, and the next time you visit one of those big showcases, you'll look at their exhibits in quite a different light.

5 Thank Netwiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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