“ Address: Brynsiencyn / Isle of Anglesey / Ynys Mon / LL61 6TQ / Wales „
Tucked away on the isle of Anglesey you'll find the hidden gem that is Anglesey Sea Zoo, a lovely place to go with the children during the holidays.
Although smaller than your average Sea Aquarium, it is in lovely coastal surroundings. Unlike Chester's Blue Planet Aquarium, which is located on a shopping retail park. Each time I have visited the Sea Zoo with the children, we've had a lovely time and I think because it's a smaller operation - the staff are more hands on and there is a much more customer focused approach, it feels like a family centred environment.
Our favourite part of the Sea Zoo is a large convex glass wall that you can stand in front of and watch all kinds of fish swim by. There are over 150 species in total, so it's fun to spot as many as you can. There are a few other different areas, including a shark pool which is always a highlight - but there is much to do outside aswell in the nicer weather. We like to take a picnic and let the kids run about in the playground ( North Wales and Anglesey in particular isn't known for it's warm weather so you have to take full advantage when you can!) sometimes they'll have a bouncy castle going, and you can also play a round of mini golf or control a remote controlled boat for a small charge ( can be expensive when you have a few children)
There is a little cafe with your average range of snacks and drinks, to be honest, the last time we went I wasn't overly impressed with the food - I expected it to be welsh home cooking but it was your average chicken and nuggets for the kids and sandwich or soup etc, but the website informs that they've recently had a refurbishment of the cafe and they source local ingredients...even the welsh favourite Bara Brith freshly made by the milkman's wife! I love Bara Brith, if you haven't had it then you absolutely must...it's like a fruit loaf.
The admission prices are very reasonable, £7.25 for adults + £6.25 for children. And many combinations of family tickets available bringing the price down to £6 each for adults and children. (2 adults + 2 children £24)
Compared to the Blue Planet aquarium (2 adults + 2 children £49) it is a lot cheaper, and for me a lot better.
Anglesey Sea Zoo is located in Anglesey, North Wales and is easily reachable by travelling along the A55 to Anglesey and then following signs for Brynsciencyn after the Menai Bridge.
On arrival there is a large car park and there is a bouncy castle, adventure playground and crazy golf course which immediately caught my childrens attention.
On entry there is a small service desk where you purchase your entry tickets which are valid for 7 days, so if you are staying in the area you can come back as often as you like over the 7 days. I cannot remember the individual prices but it cost us £26 for a family of four.
There are a fair few exhibits inside but it seems really small, although it boasts as being one of the largest aquariums and it was all over and done with in less than an hour. The exhibits werent as nice as I would have liked them to be and my children had difficulty seeing what was in some exhibits.
At the end in order to leave the aquarium you have to walk through the shop, which really annoys me. I know a lot of places do this but I think it is really unfair on parents just wanting a nice day out to then end up being nagged by their children for some overpriced tat, and believe me it is very overpriced. It is well stocked and there are plenty of toys, books, and other accessories available, however they are just too expensive in my opinion.
In addition the cafe is also very expensive. I like to treat the family to lunch out when we go out for the day, but a jacket potato here with cheese costs little under £6 which I think is ridiculous for a potato and a bit of cheese. The other meals were even more expensive and certainly not aimed at families wanting a reasonably priced meal. The food did look delicious, but when visiting attractions I want to be able to buy an affordable lunch snack and not an expensive meal.
We then ventured outside and the children wanted to play crazy golf, unfortunately this is charged for as an extra and it cost us around £12 to play. This was great fun admittedly, but we had ended up spending £40 in an attraction which had only lasted us a couple of hours and although I initially like the idea of the tickets being able to be used for 7 days, I didnt see the need for it in the end as I had seen everything I needed to, so couldnt see me coming back the next day just to see the same thing again.
The children did enjoy it, however I do think that it is very overpriced for what it is and that they need to amend their prices to reflect their target market of families. I would recommend it if you have a couple of hours spare with nothing to do, but I certainly wouldnt advise you to go out of your way to visit. Overall I found it to be disappointing.
Wales largest marine aquarium.