I’ve started a new project at work – a temporary exhibition focusing on ocean ecosystems (no more details for now). It’s that really exciting time where you’re reading all about the topic and visiting other sites to see how they’ve approached similar content.
First stop: London Sea-Life Aquarium. I have to confess – I didn’t even know it existed so really didn’t have any expectations. What struck me most about my visit was just how BIG the place is. There’s loads to see – took us well over 3 hours to get through, despite racing through so we could get back to the office.
The entrance area is a bit gawdy, with over-the-top characters and some garish graphics. As soon as you get through it though, there’s a lovely moment where you walk over a glass floor covering a large tank full of sea-life, your first glimpse of some of the creatures you’re going to encounter . We had to wind ourselves around a group of toddlers who were absolutely glued to the floor.
Many of the exhibits consisted of beautiful tanks, filled with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures. The panels next to each tank gave a really nice amount of information which we really enjoyed. I do wonder how much they’re read though considering they’re competing with live animals. Also, a few of the digital panels weren’t working which was a shame.
The design was very nautical throughout which I wasn’t a huge fan of – it would have been nice to feel as if we’d travelled further than a few feet off the coast. It always felt as if they were telling the story of humans’ relationships than delving into habitats and ecosystems we normally never get to see.
The main message was definitely conservation. Everywhere you turned it was all doom and gloom about hunting sea-life and dwindling populations of different species. I agree it’s an important message, but honestly it was so overdone that I became a bit numb to it. Also, they didn’t go into detail about WHY this was important. I think they’ve tried to overcompensate for the controversies that surround zoos and aquariums.
Some more pictures:
Penguins: really cute but a bit depressing to see them so cooped up.
Their main big tank with a reconstructed whale fall and giant turtle!
I didn’t’ really understand the Easter island statues…
Reading back over that, I think I’ve ended up being quite negative. I really did enjoy the trip to the aquarium. There were some amazing things to see and some wonderful examples of interpretation.
Location: South bank
Price: £19.50 (online)
The modern-day cabinet of curiosities in hackney lives up to the hype. An Aladdin’s cave of everything weird, wonderful and a bit icky, you could easily spend a few days in here gawping at the “treasures” on display – although the cramped quarters might give you neck-ache.
I tried and struggled to find any kind of coherence or narrative to the displays – but I gather that’s the point.I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.