Yesterday was a day full of surprises, the husband and I planned a little day out for the boys to the Oceanografic Valencia. This year, we haven’t really ventured to any theme parks or attractions and have been enjoying a slow paced and fun filled summer without having to spend a fortune. But of course we have a few trick up our sleeves and we couldn’t let the summer go by without treating them to see the amazing sea creatures in Europes biggest aquarium.
Only 30 minutes drive from our home it’s a doddle to get to. We also chose to visit during the week to avoid busy times. We parked along Carrer d’Eduardo Primo Yúfera, there are parking facilities nearby and also guides who will show you an available space for a small fee. We paid the guy €2.50 for his trouble a small amount that saves us time and the convenience of being 500 metres away from the main entrance.
We left our house at about 10:30 am and arrived at the gates at 11:05 the place was still very quiet and this gave us the chance to know our way around. As expected in many tourist attractions, the prices are nearly doubled in the restaurants, bars and vending machines. If you are on a budget, it would be better if you can stop over at a bar in the city and have something to eat beforehand to avoid paying tourist prices. And I would suggest to fuel up before starting because it’s going to be a loooong day!
The boys could hardly contain themselves, my 6 year old particularly who loves anything to do with the ocean. He was looking forward to seeing everything especially the sharks! Two very excited boys ready for an oceanic adventure!
First stop was for a quick coffee in the Océanos restaurant, on a great day like this it’s a good spot to grab something to drink and enjoy the view. They have a nice looking menu, but I thought that the prices were very expensive and would imagine a simple bocadillo breakfast, drink and coffee will set you back about €25-35 for a family of 4. The service wasn’t great either so we thought we’d give the food a miss. You can see my detailed Trip Advisor review here.
The boys were buzzing, so there was no time to lose, they wanted to get going and see the sharks straight away, but that would have been a quick day out.
We started our tour in the Mediterranean, this section of the Oceanographic house 9 large aquariums showcasing the Mediterranean’s aquatic ecosystems. This included a touching pool where visitors gets the chance to touch some of the animals—for example, starfish, sea cucumbers, sea snails and violet sea urchins.
We slowly worked our way around into the Islands, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical, Oceans, Arctic, Red Sea and finally the amazing Dolphinarium where every two hours visitors can watch a 45-minute segment starring the dolphins and their trainers. The Oceanographic also tries to promote, raise awareness, research and contribute to the preservation of marine life which can be seen all over the centre, from the effects of pollution to species endangerment.
The place was enormous, and the visit took us about 5 hours going at a slow pace, stopping by a couple of times to sit in the shade and for something to drink. It was a hot day, the temperature reached up to 32ºc by 1 pm, so if you’re visiting in mid summer, make sure you take plenty of liquids and apply thick suncream! You will also find that a lot of the tours are spoken in Spanish, but you can rent an audio guide based on your language.
When I asked the boys what they enjoyed most about the day out, they told me pretty much everything. They found the information interesting and they were able to clearly understand the tours. The only negative thing was that it got pretty busy and sometimes trying to see the animals took longer because of queues. The marine tunnels especially were full at one time and on a day like it was, it got pretty stuffy and crowded which the boys didn’t like.
For us adults it was also a fun-filled and informative day out, it was great to see the boys really enjoying themselves and getting excited at every turn. We ended our tour watching the dolphins and for me, that was the highlight of my day!