The National Marine Aquarium has come up with a way to keep families entertained at home and keep its Ocean Discovery Rangers busy through winter – by offering personalised tours of the aquarium’s tanks, which in turn will help boost funds for conservation and education during the latest lockdown.
Virtual visitors are invited to take a one-hour tour with the Ocean Discovery Rangers, exploring the whole ocean, from the rocky shores of the coast in Devon, all the way to the colourful corals of the Great Barrier Reef. Virtual visitors will also get VIP access to the top of the Atlantic Ocean Exhibit, and the chance to meet some of the National Marine Aquarium’s most-popular residents, including a cheeky turtle called Friday.
Nicola Bridge, Head of Conservation Education and Communications, said: “While we all face a few more weeks at home this winter, we want to invite families to explore the aquarium from their own homes, which in turn will help provide vital funds for the upkeep of the aquarium and our conservation and education work.
“Our Facebook Lives from the tanks have proved so popular that we are launching exclusive virtual tours for families where they can ask any burning questions and interact with our rangers in their own time, just like a real visit to the aquarium.
“As part of the Ocean Conservation Trust, the aquarium is a vital part of teaching children the importance of the Ocean, as well as being a great day out. Our rangers are brilliantly knowledgeable and these tours will be a great diversion from weeks at home.”
The virtual tour, which is available daily between 3pm and 4pm and costs £79.99, includes all three zones of the aquarium, with the first covering local coasts and rockpool shallows and marine life that’s found slightly off the UK shore; the second exhibit houses the inhabitants of the Atlantic Ocean, where some of the aquarium’s biggest animals live – including the sharks – and the third region covers the tropical reefs, with familiar favourites Nemo and Dory.
Heading up the Ocean Discovery Rangers are Freyja Thomson and Lottie Hawkins. Freyja primarily works in the National Marine Aquarium communicating with the public the importance of the ocean and helping to create an ocean literate society. Through her work Freyja helps to create and deliver fun, engaging shows, workshops and interactions that the public engagement team of Ocean Discovery Rangers help to run. Lottie's role combines her love for the ocean and the incredible wildlife it supports, with her passion for working with people in the hope of creating an ocean literate generation who will protect the future of our Blue Planet.
Living in the UK, no one is ever further than 70 miles from sea, although these virtual guides and lessons mean distance is not an issue, with tours even available to international guests.
2021 sees the start of the UN Decade of the Ocean and the virtual tours are aimed to get the UK off to a flying start.