Monday, 10 March 2014

The Deep and Penguins of Grytviken




Last Saturday we visited The Deep in Hull for the first time. We have heard much about it but never got a chance to go there. Last Monday they opened their Penguins exhibition "Penguin of Grytviken" for the first time, and we couldn't wait to check out the  aquarium  submarium as well as their new VIPs - very important penguins!


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

We arrived around noon time, thinking that it would be less busy, but were shocked by the really long tickets queue. Even the queue for the pre-booked and group tickets were fairly long as well. With the wind blasting outside, we really appreciated that we had the privilege to go straight in with the press passes.


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

If you haven't been to The Deep before, the "tour" starts from the top floor, and you'll gradually move in a zig zag fashion all the way back to the ground floor. It started with an educational section about the ocean history and an impressive fossils wall,  then the tropical lagoon where we can get up close to the underwater reef and colourful tropical fish.


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

Soon we met another long queue, with people queuing to take their first peek at the new Gentoo Penguins from the top of their enclosure.


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

There are a lot of big screen sections from their main tank where you can take a good look inside it, with massive fish including Europe's only pair of green sawfish and sharks swimming around. We saw a bench located opposite one of the glass screen and decided to join the many other families for a quick bite (we brought our own lunch). There is a picnic area  further down as well but it was good we stayed as it was due for the main tank's feeding time! While waiting for the divers to get ready, Abby danced with the massive stingray.


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

Had to make this extra large as I'm so proud of my camera that it can take shots like this! (No post-editing done)
The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

This tank was in darkness though not completely. I'm not even sure whether the left image is the right way up,
but the pictures came out this bright! (no post-editing done)

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

Before we went to see the cute penguins, which will lead to the exit, we took a quick tour at their The Cool Seas exhibition, located right next to the entrance to the penguins' enclosure and exit. We were really impressed with the exhibition, and saw for the first time sea life that we've only ever seen on TV. It features deep sea creatures, including those from the midnight zone. Most of the tanks were in darkness with a small amount of light, so I'm really impressed with my camera that it managed to take a few photos of the sea life without any flash. The only thing I couldn't take was the "keep it completely dark" tank, which features something that has a green light lighting up on and off (a bit like football fish although I'm not quite sure, it was really too dark!).


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire
Located at the entrance of The Deep before you take the stairs or lift to go up
The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire




Had to brighten the picture up as it was the blue was too intense..


When we got back to the Kingdom of Ice, many of us were a bit confused with the queuing system. Only until later did they add a sign at the entrance saying penguins to the left, Deep Blue One and exit to the right. With it being the first weekend since the opening of the penguin enclosure, it can be quite confusing for everyone.

The good thing about queuing in The Deep is that you won't get bored. While queuing for the penguins, we walked pass 2 ice walls, which are cold and wet to the touch only (no cold air seeping out from it). A lot of people were really eager to see the new residence and forgot that everyone else in the queue has waited as long as them and were as excited as they are. We finally managed to get to the front without having too many cutting queue, and Abby was really adoring the penguins!

It's a shame that pictures taken came out very blue, you can actually see more colours when you are there. It happened to be feeding time and the Gentoo penguins were really cute with some attitude too! Then suddenly on our right it started snowing! That's the point where I was really impressed. The Deep has preserved as much of the penguins' nature habitat as possible, to make them feel at home. One of the picture showed the background of the enclosure being a beach front with a massive ship, and it looked so real like the penguins are really living there!

After visiting the penguins, Abby has learned quite a bit about them as there was a penguin trail (starting from the entrance to the lift and stairs) and she has answered most of the questions on the worksheet correctly (I think we missed one information from somewhere).


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

Around the corner from the penguins' enclosure is the Deep Blue One, which focused on the Amazon's river life. The video that's been playing on their big screens is very interesting to watch, making me want to watch The Planet again!

In the middle of the room is a soft play area, which helped draining the last bit of energy from the kids!


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

I had to post this picture up as this underwater toad is the most bizarre creature I've seen in The Deep. It stuck itself between a branch and the tank, with the belly for all to see!


The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The Deep Hull, UK Aquarium, Family Day Out in Yorkshire

The way back to the top is scenic either by stairs or by lift, which is another thing that impressed us. The cafe around the corner at the top floor is designed like the inside of a cruise ship, and there is plenty of choices on offer too.

We of course have to take a trip to the gift shop, and we bought the kids each a penguin top. I want to thank the staff at the shop again for saving Clay from tears by picking up Luigi and keeping him safe for us. It's a bad place to loose a cuddly toy, yet we managed to get him back, thank you so much!


Overall we had a lovely day out at The Deep. We loved the get up close section, where washing basins and hand sanitisers are freely available (and throughout the aquarium too). The giant fish, The Cool Seas exhibition and the Penguin Enclosure were quite impressive too. It's definitely a place to visit if you are nearby.


Disclosure: We were invited to visit The Deep for review purpose; all opinions are honest and our own