For years, the London Aquarium's biggest draw was robotic fish. The three fish, created by the University of Essex's computer science department, were designed to function realistically and were an experiment in combining the best attributes of actual fish species.
The aquarium was purchased by Merlin Entertainments in 2008 and went through a £5 million renovation. The April 2009 reopening greeted visitors with an underwater tunnel, Pacific Ocean tank, Shark Walk and completely revamped exhibits. Since becoming a Sea Life Center that year, the London Aquarium has attracted millions of visitors each year with its vast collection of sea creatures.
Visitors are immersed in an underwater world when they walk through the London Aquarium's Shark Reef Encounter exhibit. 16 sharks swim throughout the three-floor exhibit, which also features heads from Easter Island. At the interactive Shark Academy, visitors can feel actual shark skin and learn about these fascinating creatures. The London Aquarium is also home to a large collection of bright clownfish, a massive octopus and menacing Cuban crocodiles. Since May 2011, visitors can also see eight gentoo penguins that were a gift from the Edinburgh Zoo.
The aquarium's large collection of sea life attracts most visitors, but the London Aquarium also sponsors education and conservation programs that teach the public about marine life. The aquarium also is committed to many breeding programs that work to conserve seahorses, jellyfish, Cuban crocodiles and butterfly goodeids.
The London Aquarium is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 to 18:00 and Friday through Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00.
On school holidays, the aquarium is open daily from 09:00 to 20:00.
Visitors can also watch the animals being fed at certain times throughout the day.
The aquarium is located in London and is just a short walk from the Westminster and Waterloo Tube stations.