Great Barrier Reef Display

The Great Barrier Reef Display is being upgraded!

We are excited to announce that we are currently working on the big project of refurbishing the Great Barrier Reef display which will mean that a newly themed display will be on show in 2019!

Until further notice, this tank and a handful of adjacent displays will not be visible whilst maintenance is underway. Many of the animals from the Great Barrier Reef tank will be temporarily moved to some of our other displays, so you will still be able to see lots of your favourites, although a few of our larger animals have been moved offsite during the maintenance! 

Whilst the work is taking place, we have put some answers together for some FAQ’s to give you some more information regarding this project.

Why are you closing the Great Barrier Reef display?

As the Oceanarium has been open for 20 years, we wanted to take this opportunity to completely refurbish the Great barrier Reef tank and create a brand new and exciting design for when we re-open! 

Are there any days that I will not be able to visit?

The maintenance work on the main tank does not mean that the whole aquarium will close. As mentioned previously, some displays surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, such as the Marine Research Lab, may also be off show during your visit. You will still be able to see aquatic favourites such as Otters, Penguins and Stingrays visible in our 26 displays along with 1000’s of other fascinating creatures. 

With the exception of Christmas day, the Oceanarium does not plan to have any full site closures.

How much is being invested in this project?

Nearly £200k is being invested in the new display, making an exciting new project that we hope to open in early 2019.

What is happening to the creatures in this display?

Due to the size of this project, it is not possible for any animals to remain in the tank whilst the maintenance happens. Animal welfare is our top priority and we have therefore temporarily moved our Black and White Tip Reef Sharks, Eels, our Guitarfish and Zebra Shark to a specialist holding facility in Holland whilst the work is happening. 

Etta one of our Loggerhead Sea Turtles has permanently moved to a brand new aquarium in Madrid. We will miss having her here at the Oceanarium; however her new home means she has plenty of room to swim around as the tank size is 1.6 million litres. We are pleased to say she has settled in very well. 

Are there any animals I won’t be able to see when I visit?

Our larger sharks, rays and eels have temporarily moved whilst this work is underway, therefore they will not be visible during your visit. We do however have a Zebra horn shark in our Key West display.

Our Marine Research Lab, may also be off-show at certain times due to their location in regards to the refurbishment. 

Our Loggerhead Sea Turtle Carrie is remaining on site, and is being kept behind the scenes as she has only just been moved out of the Great Barrier Reef display and we want to keep the transition as stress-free as possible for her.

Will all the animals be returning?

Other than Etta who has settled into her new home in Madrid, we hope that all other animals including our sharks will return to this tank when it re-opens.

Will there be any new animals when the display is re-opened?

We have exciting plans for the future of our new display, so there will be lots to look at once we re-open.

How will this impact my visit?

Doors around the aquarium have been opened to allow for access to the crocodile enclosure and to make your visit around the aquarium as easily to follow as possible as well as arrows and signage to guide you around.

During our opening times, noise and invasive works will be kept to a minimum where possible.

Animal feeding and talk times have been adapted accordingly and there is now an additional Otter feed at 2pm and a Stingray feed at 3pm.

Does the maintenance affect accessibility?

Although the usual route has changed slightly, lift access and wheelchair / pushchair accessibility is still provided. 

Has the price changed due to this closure?

We believe the disruption will be minimal and that the Oceanarium still offers great value for money as your ticket is valid all day and there are 5 feeding times to watch throughout the day, therefore our pricing has not changed.

We will be providing all maingate visitors with a ‘return for £5’ voucher which means you can enjoy the full experience following the relaunch of the new display. Making your visit better better value for money as an apology for any disruption and disappointment the building works may have caused. 

I am an annual pass member. How does this impact me?

We have made sure that the work is done outside of peak season to try and cause as little disruption as possible. As stated in your Terms and conditions when opening your membership with us, ‘The Oceanarium reserves the right to withdraw or make changes to the pass or the facilities available to you at any time’ we apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience this may cause. The work will be done as quickly as possible and you will get to enjoy your 2019 membership with a new tank all throughout 2019. 

I am visiting as a group / school / birthday party. How does this impact me?

Other than the closure of this display itself, your group/school/party visit should not be impacted. If you have booked any tours, your tour guide will still be able to give you a full hour tour and you can still learn about all of the amazing animals we have here. 

I have booked an Aquarist for a day experience at the Oceanarium. How does this impact me?

Aquarist for a day experiences will be adapted so that participants will now spend some time with our Penguins instead of our sharks and get to feed our inca tern birds that live in Penguin Beach.

How long will the display be closed for?

Currently the planned opening date of the refurbished tank is February 2019, however due to the nature of the work we cannot confirm the exact date.

We anticipate a launch announcement for a confirmed date and some more information in early 2019.

If I have questions, who can I speak to?

Any questions relating to the closure please email us at and a member of our team will be able to answer any questions you may have. 

Children under 3 yrs FREE!! See other tickets


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