TinyTours offers Exploris tickets at discounted rate. Book online now to get the best prices. Exploris Aquarium is Northern Ireland's only aquarium and seal sanctuary featuring a fully licensed restaurant, events programme and gift shop.
A sunken galleon, friendly sharks and a snappy crocodile all-star in Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and seal rehabilitation centre.
Located 1 hour from Belfast on the shores of Strangford Lough visitors to Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry will be wowed with a diver’s view of marine life from around the world. Your journey at Exploris Aquarium will begin with a focus on the lough and the Irish Sea where you will get ‘hands on’ with our native species as you tickle the belly of a small shark and feel the spikes on a sea urchin, along with learning about the Viking heritage of Strangford Lough.
What to expect at Exploris
The colourful coral reefs in the Tropical Ocean zone play host to over 100 species and our team of aquarists and guides are always on hand to answer your questions and provide some interesting information on many of the aquaria that you will encounter.
Outside in the enclosures, our family of Asian Short Clawed Otters remain a big hit with visitors, while the Seal Sanctuary continues to be exceptionally busy with 22 seals being successfully rehabilitated and released back to their native habitat for the 2016/17 season.
Whilst at Exploris Aquarium make sure to grab your expedition passport before you set off on your journey through the zones where you will meet our clownfish, sharks, rays and much more. Keep look out for the interactive stations, answer the trivia questions and stamp your expedition passport as you go!
Kids soft play area
Don’t forget to explore Jiggly Jellies, a two-tier aquatic themed indoor soft play area with distinct zones for babies, toddlers and juniors up to 8 years old. Jiggly Jellies is packed with numerous exciting features including slides, ball pools, climbers, swings and roller squeezers and is guaranteed to provide endless fun for the little ones.
How long is the tour?
The tour is self-guided and you can take your time at Exploris to enjoy the experience. Typically, it takes around 1-1.5 hours for the main exhibitions.
At the end of your exploring why not stop off in The Craken fully licensed café? Grab a freshly cooked meal - to energise you for the day ahead or to refuel following your visit.
Mon-Sun: 10am – 5pm
Last admission: 4pm
Mon-Sun: 4pm – 5pm
The Craken Cafe & Restaurant closes at 4pm
How to get there by Car
Exploris is located in Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula. The full address is Exploris Aquarium, The Rope Walk, Castle St, Portaferry BT22 1NZ, UK.
It takes around 1 hour to get to Exploris from Belfast via Newtonards / Bangor. Click here for Google Map / Directions.
There is a public carpark adjacent to Exploris which offers limited free parking onsite. The car park can be accessed by following Exploris signs.
If you are coming from the Downpatrick side of Strangford Lough we would advise coming as a foot passenger on the ferry as Exploris is only a 2-minute walk from the quay.
Alternatively, why not explore the Ards Peninsula after visiting Exploris and you will be amazed by many attractions, activities and eateries that are available to you.
All areas of Exploris are fully accessible. Our staff will endeavour to accommodate any wheelchair user to ensure they get the best out of their visit. We have 3 wheelchairs onsite which can be reserved on request by contacting the Exploris ticketing office on: 028 4272 8062.
The cafe is accessible by wheelchair users via a lift from the ground floor and visitors can enjoy the view over the outdoor pools and otter enclosure.
The Exploris gift shop is also full accessible and is location on the ground floor and our friendly team are available to offer assistance, should you need it. There is also limited seating areas throughout the Aquarium which can be seen as rest points on the tour.
Additional facilities including disabled car parking spaces, disabled toilets and discounted admission for necessary carers are designed to be accessible to guests with disabilities.