Exploris Aquarium

“A unique visitor attraction and research centre on the shores of Strangford Lough” - AA Inspector



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Exploris Aquarium is Northern Ireland's only public aquarium and now includes a seal sanctuary. Situated in Portaferry on the shores of Strangford Lough it houses some of Europe's finest displays. The Open Sea Tank holds 250 tonnes of sea water. The complex includes a park with duck pond, picnic area, children's playground, caravan site, woodland and bowling green.

Exploris Aquarium
The Rope Walk, Castle Street, PORTAFERRY, Co Down, BT22 1NZ


  • Parking onsite
  • Parking nearby
  • Cafe
  • Fully accessible
  • Facilities: 2 lifts within complex
  • Accessible toilets
Opening times
  • Open all year
  • Opening Times: Closed for refurbishment until Aug 2016. Usually open all year, Apr-Aug, Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 11-6, Sun 12-6; Sep-Mar, Mon-Fri 10-5, Sat 11-5, Sun 1-5

About the area

Discover County Down

Geographically, County Down seems to put a long arm around Strangford Lough, over 70 square miles of water. The arm is the Ards Peninsula, the most easterly part of Ireland.

Strangford Lough is a ria (a drowned estuary), caused by rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age It is dotted with some 70 small islands, actually the highest points of drowned drumlins (small rounded hills) formed of material left behind by glaciers. The Lough is home to large flocks of wintering wildfowl that congregate on the mudflats surrounding its shores. About 9 square miles of the lough are a designated reserve for this reason.

Bangor is at the top of the peninsula, and with its picturesque seafront promenades, a charming marina and many shops and restaurants, it is regularly voted the most desirable place to live in Northern Ireland. Much of the town dates from the Victorian era with some historic buildings as well as some more modern development, and one of the largest open-air markets in Northern Ireland.

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