On a chilly Welsh winter day we thought we would escape to a tropical paradise, or at least the next best local alternative – the Blue Planet Aquarium at Cheshire Oaks.
Although there isn’t an accessibility guide on the website, there is a page providing information on the general accessibility – info on lifts, ramps, etc; and having visited previously we didn’t anticipate any difficulties access-wise.
The disabled spaces aren’t particularly well marked, but plenty can be found opposite the entrance. It is a flat level walk to the entrance, and there are automatic doors.
I was able to enter as Emily’s carer, so it cost £12.95 for the 2 of us (or £11.66 if bought online). As you enter the main concourse it is level entry to all the areas, and there are lifts on either side.
One of the favourites here is the Aquatheatre, a wonderful window on the underwater world. There are at least 3 dive shows daily.
It is very atmospheric in the Aquatheatre, there is plenty of space but take care moving around as it is dimly lit, (understandably as this enables you to appreciate the view). There is 1 step up to have a closer look (also slightly dimly lit), Emily found this view mesmerising! If you are feeling brave there are Shark Dive experiences available. Personally I prefer a nice piece of reinforced glass between me and fish with teeth…
Following on from the Aquatheatre is the Aqua Tunnel, which follows it’s way round beneath the enormous tank you view from the Aquatheatre. On this particular day the moving walkway wasn’t operating, but for us this was a good thing as Emily would have struggled with balance and found this disorientating combined with the water and lights moving around us.
The café – Nautilus Kitchen serves hot food and kids lunch boxes. It has level access and free-standing chairs. We had a breakthrough here – Emily mastered a straw for the first time and was very proud of herself!!
Blue Planet has disabled toilet facilities, the nearest Changing Places facility is at the Ellesmere Port Sports Village approximately 5 minutes drive away (CH65 9LB).
Overall Blue Planet is very accessible on all levels and disabled parking is opposite the entrance. Have a look at the website for all the exhibitions, shows and essential info – www.blueplanetaquarium.com and transport yourself into an underwater tropical world for an hour or 2.