Looking at brightly-coloured fish in glowing tanks is up there on my list of rainy-day activities that please a baby and toddler at once. Even better when the tanks are at toddler eye-height and entrance is free for under-3s.
If this sounds good then the Horniman Museum aquarium is worth a visit.
It’s a small aquarium (good, for keeping an excited toddler in sight – pretty much meets my criteria for surviving trips with a baby and toddler) but still has a range of tanks including a rock pool with waves, those dreamy moon jellyfish and a rainforest area which includes these incredible poison-arrow frogs.
Fans of Nemo/Dory movies can gather round a tropical tank that includes those fish that are no longer called anything other than Nemos and Dorys except by marine biologists. The Dory kept hiding when we were last there, perhaps because he’s had enough of the attention.
When you’ve seen enough jewel-like creatures there’s the rest of the museum to explore (it’s free), a large park and gardens to explore (with places to picnic if the weather is good enough) and a busy but family-friendly cafe (high chairs, extra seating available in the conservatory when the cafe is full).
There are lots of events at the Horniman, including free sessions for Under-5s every Tuesday and Wednesday: I haven’t tried these yet but the details are here.
In other news, I can now spell aquarium…
What: Horniman Museum Aquarium
Where: Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, see here for how to get there. It’s a (very uphill) 10 minute walk or else bus ride from Forest Hill station, which is on the overground from Whitechapel if you’re coming from East London.
When: Daily, 10.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.
How much: the Museum itself is free but you need to get a ticket at the front desk for the aquarium, which is free to under-3s and otherwise: Child £2.20; Adult: £4.40; Family £9.90 (including 10% voluntary Gift Aid donation)
Facilities and access: the Museum and park are buggy and wheelchair accessible. There are lifts, disabled toilet, baby changing facilities and a buggy park. The cafe has lots of highchairs. The Museum does get very busy, especially during school holidays.