Slimy sea creatures celebrated

Youngsters will be getting to grips with some gruesome creatures at Blue Reef this weekend.
Youngsters will be getting to grips with some gruesome creatures at Blue Reef this weekend.

Hayling schools to join forces for family fun day

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Most of the Easter events that have been taking place at nearby family attractions these past two weeks have been sweet and sunny affairs.

There have been pastel bonnet parades, brightly coloured egg hunts, fuzzy chicks and fluffy bunnies.

But, at Blue Reef Aquarium on Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, things are decidedly darker.

Here, the gruesome, grisly, disgusting and dastardly are being celebrated because the theme is ‘Yuck’.

Until Sunday, the aquarium is running a special event dedicated to some of the animal world’s most disgusting members.

As well as finding out all the frightful facts and horrible habits of the animals that live in our seas, families will have an opportunity to get ‘yucky mucky’ with a series of hands-on experiments.

They can meet a selection of creepy-crawlies in special Yucky Animal Encounters. And families can also find out all about these creatures’ horrible habits.

Youngsters even get a chance to get to grips with them under the expert supervision of the aquarists.

It goes without saying that this event is probably not for the faint-hearted. But most children revel in the opportunity to learn something gruesome or see something disgusting.

And, let’s face it, most adults do too.

There will be scenes reminiscent of I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here’s Bush Tucker Trials, as visitors are invited to handle unusual insects. But there will be no eating them here.

Blue Reef’s beliefs are firmly rooted in conservation.

Aquarist Jen Atkinson says: ‘We’re all fascinated by the more disgusting aspects of the animal kingdom and so we decided to dedicate an entire event to the things that make you go ‘yuck!’

‘From fishy slime and starfish that throw up their own stomachs, to gelatinous jellyfish and the disgusting dinners we feed our aquatic inhabitants, there’s loads of gross goings-on.’

There will be a series of other themed activities taking place until Sunday, including Yucky Mucky Mini Tours, rockpool encounters, special talks and animal feeds, in addition to the aquarium’s usual attractions.

For more information, visit