The official website of Visit Ards and North Down

Exploris Aquarium & Seal Sanctuary


  • Five Star Quality Assurance
Five Star Quality Assurance
The Rope Walk, Castle Street, Portaferry, County Down, BT22 1NZ
a boy and his dad looking at a sea creature in the tank

Book Tickets Online


New Under the Sea Experience Offically opened on 15th August. Book now >> 

Experience our Sea Creatures through an under water Glass tunnel in our new Ocean Tank.

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 around the world.

Your journey will begin with a focus on the lough and Irish Sea where you will get a experience our native species, along with learning about the Viking heritage of Strangford Lough.

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.

Now included on the Aqaurium map is the return of the Stamping trail where you set look out for the stamping stations, answer the trivia questions and stamp your stamp your map as you go!

Whilst at Exploris don’t forget to explore the kids playroom, a two tier aquatic themed indoor soft play area with distinct zones for babies, toddlers and juniors up to 8 years old. The soft play is packed with a numerous exciting features including slides, ball pools, climbers, swings and roller squeezers and is guaranteed to provide endless fun for the little ones.  And new Aquatic themed Kiddie rides.

Then we journey into the new outdoor area, with the Penguins, a second Otter Family and the refurbed duck pond, now the home of Hector the Cappybara.  Seasonal catering provided with BBQ and Ice Creams to enjoy on the outside Picnic Area.

At the end of your visit, (or before you start) don't forget we have The Kracken Fully Licenced Restaurant with a new bistro style menu serving freashly made, locally sourced food.  From home-made scones to a full sit down meal.  

Within the reception of the aquarium you will find Portaferry Local Visitor Information, displaying lots of literature, useful maps and an interactive touchscreen helping you to explore all there is to see and do locally and beyond, staff are on hand to assist with enquiries. Free access to information, shop and café, paid admission to aquarium experience. Open 10:00 – 17:00 daily.

Did you Know we also have night time events? Every Saturday evening, why not try our Night at the Aquarium.  Fully guided tour followed by a 3 course meal in the Licenced Kraken Restaurant.

Book now >> 

Exploris is accessible – for full details of their accessibility features, see Exploris Aquarium | AccessAble.



  • Toilets for disabled visitors - Including adult changing room
  • Wheelchair hire

Attraction Facilities

  • Gift Shop
  • Open Evenings
  • Open Mondays
  • Open Sundays


  • Bar
  • Cater for vegetarians
  • Licensed
  • Local Produce
  • Picnic Area - Outside Only
  • Restaurant on Premises
  • Serve breakfast
  • Serve evening meal
  • Serve lunch
  • Special dietary requirements catered for
  • Tea-room/Cafe onsite

Children & Infants

  • Baby changing facilities
  • Child seat available
  • Children's Menu Available
  • Children's Parties
  • Children's play area
  • Highchairs Available

Establishment Features

  • Accept coach parties
  • Accommodation nearby
  • Available for wedding receptions
  • Cater for Corporate events
  • Cater for individuals
  • Cater for school groups
  • Event venue
  • Family Fun
  • First Aid
  • Gift vouchers
  • Groups accepted
  • Groups catered for
  • Lift/Elevator
  • Lost property
  • Online Booking
  • Route maps available
  • Shop
  • Talks
  • Toilets
  • Visitor information
  • Wi-fi available

Parking & Transport

  • Car parking
  • Coach parking
  • Parking (free)
  • Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors

Payment Methods

  • All major credit/debit cards accepted

Travel & Trade

  • Family Discount

Guide Prices

See website for full price details
For group or school bookings please contact Bobby on tel (028) 4272 8062 option 1
Note: Online discount only available when booking at least 1 day in advance.

Add Exploris Aquarium & Seal Sanctuary to your Itinerary

Close window

Call direct on:

Tel+44 (0) 28 4272 8062

Map & Directions

Opening Times

Open Christmas
Open New Year

* Daily from: 10:00 – 17:00 (Last admission 16:00)
Quiet Sessions: Mon – Sun 16:00 – 17:00
For evening event times please visit our web site

What's Nearby

  1. Portaferry Castle is a 16th Century tower-house, built by the Savage family. It is…

    0.02 miles away
  2. Situated on the hill south east of the town below the stump of Portaferry Windmill, a lay…

    0.46 miles away
  3. These ruined churches are situated one and a half miles north east of Portaferry on the…

    1.5 miles away
  1. The church at St Cooey’s Wells is thought to date from the 7th century but only the…

    2.91 miles away
  2. Owned by the National Trust, it is a picturesque 18th century fishing village with scenic…

    3.55 miles away
  3. Within it are the ruins of a medieval church which is believed to be the Church of…

    3.83 miles away
  4. Ballyquintin Nature Reserve includes Ballyquintin Point at the tip of the Ards Peninsula,…

    3.88 miles away
  5. On the coast, two thirds of a mile south east of Cloughey village. This house appears to…

    4.03 miles away
  6. Traditionally believed to have been built by Roland Savage of Ballygalget in 1622,…

    5.44 miles away
  7. Discover how Echlinville Distillery captures the flavour, colour and mouthfeel of their…

    6.23 miles away
  8. The Livingston Centre at Killinchy Parish Church is a local heritage centre. It tells the…

    8.15 miles away
  9. Sketrick Castle is located on Sketrick Island which is reached by a causeway on the west…

    8.37 miles away
  10. Burr Point, the most easterly point on the island.

    8.69 miles away
  11. Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has…

    8.98 miles away
  12. This ruined Tower House commands a position at the north end of Mahee Island in…

    9.17 miles away
  13. Grey Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey church and its living quarters were founded in 1193 by…

    10.74 miles away
Previous Next

Map & Directions

Road Directions

Directions from Town:Take A20 from Newtownards to Portaferry or take Ferry from Strangford to Portaferry, by car or on foot. Exploris is signposted.

View Maps and Visitor Guides
View of what Ards and North Down has to offer and some of the best things to see and do during a visit.
E-newsletter sign up
Sign up for the Ards and North Down newsletter for inspiration and travel tips.
Back to Top

Tourism Northern Ireland

Don't Miss