Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Sea-Life centres!

It occurred to me the other day how insanely brilliant the underwater tunnels at Sea-Life centres are. The idea of looking up at the fish from beneath the water is ingenious, and in reality, I could spend hours sitting in those perspex tunnels. From above, the water shimmers and the light refracts, making the fish less visible. From the side, the view is clear, yes, but from below, you are surrounded by the water and the animals, and you really feel as if you're having a magical experience. The idea was so revolutionary that it has been incorporated as the main attraction in every iteration of the Sea-Life centre, and any other halfway decent aquarium, from the Blue Planet in Ellesmere Port (awesome day out) to the Aquarium of the Lakes, on the shore of lake Windemere, where it is used to display ducks (it's still brilliant, because the ducks dive, and their little feet paddle around and it's really cute).
The underwater tunnels are a distinctive mark of a good aquarium, and the unorthodox thinking that came up with them is admirable. It's a remarkable way to present you with information in a museum- by literally surrounding you with the remarkable source of the information, and making you really want to watch.

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