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Europe’s largest aquarium and marine reserve

Dive into the heart of the ocean at Europe’s largest aquarium for an unforgettable experience that will bring you closer to our world beneath the waves. 

Situated on the seafront in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, Nausicaá is a world-renowned marine biology centre for learning and a haven for marine enthusiasts and conservationists alike.

It’s a great family day out. Through a series of unique exhibition areas, you’ll come face to face with more than 58,000 sea creatures in their natural habitats.

Clever technology, lighting and sound will transport you to fragile marine ecosystems across the globe. You’ll feel completely immersed in an underwater world as you discover more about the magnificent sea creatures that inhabit our oceans and how we can protect them.

An inclusive educational experience for all ages

Nausicaá is a must for anyone of any age with a fascination for the sea.

It’s perfect for families, with plenty of kids’ activities, hands-on exhibitions and lots of marine creatures to see – and even touch.

Lovers of immersive experiences can gain a unique perspective of our undersea world. Those with a particular interest in marine conservation can delve deeper through interactive information boards, daily education programmes and conversations with experts on hand.

Nausicaá is accessible to all, with a specially created circuit suitable for buggies, wheelchairs and those who may need additional assistance.

Europe’s largest aquarium and marine reserve
An inclusive educational experience for all ages

Navigating your way around the aquarium 

Make sure to visit all three exhibition areas to discover the mysteries of the deep:

  • Mankind and Shores
  • Journey on the High Seas
  • Into the Eye of the Climate

Each area invites you to experience a different aspect of our marine universe. You’ll explore our vital co-existence with our seas and oceans and learn more about the challenges that now threaten our blue planet. There are plenty of things to do with kids.

See wonders of nature up close

Come face to face with the 16,000 species of animals expertly cared for at the aquarium. Specially designed enclosures, glass tunnels and walls – the largest a whopping 100m2 – will give you an uninterrupted window into their world.

Shiver at a shark’s toothy smile, watch graceful rays in flight, meet a colony of mischievous Cape penguins and play hide and seek with a family of sea lions.

You can see the life that teems just below the surface in local waters and even venture further afield to view multicoloured tropical reef fish and vibrant corals. It’s fun for kids as they spot the scaly inhabitants of mangrove swamps and marvel at the mysterious creatures that illuminate the abyss.

Six maritime must-sees

No visit to Nausicaá would be complete without experiencing these maritime must-sees:

Touch Pool – Come and stroke the fish! You’ll be entranced by the behaviour of the curious rays as they seek out your touch.

Kingdom of the Shark – Meet the ocean’s ultimate predator, now under threat from mankind. Learn more about these magnificent and greatly misunderstood creatures and come face to face with several species of shark.

Ride a storm aboard The Thalassa –Step aboard this life-size reconstruction of a research vessel and learn about the work of a marine scientist.

The Tunnel –Take a walk under the ocean through an immersive glass tunnel stretching over 18 metres. Stroll among majestic rays as shoals of sardines swim in synchronicity.

Grand Large – Journey to the high seas with ocean giants in this new spectacular augmented reality experience. You won’t believe your eyes as huge 3D holograms burst from the waters. A leatherback turtle will be your guide as you meet creatures including a whale shark, sunfish and Bryde’s whale.

Into the Eye of the Climate – Step into a climate observation teleportation module for a virtual journey around the planet. On the way you’ll encounter polar harp seals, dive with sperm whales and narwhals and spot squirrel monkeys in the forests of South America.

Food for thought

All this exploring will work up an appetite, so head to the Calypso Café to savour delicious snacks and regional dishes sourced from local suppliers – all while enjoying the stunning sea view.

At the aptly named Beach-side Bistro you can also tuck into hot sandwiches, desserts, ice creams and a wide range of refreshments. Or head to the Tropical Lagoon Bar and watch the vibrant sea life as you dine.

If you’re looking for picnic ideas for kids, then you can bring your own lunch to enjoy on the beach or in the covered picnic area inside.

Places to visit…

No trip is complete without a visit to the Nausicaá shop where you will find gifts that include fair trade toys, crafts made from recycled materials and mouth-watering gourmet treats. You can even take home a shark tooth – the ultimate renewable gift – as the creatures frequently replace them with new ones!

Plan your visit Nausicaá

Nausicaá is open all year round from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm but will close from January 9–27 in 2023.

Tickets can be bought in advance on the website. Tickets for adults (12+) cost €28.50, and children (3–12) pay €21.50. The discounted family rate for one adult and three children (not available during July and August) is €24 for adults and €18 for children. Seniors, students, job seekers and those with disabilities pay €25. Annual passes are available and cost €65 for adults and €50 for children.

Find out more about the region and book your stay.

View website

How to get to Nausicaá  

Boulevard Sainte-Beuve, 62, 200 Boulogne-sur-Mer
By car: Just 2 hours from London, Paris and Brussels. Follow the signs for the aquarium in Boulogne, and you’ll find plenty of parking.
By train: Boulogne city train station is a 30-minute walk from the aquarium or 10 minutes by bus on Line F.
By ferry: Less than a 30-minute walk from the main port in Boulogne, or come by boat and moor in the marina, just a few hundred metres from Nausicaá.