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Aquarium and Planetarium get makeover as National Museums Liverpool boosts family fun

National Museums Liverpool reopens to the public, there will be plenty of covid-safe activities in venue and online for all the family to lift your lockdown but the Aquarium and Planetarium at World Museum will be closed temporarily, as exciting new changes happen behind-the-scenes!

Anne Fahy, Head of World Museum, said of reopening on 18 May: “From day one at World Museum, we will open the doors to our blockbuster exhibition, AI: More than Human, with carefully-controlled visitor numbers, and our usual galleries including the much-loved Ancient Egypt and Space galleries. We will also be introducing a new series of book-able family activities starting with Up Close With: Rainforests.

“The Aquarium and Planetarium will be temporarily closed, as we make improvements to them so that your future visits will be all the more enjoyable. We are really excited about the Aquarium changes, which include some lovely new tanks and our brand-new octopus, Polpo. There is also an immersive element to the Aquarium reopening which we’ll say more about later! In the Planetarium, we are completely updating our technology with new shows, ultra-high-definition and surround sound. We are also adding more accessible shows so that more visitors can enjoy the magic of a Planetarium experience. These shows change your perspective of the Universe and our place within it.”

AQUARIUM: Ever seen a Yellow Belly Slider or a Chocolate Chip Starfish?

The refurbished aquarium at World Museum will reopen to the public in time for the summer holidays.

We’re replacing five of our tanks, and redesigning some of the other areas within the gallery. We will be able to display more animals including, for the first time, a common octopus called Polpo, who travelled to us from Portugal.

One of our new tanks will be dedicated to species of wrasse found in the Irish sea, including the brightly-coloured blue and pink Cuckoo wrasse, with a second window for extra viewing. We’re making a new home for our mangrove fish and bigger tanks for some of our existing animals. Visitors will also discover more about the world our animals live in and how all of us can help to protect them as the Museum emphasises its educational role around biodiversity.

Our fish are receiving their usual daily care in a special area at the back of the Museum. Ben Mitchell, Learning and Participation Manager (Live Centres) at World Museum, is responsible for looking after the animals in the aquarium and bug house as well as running our education sessions. Ben says: “The Aquarium side of my job includes everything from medical treatments and health checks to water quality testing and much more besides. One of the things I’m most excited about is we’re going to be getting a specialised tank so that we can have a common octopus in our aquarium for the first time. We’ve called her Polpo! She is one of two octopus species that live in the UK. In the past, if you’ve seen octopuses in our aquarium, you’ll have seen a smaller species called the lesser octopus.”