I couldn’t visit Boulogne without spending some time at the National Sealife Centre. Unfortunately, it’s not until I enter these places and encounter the ‘underwater viewing areas’ that I remember I have a phobia of fish. To make matters worse, this sealife centre is laid out in a very orderly fashion. You have to pass through each exhibit to reach the next one. Luckily, I didn’t encounter too many scary big fish.
Impressively, Nausicaa is home to 32,000 living creatures. 1000 different species are housed in 36 aquariums which are filled with 4.5 million litres of water. At €18.30 it is by far the most expensive attraction in Boulogne, but well worth setting aside a few hours to visit. Right from the moment you step through the front doors at Nausicaa, the clear message is that they want to help preserve the Earth’s seas and oceans and teach people how to live more sustainable lives. All of us are connected to the sea, and just like every other species on the planet, we need it to survive. I still find it sad to see the loggerhead turtles and sharks swimming back and forth endlessly in their little tanks, but I believe Nausicaa when they say they care about preserving sea life.
The main attraction at Nausicaa, a fairly new addition, are the sea lions.
Sea lions love nothing more than playing and frolicking around together in the water, so giving them an audience only encourages them more. If you want to see how talented these intelligent creatures really are, the trainers host demonstrations at set times during the day. This is where they really get to show off (the animals and the trainers). The sea lions are trained to jump, somersault, lay down, wave, blow a kiss and pick out shapes and letters. And all for their ultimate reward – fish.
There was also a smaller exhibition when I visited Nausicaa, which housed some penguins. Although these cute little creatures aren’t trained like the sea lions, they are still very entertaining to watch.
Whenever a penguin looks at me, I always think they look a bit impatient, like they’ve been waiting for me to do something. A bit like the penguin equivalent of a raised eyebrow.