Mention fish to many children and they'll either bounce around with glee at the thought of the bread-crumbed finger-shaped variety, or salivate (as I am doing) at the prospect of a Friday night's chippy tea, topped-off with a big old chunk of battered cod. But, to adapt a well-known welfare campaign strap-line, fish are also for the oceans, not just dinner.
At an aquarium, I can guarantee 99% of youngsters will, at some point, look excitedly aghast at some of the creatures swimming and lurking in the 'rocky' surroundings - I certainly did during my first trip to one, which was the London Zoo Aquarium many years ago.
Nowadays, the capital's flagship piscatorial palace, the London Sealife Aquarium to give it its full name, sits proudly within the old County Hall near Waterloo and Westminster tubes and welcomes around 1 million visitors a year - that's a lot of fishy fans, out there.
There are over 500 species from all over the globe, including 40 sharks, some of which you can have swimming below you as you walk across a special glass bottomed walkway!! There are interactive feeding times throughout the day, as well as diving displays and touching pools. 3 floors of sea-life right in the centre of London is going to impress even the most-hardened of sulkies!! They've even got penguins - and everybody loves penguins, right?
Despite its enormous popularity, there are pretty much always tickets available and the centre is now booking until 2013. For the 2011 summer holidays, there are also tickets available priced at £17 for adults, £12 for 3 to 15 year olds or £14 for students and disabled customers, Kids under 3 go free! Your visit will take over an hour, with last entry during the summer being 7pm.
NB - The aquarium does advise that you visit from mid- afternoon, if you are bringing buggies and younger children - this is due to the sheer numbers of tourists in the first half of the day.