The newly reopened Exploris Aquarium has announced it will offer ‘quiet times’ each week for children and adults with disabilities.

Northern Ireland’s only aquarium, Exploris, officially reopened in mid August after a closure of nearly two years.

The under-threat Portaferry attraction was saved in February when an investment of £2 million was given the go-ahead to allow a full refurbishment.

Exploris Aquarium2 Source - Facebook

Crumlin Road Gaol Ltd is the new operator of Northern Ireland’s only aquarium, with support from Ards and North Down Borough Council and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

As well as new enclosures for the wide range of fish and aquatic species the aquarium previously accommodated, the new Exploris retains its seal sanctuary and incorporates specially constructed living environments for otters.

Asian short claw otters, Bourgon and Sungari. Source - Facebook

Now, the Portaferry tourist attraction has taken the move to offer a special time for those with disabilities to come along with ‘quiet times’ for disabled children and adults each week.

It comes after Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong pushed for the move just weeks after the Co Down tourist attraction reopened.

The move will see special provision given every Thursday between 4pm-6pm at Exploris in Portaferry for those with conditions such as autism, AD/HD, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and others to enjoy the tourist attraction in quieter surroundings while being closed to the general public.

A diver's view of marine life at Exploris

It will start on Thursday, September 8, from 4pm and groups of 20 will be allowed in the aquarium in 15 minute slots.

The new provisions will allow these families to enjoy the same experience, but in their own space without having to wait in any busy queues and crowds.

It comes after the aquarium experienced large crowds since its popular reopening to the public.

There is additional possibility that the scheme will be extended with openings on Sundays a possibility in the future.

Check out Exploris Aquarium on Facebook here.

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