Nausicaá, Boulogne-sur-Mer

  • Family activities
  • France
  • 5 min read
Nausicaá, Boulogne-sur-Mer

Wander among sharks, sea lions and beautiful coral reefs in the biggest aquarium in Europe. Just 45 minutes from our Calais terminal!

Enjoy an unforgettable experience at Nausicaá, the largest aquarium in Europe. Get up close with thousands of marine creatures and sea life, from sharks to sea lions, turtles to jellyfish. Plus, learn about the importance of the seas for the health of the planet, and the challenges they face in a warming world.

For anyone spending some time in Hauts-de-France, Nausicaá aquarium is a fantastic family  day out. It is more or less on the doorstep of our terminal, so why not dive in at the start of your holiday?

Where is Nausicaá aquarium?

The Nausicaá National Sea Life Centre is in the town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, a busy fishing port on the Opal Coast.

Driving to Nausicaá from Calais

The Nausicaá aquarium is only a 45-minute drive (toll-free) from Le Shuttle’s terminal at Calais. When arriving in Boulogne-sur-Mer on the A16 motorway, take exit 29 or 32, and follow the signs to the aquarium.

Exclusive offer for LeShuttle customers - 15% off entrance fee

LeShuttle customers can enjoy a discount of 15% on their entrance fee to Nausicaá. To redeem the offer, simply hand in your LeShuttle ticket (travel hanger) at the Nausicaá entrance. You also get a free audio guide. Find out more about this offer. 

Things to see and do

aquariumNausicaá is home to 40 species of fish and marine animals

The largest aquatic tank in Europe

Nausicaá houses the largest aquatic tank in Europe, containing 10,000 cubic metres of water. 40 species of fish and marine animals call it home, including sharks, rays and shoals of exotic fish as well as beautiful varieties of coral. Standing beside the glass window of the aquarium, or sitting in the tiered seats, you see the great spectacle of the ocean all around you – huge manta rays swooping over your head, shoals of herrings dancing by, sandbar sharks brooding menacingly. An amazing sight!

‘In The Eye of The Climate’ exhibition

In the Eye of the Climate is an immersive visual exhibition at Nausicaá, where you are confronted by the startling consequences of climate change.

On floor-to-ceiling screens covering an area of 430m2 , you see houses teetering on the edge of cliffs, melting ice caps and the effect of rising sea levels. You also discover marine ecosystems and the essential role played by the oceans in climate regulation. It is a truly thought provoking experience which will sadden and shock but also inspire and empower you. The aim of the exhibition is to propose solutions and for people to discover their power to act and bring about change.

The touch tank

aquarium nausicaaGet hands-on at the Touch Tank | © Anne-Sophie Flament

The touch tank at Nausicaá aquarium gives children the chance to get hands-on with some marine fauna. The fish in the touch tank are cold water fish and are common to the North Sea and the Atlantic. Species like ray, cod, turbot and halibut gather in the pool, where they let you stroke them or swim to your hands for a caress!

Stars of the Touch Tank are the Thornback ray and the small-spotted catshark. Yes, you can touch a shark! 

The jellyfish at Nausicaá aquarium

There are lots of jellyfish at Nausicaá – partly because they are a form of plankton and the first link in the marine food chain. But also because the seas have more jellyfish than ever before, as climate change makes the water warmer and less suitable for some of their predators. In several of the aquarium’s exhibitions you can marvel at the balletic beauty and radiance of different species, such as the moon jellyfish, the compass and the golden jellyfish.

Plus, you are quite safe and won’t get a nasty sting!

Watch the sealions from a glass tunnel

aquariumFully immerse yourself in the 18-metre long tunnel | © Anne-Sophie Flament

You can cross the huge tank via an 18-metre-long tunnel, which takes you onto the sea bed of the Ocean. Stroll around among manta rays in the calm, soothing atmosphere, and duck when a grey shark skims over your head!

Sea lions swim all around you. They are one of the all-time favourite animals of Nausicaá. Hunted for their fur and meat, sea lions were close to extinction towards the end of the 20th century. They have now been saved, and at Nausicaá aquarium they entertain visitors with their daily physicals under the watchful eye of their trainers, or just laze around on the rocks in the Californian reserve.   

The impressive lord of the seas

You will see a vast array of sharks at Nausicaá aquarium – from big to small, scary to, well, not quite so scary. You might be surprised by exactly how many different varieties of shark there are, and how so many are nothing like the conventional image of the great white shark, the ‘lord of the seas’. At Nausicaá there are sand tiger sharks, leopard sharks, nurse, carpet, zebra, bull and spotted hound sharks.

Giants of the High Seas

nausicaa aquarium giants of the high seas

The Giants of the High Seas is the latest augmented reality experience at Nausicaá, in which you discover the little-known and inaccessible world of the deep sea and meet the majestic animals that inhabit it. The setting for the experience are the waters around Malpelo Island, a Pacific zone which is a major habitat for endangered marine life and a focus for many of the exhibitions at Nausicaá.

Wearing a set of AR smart glasses, you enter an immersive, sensorial and spectacular experience, right in the heart of the ocean. The leatherback turtle will accompany you on your journey, bringing you into contact with breathtaking species such as the whale shark, giant jellyfish and Bryde’s whale. You learn more about what is hidden in the deepest reaches of the ocean, and about the biodiversity and environment of Malpelo Island.

The Giants of the High Seas is projected onto a 100mwindow, and the experience is included in your Nausicaá entrance ticket.

Fun facts about Nausicaá aquarium

Here are some things you might not know about Nausicaá, the second most popular tourist attraction in France north of Paris:

  • It is home to 58,000 animals
  • Encompassing 1,600 different species
  • 17,000m3: the total volume of water at Nausicaá
  • 10,000m3: the volume of water in the biggest tank in Europe
  • It takes 6 weeks to completely fill the big tank
  • There are 2,000 births a year

nausiccaThe zebra shark, to be found in the tropical lagoon

Book your trip to Nausicaá aquarium with LeShuttle

Coral jungles, tropical lagoons and touching moments with sharks: Nausicaá is a fantastic family day out, with plenty to ponder amid the wonder.

Getting to Nausicaá via LeShuttle is just a 35-minute crossing below the seas from Folkestone to Calais, and then a 45-minute hop by car from our terminal.

Open a LeShuttle account today to stay up-to-date with travel information, holiday inspiration and special offers.

Get 15% off entry to Nausicaá
See this and some of our other special offers below

Become a member

Become a LeShuttle member and securely store, manage and use your information for faster and easier bookings - also now available on iOS and Android!
Indicative screenshot of the LeShuttle App
Travel updates and alerts direct to your phone
Simple, seamless bookings
Access your ticket and booking in one place
24/7 in-app customer service
App Store logo Google Play logo