“Exploris has seen a fantastic refurbishment which showcases Portaferry as a true tourist destination and is an economic boost for the entire Ards peninsula.”
Kellie Armstrong | Alliance Strangford MLA
Refurbished, modern aquarium boosts tourism in Portaferry.
The project included the complete modernisation and refurbishment of the external and internal areas of the Exploris Aquarium, café and gift shop and was delivered by Henry Brothers for Kier through the National Minor Works framework.
The work was carried out in three phases within eleven separate areas. A specialist interior and artworks design and delivery sub-contractor employed to undertake the extensive theming and exhibits within the aquarium.
The meeting rooms and male and female WC areas were stripped of all existing fixtures and fittings, floor and wall tiles. New toilet cubicles, vanity units and all associated fittings, new floor tiles, wall tiles and ceilings were installed together with decoration.
Extensive mechanical and electrical refurbishments were included. Mechanical works involved the replacement of the existing boiler and pumpsets, chillers, air conditioning and sanitary wear. Electrical works included a new switchboard, emergency lighting, fire and intruder alarms, PA and CCTV system and general power installation.
The reception area required a complete strip out including new reception desk, fixtures, and equipment and canvas artworks. New flooring and walling were constructed from moisture resistant materials. A new waterfall was installed to create a pleasant atmosphere for visitors on arrival with the sound of running water.
A Smugglers cove area and pirate exhibition was created with pirate themed artefacts and murals, such as a cannon feature, chests, barrels, flags, palm trees and foliage to add colour and interest to this element of the aquarium.
Externally, a new otter exhibit was created, this purpose built external enclosure was constructed adjacent to the seal pools.
Leisure and recreation