Matlock Bath gets its name from the natural thermal springs in the area. The aquarium used to be a Victorian swimming bath (now converted into the Koi Carp pool) and then someone had the additional idea of using the constantly flowing warm water to have a tropical fish exhibition.
The aquarium is small, but that is reflected in the asking price of £3.30 each. There's an interesting variety of tropical fish in a series of tanks, most of which had a electronic photo gadget telling you what was in there- although not all were working on our visit.
As above, the original Victorian swimming bath now houses several large koi carp which have grown fat from the several feeds they get each day- for an additional 50p per handful there are a number of converted sweet dispensers which give out fish food.
There is also a 'petrified well'- as the spring water is heavily calcified coming through the local limestone, put anything under a spray of the water long enough and it effectively becomes covered in a layer of stone. The victorians started this habit and now there's a eclectic collection of items e.g. bottles and shoes that have a layer of stone.
Finally, there is also a 'hologram exhibition' of about 40 holographic pictures. The kids found these fascinating, but the room they were in was otherwise very sparse. Enya was the background music!
Gains a 4 star rating because of it's price. It needs some investment as it's a touch tatty in places, and exits into arcades always annoy me (London Aquarium being the worst offender), but it doesn't overcharge you for what they have. There's more potential with the place- I'd love to know a bit more about the history and geology- but what is there is nicely done.
If you've a spare hour or just about two, you won't be disappointed.
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