Cheshire Oaks at Half Term

Half term in Concord, of course, was filled with fun and educational activities, on and off campus. And the last trip during the February half term was a visit to Cheshire Oaks. When we heard that it was going to be a trip to an aquarium and a shopping outlet, the feelings were mixed. To be honest, beforehand, most loved the shopping part, not so much enjoying the marine life…

As we got off the bus at Cheshire Oaks, we were faced with quite an ordinary looking building. “Get into groups please! In order as well!”, Mr Bates shouted. But the dreariness of the group instantly shifted to attraction when we walked inside and saw the jungle-like exhibition on the left. Our group dashed in with no delay, and started to wander around amongst a group of kindergarten students on a visit. ‘Wows’ and exclaims from every single one of us followed. The turtles and reptiles in the first sections were resting on mud and sand, and lazily glanced up and gave us a good stare.

After twists and turns of corridors with exhibitions of ants, spiders and insects, we came to a very cool-looking, impressive glass tube. My jaw dropped when I saw it – a glass tube inside of an enormous tank, which was filled with sharks and fish. We all rushed onto the nearby conveyer belt and started this tremendous adventure ‘underwater’. When I was taking my phone out to catch pictures of the impressive marine life, a huge sting-ray swam by and the entire tube became covered in pitch black darkness. Those 3 minutes of the ‘underwater adventure’ were literally the highlight of the trip. Forget about the outlet, this was so fun! But unexpectedly, there was something even better coming…

We were all called by our teachers and gathered in an amphitheatre-type setting, with a humungous piece of glass in the front, looking towards the fish tank we were travelling through earlier. A staff member from the Blue Planet Aquarium team came up and started to introduce two divers in full diving gear, already in the tank. The presenter, Jess, engaged us with the divers, showing us the pressure gauge and oxygen tanks. It was intriguing. But the main attraction then started… The highlight was the two divers feeding the sharks and fish. When they fed them, I thought vigorous tribes of sharks would attack the bucket of food. But actually, most of the sharks did not even appear. Apparently, sharks are extremely shy. I did not know this before the trip!

Overall, the highlight of Cheshire Oaks turned out to be Blue Planet Aquarium, instead of the shopping outlet as most had originally thought. It was a great day, we learnt a lot, and I felt like I was six again when I was jumping up and down in excitement seeing those sharks swim around. What a day!

Kenneth – F4