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Living Coasts

Did you know South American fur seals can swim at speeds of 25 mph? Or that penguins live on the South African coast, not just in cold climates? You'll find out at Living Coasts, Torquay's best seafront visitor attraction which opened in July 2003.

Run by Paignton Zoo, it invites visitors to "live life on the edge" by bringing the coastal habitats of plants and animals to the waterfront of Tor Bay. Unusually, Living Coasts gives visitors the chance to observe animal behaviour not easily seen in the wild. A spacious meshed aviary allows seabirds free flight, while the underwater viewing of fur-seals, penguins and other species at play is utterly absorbing. The objective of the designers was to create an impression of space and of being "immersed" in natural habitats.

A visit here also offers an education in marine mammal and bird conservation by allowing visitors to discover each different habitat and how this can be affected by human activity - both positively and negatively.

Plant species featured at Living Coasts include dog roses, wild cabbages, the lesser periwinkle and Butcher's broom, while animal species found here include African and Gentoo penguins, tufted puffins, the Inca tern and a number of South American fur seals.

As well as a café, there is also an à la carte restaurant, Azure, which has the best panoramic views of Tor Bay to be found anywhere along the waterfront.

A South American fur seal at Living Coasts

Living Coasts Information

When: Daily

Where: Torquay

Cost: £5.50; children £3.90

Opening Hours: 10am-6pm (until dusk in winter)

Address: Beacon Quay, Torquay, TQ1 2BG

Hotels near Living Coasts

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