Seahorse World gets you behind the scenes of a real life working seahorse farm.
Seahorse World is located right next to Platypus House on Inspection Head Wharf. The lovely old wharf sits out over the Tamar River in the North East of Tasmania in the picturesque town of Beauty Point. An easy 47 minutes drive from Launceston.
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Seahorse World History
Seahorse World originally began as a breeding program to study the life cycle of the local Tasmanian Pot Bellied Seahorse. This breeding program eventually turned into a commercial business.
The aim of the business was to supply the traditional Chinese medicinal market in an effort to reduce the impact on seahorse numbers taken by harvesting wild seahorse.
Sadly, this business structure wasn’t sustainable as the Chinese medicinal market continued to purchasing wild harvested seahorse due to the cheaper prices.
Seahorse World once again changed business models to supplying the aquarium trade via aquarium stores and public aquariums. As well as conducting seahorse tours to the public.
The Cave Of The Seahorse
The 45 minute guided tour begins in a species aquarium area called the cave of the seahorse.
Walking around the small circular room you’ll see numerous aquariums containing a small variety of different seahorse species from around the world.
Each species has its own aquarium, so you can get a look at the different shapes, sizes, colours and patterns while the tour guide explains a little about each species characteristics.
The Seahorse Farm
The seahorse farm is where the majority of the tour is conducted.
In this room you’ll be able to see every step of the seahorse breeding cycle.
The room is sorted into three sections. These sections include the breeding tanks for the adults, the seahorse nursery for the babies, and the tanks for kindergarten, primary and high school aged seahorse.
The guide explains the fairly unique breeding habits of seahorses and how the seahorses are bred, fed and raised.
You’ll learn how seahorse pairs perform an aquatic dance around each other, fluttering their fins. How the female deposits the eggs inside a pouch on the male. And how the male fertilises the deposited eggs, and carries them until the babies are born.
Once the babies are born, they’re placed into nursery tanks with thousands of others.
Here they are introduced to live food, like the brine shrimp that are hatched onsite.
Baby seahorses stay in the nursery tanks until they are big enough to move into the larger tanks.
These larger tanks are filled with thousands of teenage seahorse getting ready to be shipped out to the aquarium trade.
In these tanks they go through a training phase as they are slowly weaned off live food and onto more solid, frozen foods.
There are so many seahorses in these tanks that they become a giant seahorse blob looking back at you.
Southern Ocean Aquarium
The finale of the tour is in the southern ocean aquarium room. Here you’ll mostly leave the seahorses behind and branch out into the weird and wild creatures of the southern ocean.
Species such as the strangely shaped and critically endangered hand fish. Which Seahorse World is currently attempting to save with their captive breeding program.
You’ll also see giant lobster, the elegant and colourful weedy sea dragons, various species of fish and much more.
For us the highlight of the southern ocean room had to be the giant cuttlefish feeding display and the touch pools, which are great for the children.
Holding A Seahorse
I’ll admit it. When the tour guide invited everyone on the tour the opportunity to hold a seahorse, I had a moment of panic.
Surely they were joking? The seahorses look so small and frail. I was sure they would all be crushed by us giant clumsy human.
But it wasn’t a joke. We were about to make the biggest discovery of the tour!
While seahorses look delicate, they actually have a hard exo-skeleton.
Their bodies are covered in hard bony plates that are fused together and wrapped in a flesh.
That’s right, the seahorse is the Terminator of the ocean!
I’ve watched a heck of a lot of documentaries in my times, but I’ve never heard that interesting seahorse fact before.
So what’s it like? Well, picking up a seahorse really plays with your senses. Your mind is thinking soft and squishy, but your hands are feeling the opposite.
It was totally bizarre experience! But it was a big crowd favourite.
Every child on the tour was in seahorse heaven and it’s certainly a unique experience that you’ll definitely remember.
Miscellaneous Aquarium Room
There is a small aquarium room after the southern ocean room which holds a few crowd favourites such as the clown fish (or Nemo’s), plus some very hard to find pipe fish and various others. It’s even got a shark!
Above the seahorses sits a lovely cafe called The Cormorant, named after the aquatic birds that can be seen outside diving and hunting in the Tamar River.
The cafe has some amazing views and a balcony to get out and enjoy the views over the Tamar River and surrounding mountains of the Tamar Valley.
The food at the cafe was very nice and reasonably priced. And the Tasmanian made Valhalla ice cream is amazing!
- Child: 9.50 AUD (4-16 years)
- Adult: 22 AUD
- Family: 55 AUD (2 Adults, 6 Children)
Seahorse World is open daily.
- December-April from 09:30-16:00
- May-November from 10:00-15:00
Exceptions: Closed Christmas Day.
Check the official website for up to date information.
- Car park
- Gift shop
Address: 200 Flinders Street, Beauty Point, Tasmania, Australia.
Click to view map to Seahorse World.
- If you intend to visit Platypus House and Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre, save money using the Tamar Triple Pass
Seahorse World was a lot of fun. It’s not just an educational tour, but also interesting and unique.
We would definitely recommend it everyone, especially to families with young children.