Before you start your adventure through the centre a staff member invites you to have a photo taken and if you agree you take a seat and they take some quick snaps of you, you are given a ticket, and you can purchase the photo at the end of the centre. The photo is superimposed with either crocodiles at your feet or one with giant crabs - we went with the giant crab this year, as last year we got a photo with the crocodiles.
The centre as you would expect is full of big tanks, and lots of different sea-life species. Everything was clean, tidy and well presented. They have many different feed and talk times throughout the day, tons of information and fact boards, as well as friendly staff on hand to help and answer any questions - one thing I did notice was the passion and the enthusiasm the staff members had - this was catching and made us enjoy the visit that much more!
Our route through the centre took us to:
- Ship-wrecked display - with lots of massive fish and conger eels on display.
- Jelly fish displays - we walked through the darkened walls, to see the jelly fish illuminated whilst they swam in there tanks. Did you know - Jellyfish have no blood, no heart and no brain, and their bodies consist 95% of water!
- Penguins (Humbolt) - A gorgeous group of penguins, with a big tank you can watch whilst they swim, or you can go to the top of the tank and watch them from above whilst they plod around on land.
- Sea-life nursery - we see the cutest little baby rays.
- Tropical and Rockpool - The boys got to touch a star-fish, and also let a shrimp clean their hand - which felt so weird.
- Crocodiles - these were small crocs (African dwarf), with some tortoises in the display tank.
- Dragons den - more fish, and turtle tanks. The boys liked the puffer fish.
- Shark and Ocean tunnel - a massive tank (million-litre underwater tank) with a tunnel you can walk through, and watch the Nurse and Zebra sharks swim over you, with some really big turtles.
- Pirate Cove - more fish and an Octopus living in a tank full of toys.
- Conservation area - educational area on the importance of conservation for the Sea-horses, and also information on the Whales & Dolphins Campaign
- Nemo's cave - Lots of different and colourful tropical fish, but the Clownfish is always a hit with the kids.
- Claws - The Japanese spider crab - and they were huge! Interesting fact, they have the largest leg span of any arthropod, reaching up to 3.8 metres and weighing up to 41 pounds.
|Jacob with the giant crabs|
At the end of the centre is the photo Kiosk, and here you can check your photo the staff member took at the start of the visit, and purchase it, with prices starting from £8, and you can choose from fridge magnets, key-rings, wallet snaps and 9x7s. The full set will set you back £20. The centre also has a gift shop, with an array of gifts, a restaurant (with some good deals), and a soft play area for the children.
What I like about the Sea-life centre is the message they deliver, they actively work hard on there conservation campaigns (Whales & Dolphins). In addition throughout the centre they house a few species which are on the endangered list (Humbolt penguins, the Dwarf Crocs etc..). Some of the species have been rescued and cannot be released into the wild, or some have been bred as part of the Sea-life conservation project; they breed and re-home 9 different Sea-horse species, which I did not realise are an endangered species. The educational side is done in an interactive and fun way for both children and adults. There is so much to learn, experience, and see here, I would recommend it to anyone who has not been.