SEALIFE centres are located all around Britain and we have had the opportunities to visit 6 of them using our annual Merlin passes. The locations we have been are Great Yarmouth, London, Blackpool, Birmingham, Hunstanton and Manchester, they might all be sea life centres but are they very different? is it worth going to more than 1? would the experience be different?
SEALIFE Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth was our home town for many years so we have had the fortune to visit there many times. We’ve seen exhibitions come and go while some existing for years. Being a busy seaside resort it’s often very busy over the summer months but we have had the chance to go when it’s quieter to really enjoy it. It’s probably the most bog standard all round version, no real thrills but a moderate amount of everything. Whether being the main tanks, mini tanks and pools, penguins, and exhibitions including an interactive submarine. It’s a good way to sample a bit of everything.
Hunstanton SEALIFE Sanctuary
Hunstanton SEALIFE Sanctuary, much like Great Yarmouth is a seaside town, not to the level of Yarmouth but located around the north Norfolk coast nearer Kings Lynn. Its actually a seal sanctuary based on its location and this a big part of the centre, it much like great Yarmouth has a bit of all sort, not huge but a little bit of everything, however, it’s penguin Beach display is much larger, and it has a unique seal display. These two displays are nice especially the seals, you can also see them in their hospital etc…
SEALIFE Manchester version is located within the Trafford shopping centre, on the edge near the lego discovery center, this whole area has been rejuvenated over the years. Even this part of the shopping centre (on the edge of it) is currently having a makeover. This sealife is almost a mini version, it still has a few things to see with different tanks and exhibitions, so I’m probably being harsh. However it’s focus seems to be more on the Turtle exhibitions, but as I said there are very similar exhibitions and layout to the other locations, but if it’s quiet you could blitz this fairly fast as compared to the others, it has that smaller feel.
Blackpool SEALIFE Centre is a little odd, it’s located on the promenade but amongst the arcades and buildings etc. I Heard that it use to be in the Main Tower building? but I assume it got too big and moved, it’s now upstairs amongst the arcades, That’s the odd part, there’s a small greeting area then up some stairs, the Exit is even stranger as it’s down some pretty steep steps and out of the fire exit type door. That’s how it feels, your leaving via the fire exit (odd) However!! for how compact you think it would it be, it isn’t, there is constantly something to look at, far more per square footage than any of the others.
With all the themed areas including a stingray Adventure (its different theme compared to the others), Ocean Tunnel, Rockpools and all the other little displays similar to other locations. It was surprisingly detailed with every wall, floor and display themed for underwater. No dead zones or just plain walls etc.
National SEALIFE Centre Birmingham
Birmingham National SEALIFE Centre is located around NIA, where there are many good and places to visit. Being the centre of Birmingham it’s very easy to get to, however! It’s a weird layout! As a parent with a pushchair, it’s a windy ramp with lifts to come back down.
The Isles are wider enough, and it is deceivingly big, but located on 3 floors it’s a pain. On the plus side, there’s is a lot to see, much like Great Yarmouth, there’s a bit of everything but more of it. The Penguin display is good, the Octopus Hideout display is possibly the best thing there.
SEALIFE London Aquarium
The London SEALIFE Aquarium is located on the south bank and surrounded by other big attractions like the London Eye, London Dungeons, Shreks adventure. It’s much larger than the others and located on several floors, however, unlike Birmingham, it doesn’t feel cramped and it’s easier to navigate with a pushchair etc… It has almost all of the other displays compared to those SEALIFE centres, the main pool, however, spans several floors and you can view these on each floor. Full of big sharks, turtles and various fish etc..
The Displays are bigger and more spacious, the penguin, stingray, shark displays are all much larger and the Rainforest Adventure is particularly detailed and sets a difference to the others. It’s a great place to visit and you can take a while to take it all in, with it being London it’s no surprise its the biggest and got everything but on the flip its often very busy.
To answer my questions its simply a yes, each one of the sea life centres is slightly different, the principles are the same, main pool Ocean Tunnel, interactive pools, various displays ranging from jellyfish to crocodiles, turtles, penguins, Stingrays. But they all differ and you can enjoy something in each, as each one is unique, with Merlin passes they are a great addition to your day out or an afternoon filler. These are miles apart so for many you might have only seen 1 or 2 near you. If you love Fish, especially Kids, then it’s great.