Hunstanton Sealife Center is located in Norfolk, off the coast of the North Sea near Kingslynn, the sealife centre is part of the Merlin group and the Merlin pass can be used to enter all year round, the centre focuses on seals as it has a seal Hospital and recovery centre. It does differ from other Sealife’s as I’ve detailed here.
We do enjoy a Sealife centre, as we have been to a few, this one we tend to visit about twice a year, even where we live it’s still a 1 hour 10 minutes to get there, but that’s because of Norfolk roads! nd that’s something always to remember, it’s not the easiest place to get to, We use our merlin passes in places like this as it can be a great afternoon or day out! with minimal cost.
The Journey Begins
The entrance is right on the coast and next to a fairground, inside is a cafe, reception and shop, that you will exit through, the entrance is a little cramped on busy days and they aren’t always the quickest at getting you though, the Cafe is fine, its pretty bog standard but its not a bad thing.
Through you go you are met with the Merlin tradition of photo in front of a green screen, I’m wondering how long until there is a big photo purchase point at the end like the others have been changed to, but the first area has some basic fish tanks.
The next area is the big open area that you can walk all the way around, with an open tank full of stingrays and fish etc..this is always a well visible area with sides, holes and getting really close to the fist.
Next are smaller fish and touching rock pools, in which kids can interact with the starfish or crabs etc, Piglet enjoyed the domes that you can have pictures in with the tanks.
The first part of the outside sees you get close with the penguins, and some other birds, thus the net above you, this is always a big highlight for our family.
Back inside gets us close to Crocodile, some more fish, and the tanks containing ” Nemo” and “dory” these displays are always a kids favourite because of the films let be honest, the crocodile area normally makes Rook go pretty fast.
Back outside you can see the other side of the penguins, whereas the first part was netted and a bit more enclosed, the next bit is more windows but you can see clearly under the water, the area outside is quite big and arguably the biggest outdoor area of any of the Sealife centers.
This also holds the Seal Hospital which is a great way to help recover Seals, off the coast is a huge area for Seals that also spans around the coast, thus its importance is massive, you get to see them in recovery.
They also have a large Seal area for you to view them in their water home, this has an area you can see at the top as well as a lowered area to see right into the water, and they do swim alot, especially right near you.
Next to here is an Otter display, in which again I don’t believe any other centres have this due to space etc.. these are normally in zoos, but this is great to see.
Lastly outside is a play area outside, this is sand based with slides and climbing and can make a nice little break, other places have an indoor one but its nice to be outside in the summer.
We head back inside once again into one of the more popular and traditional exhibits, the Ocean tunnel. This is potentially one of the smaller ones in the locations but as I said earlier that’s because it focuses in other areas, however, it’s still a great thing to see and always a kids favourite, there is a side larger window which always makes good photos and a clear view back towards the tunnel.
After this a corridor takes you past two side rooms, one is a classroom-style room that isn’t always open, this holds events, exhibits etc..when we visited that day the kids could colour etc, but we’ve been their lots of time when it not been open.
The other room is a rainforest style room with Ans, snakes Turtles etc, these are great, especially the Ants as it has been set up for them to walk, and you can go very close to them in an open area, while they wander back and forth with there food.
The last part is back at the gift shop and cafe area, the Shop is like most of the Sealife centres, and has a variety of toys, collectables, gifts etc, Merlin pass holders get a discount which makes some of the items a good price, especially if you want to remember your visit.
Overall it does feel more of laid back Sealife, but at summertime, it can be very busy, so please bare this in mind. However normally it’s a nice pleasant afternoon out, it’s not massive so take your time and get the most out of it, I like that it focuses on different creatures than many of the other places but still has the favourites, using things like merlin pass can make this a relatively cheap day out.
This visit was done pre Lockdown, literally just before lol, so please have this in mind and expect some tweaks to the day, they have implemented social dispatching measures so please check the website for the latest updates.