Sealife centres are dotted around the county in which they display and in many, look after the Fish and after Water-based creatures. They are part of the Merlin Group which means you can also use your Merlin passes to access any of there sites across the UK, we decided to visit the Great Yarmouth one.
We have lived in and around Great Yarmouth for many years and have visited this Sea Life Center many times throughout the years, myself for over 20 years so I’ve seen a lot come and go. Great Yarmouth is a popular Seaside resort and is one of the more well-known destinations for seaside attractions across the county, though it’s fair to say its hay day, like many others, have been and gone, it still visited throughout the summer and can be extremely busy, so you must take this into consideration, especially with regards to parking etc. One of the many issues of Great Yarmouth is its location so this is also difficult to get via public transport so again another thing to consider.
The kids love Sealife Centers and Fish in general, thus this is often one of our go to places throughout the year with our Annual Merlin Passes. I have written a post about different sea life centres, including this one so if you want more details across the country comparison, please check it out here. Living not so far we thought we would attend on a mirky day with no holidaymakers in an effort to be quieter, but based on my own knowledge of the place I can still add the potential issues of a busy place.
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The entrance has had many changes over the years, and after you have the initial payment/pass check you go through to the photo area, this seems to be in every Merlin attraction now, a green screen and chance to buy your pic. Though here though is the first open area with some bigger fish and eels, as an FYI this is quite a dark area.
The link area between the next set of tanks is now an improved jellyfish display, these are bright and colourfull as they have made it a bit funnier to see, these are always a highlight in my eyes for the display and the colour.
In the next room is a large tank but to the side, as you enter is the Penguin exhibit, this was updated a few years ago, it looks a little worn over the years but still is fine, upstairs on the balcony which allows you oversee the penguins was close, this is often the case if it has been bad weather etc.. I’m still surprised that they do it and not solved the problem but oh well. This is arguably the kids favourite part, even Roo has a special penguin called Boomer she’s been looking at for her whole life.
Back on yourself in that larger room with the larger tank, is an ara that was improved recently, it houses the Rays etc.. with the addition of a Submarine type display area that has interactive screens and visibility underwater. Within this area is a couple of information areas as well as the rock pool area type thing hat allows you touch creatures like Starfish.
Through here is a corridor with a large tank one side and small tanks on the other, the small ones have different fish, including “Dory” type fish. The large ones has a couple of Crocodiles and lots of little fish inside. They’re not huge but still always good to see.
After this in an area that’s been changed a couple of times, it used to have turtles in but they seemed to have gone and the special area is empty, some more smaller tanks are in this area with smaller fish again.
Next is the traditional Water Tunnel area, Most Sealife centres have these and are often the most popular areas, the first part is the talk area with the large windows to see most of the tank, which has Giant Turtles, Big Fish, and different Sharks. Then the Tunnel which allows you to see all sorts of angles of the fish.
Net part is an area with lots of small fish and Small tanks, its one of the more newer areas and has fish-like “Nemo” fish, it has more information and a couple of interactive areas. This leads to an area that seems to change every 6 months, its had giant crabs and all sorts there, but it currently has…..nothing. a couple of tables for drawing for the kids?
The final part is the photo collection area, this is where you can pay and is always pretty heavy in staff and being asked for them, through the doors is the shop area located in the middle of the whole front, the exhibition is finished at this point but there are bits and pieces to buy if you wish, and you do get a discount if you have a Merlin Pass.
There is a Cafe and a ply area, the Cafe has changed a few times and I’ve eaten there before, it’s not been that bad lol, at the moment they have turned it more into a cafe style with Costa coffee now an option, the play area is a good size and caters for youngsters and older ones, but! its busy, the locals no it’s free and will come in, have a coffee and let the kids play, so expect it to be busy.
Overall its still a good sealife centre, it’s not at the level of Birmingham, London, and perhaps Blackpool, however, it’s still good, and if you are on Holiday or visiting Great Yarmouth is a good option, especially if the weather turns. If you have a Merlin pass then well worth the afternoon or morning out, and could easily combine it with other stuff. It is a bit old, and I don’t think its in its Hay day, however like some of the other sites there are improvements beginning to happen and it does look better than previous years, and its good that they change things though as I listed, some of these have been changed too much too often. If you’re a fan of these type activities then its worth the visit, our kids love them and we will visit it if we are that way.