Yesterday we had an underwater adventure at Brighton’s Sealife Centre. If you’ve never been before it’s easy to find: head to the pier and you can’t miss it! You can access is from the street or from the beach and there is plenty of parking on Madeira Drive (though it’s not free so publish transport is probably cheaper!) Brighton Sealife Centre is the oldest aquarium in the world still operating, and there is a lot to do and something to suit all ages. For my two children (at 3 and 5) years old they really just wanted to look at fish and sea creatures, with their questions answered. As they get older they’ll be more interested in the talks and in the info boards I think, but there is enough info to pick and choose from to suit all ages and thirst for knowledge. It’s a lovely sensory experience too with the magical rainbow colour lights illuminating the arches in the main atrium.
One of the things that Athena loved was a hands-on rock pool exhibit where you can touch sea anemones and star fish, although it took her a while to get up the courage to get her hands in the water at first to stroke them! The Sealife centre offers live feeding and talks at intervals throughout the day (the times for these are listed on the website so you can plan your visit around them) but I didn’t think Athena would sit still for long enough so we left these for when she’s got a better attention span! There is also the UK’s first glass bottom boat that floats out over the largest tank in the centre (you do need to prebook and pay for this separately) Your ticket is valid for the whole day, so as long as you have your hand stamped you can come and go as you please, and you can now get annual membership (which we have been given as #SealifeAmbassadors – thank you!) which means you can come and go as you please for a whole year! Perfect for rainy afternoons and after school trips as well as sunny summer holidays when you want to escape the sun!
On this trip we did the Lego challenge (which is on till Sept 2nd) which entails hunting out 5 bits of giant Lego that have been dropped into some of the tanks, keeping track of what is where and then exchanging it for a little Lego Diver – the kids loved doing this and it kept them so engaged as we went around! There is a tonne of Lego too so you can spend ages just sat playing with that, plus there’s a trip to Legoland Florida up for grabs too (you’ll need an entry form from the Sealife reception)
My personal favourite thing to see are the Seahorses, I think I could watch them for hours, peacefully gliding around in their underwater worlds, plus I love that the men do all the pregnancy legwork! Arlo loved the terrapins and the sharks in the underwater tunnel, he was completely awestruck as they swam overhead! A current exhibition shows all about how what we put into the water affects sealife, it was really eye opening! There is also a cafe and gift shop on site, so you can stop half way and have a breather or enjoy lunch overlooking the rays floating around. From an aesthetic point of view the Victorian architecture is really lovely, and has been sympathetically restored where needed, with amazing rainbow lights in the arches, it really is magical!
Sea Life Brighton is continually committed to promoting the Sea Life ‘Breed, Rescue and Protect’ ethos, and the conservation campaigns of its affiliated charity the Sea Life Trust.
We had a lovely afternoon, and I’m already looking forward to our next trip so I can be mesmerised by the jellyfish again!