We had half term last week, so a visit to the Sea Life Centre, Blackpool, was perfect. When the weather is wintry and miserable, and when you have a 4 year old and a 1 year old who need entertainment, an aquarium is the perfect choice. And Sea Life Centre, Blackpool is a brilliant aquarium.
Finding Sea Life Centre, Blackpool
Sea Life is on the sea front at Blackpool. It’s really easy to reach, and there are several car parks within easy walking distance. I hadn’t been to Blackpool for a long time, and yes, there are definitely the typical tacky seafront stores a-plenty, but there is also a very nice shopping centre and most of it is pedestrianised.
The Sea Life Centre itself is huge and you definitely won’t miss it! We went in February, but I imagine it can be pretty busy in the summer.
The actual centre is upstairs: we went up in the lift and parked the buggy in the buggy park. Ben was set up with an explorer’s log book, and he had to find the answers to questions and then stamp his book.
Like in most of these places, you have your photo taken as you go in. Then you’re into the rock pools, the tanks and learning about the work of the Sea Life Centre. We wandered through the shoreline and the quayside pretty quickly, because Ben was more excited by the octopus than anything else!
Then we arrived at Stingray Adventure. This was absolutely mesmerising. One of the loveliest things was that several of the viewing ‘bubbles’ were at toddler height, so Samuel could pop his head in and watch the rays.
There were two stingray tanks, both really big. One was open at the top, and is the location for the feeding and talk. The second had lots of lovely bubbles where the children could look through.
From there, we headed through the Kingdom of the Seahorse and Submarine Explorer into the Rainforest adventure. I really enjoyed this section: the room is really well done, with low lighting and lots of rainforest vegetation. There’s a little bridge too.
The Ocean Tunnel
After that comes the spectacular Ocean Tunnel, with incredible views of sharks. The hardest thing for me here was identifying the kinds of shark: Blacknose, Whitenose, Shovelnose (actually, that one was fairly easy). You can sit and watch at the Ocean Window, which we did – both children were ready for a rest by then!
Sea Stars – New for 2017 at Sea Life Centre, Blackpool
The new exhibition is the Sea Stars. This was the starfish exhibition. I found this really fascinating – starfish are so ancient and so unlike anything else on our planet. There are 12 different kinds of starfish in the exhibition, and you can get really close. The tunnel was lovely too: with tiny little lights, it was perfect for younger children.
The best bits
There is something absolutely magical about the aquarium. Both of my children were really calmed by the experience, and Ben was fascinated by it all – all those hours of watching Octonauts has paid off! We really enjoyed learning about the work of Sea Life centre, particularly their work breeding species and raising awareness of environmental issues.
With a pushchair, a 4 year old and a toddler who would definitely rather be mobile, days out can be tricky. One of the best things about Sea Life for me is that it is so well contained. The route around is definitely manageable for a toddler, and there was so much for Samuel to look at, whether he was in the pushchair or walking.
Ben really enjoyed his visit to Sea Life Centre, Blackpool. He loved collecting the stamps, although he needed a bit of help to make sure he got the right one on the right page. He was able to cash this in at the gift shop for a badge, which he was pleased with.
There is a little soft play area next to the shop, which both my boys enjoyed for a couple of minutes. If you wanted to get a coffee or something to eat in the cafe, it’s ideal.
Good to know…
The toilets by the buggy park are excellent if you have multiple children. I think they are labelled Disabled and Baby changing, but there are a couple of standard toilets in there too.
Everywhere is fully wheelchair accessible.
Online prices are significantly cheaper, so it’s definitely worth buying your tickets in advance.
Under 3s go free!
We were given free entry to Sea Life Centre, Blackpool in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.