The final chapter of our South Bank adventure was the Sea Life centre. I’ll admit, this one excited me the least. We’ve visited our local Sea Life in Weymouth loads of times – and really, how different could they be?
Turns out, really very different indeed!
The Sea Life in London is in the Old County Hall building, along with Shrek’s Adventure, the London Dungeons, and right next door to the London Eye. The frontage is very narrow, and I presumed it would be pretty small inside.
Silly me again.
The first thing we ooh-ed at as we whizzed through the entry with our annual passes was the glass floor.
You have to walk across it to enter the centre – and I don’t mind admitting I actually squeaked an ooh, and made Bear come back and watch for a minute. I LOVED this glass floor!
Having got over this excitement, you go in… and down. And down. And that is how the Sea Life in London weaves its magic. Because your brain knows you’re inside a building… and yet there are these tanks… oh, the tanks.
Brain-breakingly HUGE (we were INDOORS, for goodness sake! Inside an old building. How did they do that?!), and the glass is massive, and you stand against it and just gaze in open-mouthed amazement as the fish get on with their busy days ignoring your existence.
The tanks are filled with all manner of items – a personal favourite of mine was the Easter Island head, but Bear preferred the ‘dinosaur’ skeleton you can see above (it’s actually a Grey Whale). The Southern Stingrays on the seabed were so regular we started to be able to tell them apart, and the Cownose Rays were much more graceful higher up in the water. But we honestly spent most of our time around these huge tanks, just watching and gazing and squeaking “look!” at regular intervals.
Of course there were the usual smaller tanks too – we saw the jellyfish, the seahorses and the sea dragons, the octopus, and we paused for quite a while at the turtle tanks. I’m not sure what it is, but they seem to hold a particular charm for Bear – she never seems to tire of watching them.
We meandered our way through the different zones – finding something new and interesting to examine every few paces. And then of course there were the penguins.
Oh, those penguins.
The room is set up brilliantly – a long raised enclosure along one wall, leading to a huge pool at the far end (yes! Another big tank!). We headed straight to the tank first, as there were some brilliantly zoomy penguins doing some serious laps in and out fo the water – so much fun to watch them above and below the surface.
The we strolled back along the enclosure, and managed to catch a quick snap of Bear having a chat with a particularly curious gentoo penguin. What a wonderful way to finish our visit – watching those super-speedy penguins racing through the water, clearly having a good time; just brilliant.
We visited the Sea Life London with our Merlin Annual Pass (which honestly just means you stroll right on in, we love it). Walk-up tickets are £24.50 per adult, £18.00 per child – but do book online, as you save 20% on those prices.
We’re so excited to be 2016 ambassadors for the Merlin Annual Pass – it means 12 incredible months exploring 32 Magical Worlds bursting with astonishing sights, sensational rides and extraordinary adventures to fill our year with laughter, magic and FUN!