SEA LIFE Centre
Reviewed by Natasha Allen
My friend and I took my 9 month old son to visit the SEA LIFE Centre in Brighton. It is housed in a pretty impressive building which was built originally in 1872.
As we entered the centre there was a clearly marked buggy park which we made use of.
The main hall houses the large fish tanks and there are rock pools which children can explore. There were staff members around to answer questions and give you any information. They were both polite and informative. We were given a star fish to handle and were surprised at how soft they felt.
We followed the signs around and found ourselves above the tropical ocean tank which housed sharks, rays and sea turtles. We then found out that you needed to upgrade your ticket at a cost of £3 per person at either the entrance or the cafe. I feel it would have been helpful to be offered this whilst buying your tickets and so we did not go on the boat instead we walked through the tunnel which goes underneath the Ocean Tank. This was pretty impressive and we felt mesmerised by the Giant Turtles and Sharks swimming right above our heads. It kept my son amused for a good 10 minutes and he appeared fascinated by the movement and colours. I can safely say this was our favourite part and we would definitely go back.
We ended our trip with a coffee. You are able to enjoy a sit down in the middle of the hall and so there are colourful tanks all around you. If my son was older he would be able to continue enjoying the fish whilst I enjoyed a seat and so for that reason I think the Cafe is excellently placed. The lady who served us was on work experience. She was very polite and friendly and we were given our first opportunity to purchase a guide book. The book is £2 but if you purchase it you get a free hot drink so we took advantage of this. I felt disappointed though that the first time we were offered a guide book was on our way out. Whilst reading the guidebook we noticed that there was a Behind the Scenes Tour that you could do if you upgraded your tickets.
We all had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and would visit again. My only suggestions would be that perhaps the staff on the front desk could explain the different types of tickets and offer you a guidebook. In my experience most people stop at the cafe on the way out and so is a little late to learn what is available.
Ticket prices start from £12.40 if booked online (please check the SEA LIFE website for up to date pricing and group discounts). Or for even better value why not purchase an Annual Pass (Adult £40, Children £30) which gives you UNLIMITED access to 11 SEA LIFE centres in the UK, discounts and an entry into a Theme Park (check website for more details).
For more information, tickets prices or to book tickets visit www.visitsealife.com