Urgh January, it’s cold, it’s damp, it’s generally grim. Seeing as I don’t want to set foot out the house and leave the snuggly warmth of our log burner I thought I would reminisce about happier times and our trip to the Sea Life Centre in Blackpool last year.
We decided to go for Willow’s first birthday at the end of November. The original plan was to go to the zoo but it was so cold on the day we thought that we (ie.me who is always freezing and would be moaning within the first five minutes of getting out of the car) wouldn’t really enjoy it, so the Sealife Centre seemed to be the next best thing.
I wasn’t really expecting much, as well, it’s Blackpool. I thought it would be tacky with a few sad looking fish in some grotty tanks (it’s ok I live here, I can say it) but it really wasn’t. In fact it was the complete opposite. We had a voucher to get in which gave us £5 off per adult but it still came to £25 which I think is a little pricey, especially if you have older children that you have to pay for as well. I think they sometimes have offers on and I think you can buy a yearly pass which works out cheaper. Also you can come and go as many times as you want in a day, say if you want to nip out for some lunch.
Anyway, far from it being tacky it was actually really fun and educational – for me the perfect combo! Of course Willow is too little to take in the educational side of things but they massively support sea conservation projects and aim to teach children about protecting the earth’s waters and sea life.
There is a lift to the aquarium so perfect for prams and little legs. They also have a pram park at the start if you don’t want to take your pram round which, if it’s busy, could be a bit of a pain. It’s probably worth noting that as it was the end of November it wasn’t very busy so we could see everything at leisure. I suspect at busy times you may have to wait to get near a tank or queue to see things.
Willow was a bit reticent at first and clung to one of us like a limpet (get it? Sorry.) I think this was because it is low lit and to be honest she’d never seen real fish before. She soon got into it though. Following the fish about, pointing, laughing and touching the glass. It was hilarious to watch her as she thought she could go through the glass to be with the fishes.
She got really brave and stuck her head in the glass bubbles which make it feel like you are in the tanks. She literally squealed with delight. Visually it was so stimulating for her, the movement, the light hitting the water. She loved it. I thought she might have been a bit frightened to go in the tunnel but she loved watching the sharks and rays gliding over our heads. In fact she didn’t want to come out of that bit and got into a grump. Of course because she enjoyed it so much we enjoyed it all the more too.
We kept missing them but they hsve feeding session for different fish throughout the day. I really wanted to see the shark feeding but Willow was obsessed with the ‘Nemo’ fish so we stayed at that tank instead. We let her set the pace for getting round which worked really well.
I would definitely recommend the Sealife Centre for a family day out. For babies and toddlers they can soak up the new sights and sounds and for older children they can learn, touch starfish and get involved in conservation projects.
Have you got any aquarium/zoo/wildlife park suggestions (preferably in the North West area). Willow loves animals so we’re keen to start going to as many as possible – it just needs to warm up a little for mummy first!