The Sea Life Centre in Birmingham ticks a lot of boxes for us when it comes to a family day out; it’s about an hour and a half away so not too far (but perfect distance for little people to nap), it involves fish which Matilda absolutely loves and there is the opportunity for some splashing which means Henry is happy.
So when Superbreak offered me the chance to have a free family day out to an attraction of my choice and I spotted the Sea Life Centre on the list it was a pretty easy decision. The concept of Superbreak is fairly simple, from a single website you can book a short break in the UK or Europe with all your activities included. If you fancy a trip to the theatre Superbreak will book both the theatre ticket and the hotel in one go saving you time and effort.
I’ll be honest and say I was a little nervous turning up at the Sea Life Centre with a Superbreak voucher, I had visions of standing at the till while 3 people tried to figure out whether they could accept the voucher and if so how to put it through the till. But I will happily admit I was wrong, we visited on a Sunday and there was 1 person in front of us in the queue. Once we got to the till we handed over the voucher and got our entry receipt and map before you could say hammerhead shark.
Given that we’d had a peaceful trip up with 2 babies fast asleep and not got lost in Birmingham and found a parking space straight away I felt like I was in some sort of dream and would soon wake up to reality!
I’d been to the Sea Life Centre a long long time ago as a teenager so hoped that it would live up to my memories. The set up is an interesting one, you start off on the ground floor and wind your way up a sloping foot way past tanks of colourful fish, turtles and crabs to the top floor. Here are the main exhibits where you can see otters playing in a stream, massive tanks full of rays or Nemo himself. There’s also a great section with jelly fish where neon lights have been used well to light up their tanks. This was definitely a favourite section with the kids.
I loved how all the tanks had glass panels on the sides so that children can see easily, many also had ledges or benches for children to sit on. It really helps them get involved with what’s in the tank and of course saves the parents backs due to lifting children up all day.
There was also a rock pool area where at various times in the day there was someone there doing a talk about the creatures in the rock pool with the opportunity for those brave enough to touch a crab. Matilda decided that staying a metre away from the crabs claws was close enough thank you!
We didn’t bother with the 4D cinema as we know from experience that Matilda and Henry just don’t enjoy that sort of thing. But it was included in the price and starred Sponge Bob square pants in case you were interested. Once you’ve done this top floor you take the lift downstairs to one of the main attractions which is a glass tunnel you walk through with fish swimming all the way around it. The best thing has to be seeing big turtles go swimming by, a great spectacle and a perfect way to finish the visit.
My one criticism of the Sea Life Centre is that there is only one set of toilets and they are on the ground floor. Not ideal when you’re there with small children and have to make the long trek back from the middle of the centre carrying a child whose nappy has leaked. I speak from experience….
Finally the location of the Sea Life Centre in the heart of Birmingham means you are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating lunch and if you wish can have a nice walk along the canal to finish.