We were invited at the weekend to visit and review Blackpool sea life centre. I still remember visiting as a child, particularly the ocean tunnel so I jumped at the chance to take my girls.
We started our visit in the new rockpool area. Here you get the chance to touch creatures such as starfish, crabs and cleaner shrimp. There were also large magnifying glasses left on the side for you to take a closer look. There was staff on standby to answer questions and help you out. F didn’t want to hold anything but she enjoyed using the magnifying glass.
After we finished looking in the rockpool we moved on to quayside. There are tanks of species native to our shores such as starfish, crab, stingray, Pollack and dogfish.
Next up was one of our favourite areas, Stingray adventures. Here there are two large tanks with a mix of fish, stingray and small sharks. The first tank can be viewed from above as well as around the sides. E found watching the rays glide past at speed mesmerising. The second tank included various viewing “bubbles” where you felt even closer to the fish.
The next zone is the kingdom of seahorses. Here we learnt about Blackpool sea life centre’s seahorse breeding program and admired clownfish (Nemo if you’re 4 years old).
The next area is rainforest adventures where you can see turtles, frogs and also the new ranger’s table. This area was sign posted as been in use at 10:30 am (before we arrived). I very much doubt that F would have wanted to hold anything but if your child is more adventurous than mine they can hold things like praying mantis.
One of the final areas is the ocean tunnel. This is the area that made the lasting impression on me from my childhood visits. As soon as we turned the corner and saw the large tank with plenty of big fish such as ‘Boris’ a large Bowmouth Guitar Shark. There are plenty of benches where you can sit back and watch the fish in this tank before going through the ocean tunnel. I could have sat here watching for some time but obviously my 4 year old doesn’t have that kind of attention span. She particularly enjoyed walking through the ocean tunnels and seeing the fish and sharks overhead though.
The very last area is sea stars where you can admire and learn about starfish.
Overall, we loved our sea life experience. Both my 13 month old and 4 year old got something out of it. My youngest loved the sensory experience of the dim lighting, the colours and the movement of the fish. There were plenty of tanks that you could see into from pushchair level which she enjoyed. My eldest obviously got more out of it and obviously older still children would learn more. There are lots of videos and signs up with more information about each tank and species. My eldest didn’t really have the patience for this but it is there if you want it. We were in Blackpool sea life centre for a couple of hours but if you spent more time learning about the species or saw some of the feeding sessions, you could spend longer here.
Top tips for visiting Blackpool sea life centre
- The centre is on the first floor. A lift is situated near the front desk but this is the only lift. The centre is not circular so you have to retrace your route at the end or exit via a long set of steps.
- There is a buggy park at the top of the steps but again you would need to go back for it at the end. The centre is suitable for pushchairs. There are a couple of staircases but these just show the top of a tank and we took it in turns to go up whilst someone stayed with E.
- Toilets and baby changing facilities are located by the lift and halfway round. They were clean and practical.
- As with most attractions, you exit through the gift shop where there is also a cafe and a small free soft play area for under 4s.
- You can save 20% by buying tickets online in advance.
- Check the sea life centre website before visiting to find out what time different tanks have feeding times on each day. You can go in and out of the centre each day as often as you like.
- We saw some children with sea life booklets which they were using to stamp in each area. F didn’t get given one of these booklets but I think it looked like a great way of keeping children’s attention as you go around the different zones. We ended up letting F stamp our tickets as she wanted a go at the stamp (more of a press that embossed a different sea creature).
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Disclosure – We received free tickets to visit the centre in exchange fo this review. All photos, thoughts and opinions are my own. All details are correct as on 9th july 2017. Please check their website for uptodate information before your visit.