The start of half term has been particularly cold. As a family of 6 with a wide range of interests we find it hard to please everyone on days out. However, the Sealife Centre is not only warm…but offers something to interest absolutely everyone, from toddlers to parents. This was our first visit to the Sealife Centre as a family (the children have been on school trips) and we were not disappointed. In addition to the usual exhibitions, especially for half term there is the Snail and the Whale Trail where children can listen to the story whilst following clues. The Snail and the Whale Trail runs for the whole of half term with special parent and toddler rates for children up to 6 years old….and a big heads up..there are savings of up to 40% if you book online in advance!
As soon as we enter the main entrance of the Sealife Centre we are greeted with not only vast arrays of impressive aquariums..but also the stunning architecture of the centre’s Victorian home. As we explore the Victorian Arcade the children are able to explore a range of aquatic life not only close up, but at their own pace. There is a large ledge for toddlers to walk along under close supervision. Best of all..even on a half term Saturday it was quiet enough to enjoy the experience without the pushing and shoving that we have experienced in similar attractions. Our children loved the Lion Fish, the lobsters and the stingrays, all of which they were able to watch at lesiure and in detail.
Further along the main exhibition is a hands on rock pool area where adults and children are able to enjoy first hand encounter experiences with starfish, anemones and crabs. Even the younger visitors are considered with realistic toys being placed in the rock pool to explore (and keep the real ones safe from getting squished!)
Throughout the experience we are reminded about the fragile state of marine life. There is the fantastic Conservation Cove where visitors can make a personal pledge of a single small change they will make to help conserve ocean life. Our children also loved filling out their Dive Log Book which encourages them to learn about key marine life and the risks they face due to pollution whilst collecting stamps throughout their visit.
We move on to encounter the Rainforest Adventure. The children are invited into a realistic rainforest area through a maze of tree roots where they come across waterfalls, piranhas and a huge Anaconda!
I think the highlight for all of us were the Ocean Display tunnels where you can experience the sensation of being surrounded by marine life, all be it through glass! Daisy and Logan loved the smaller tunnel where they watched Clown Fish and Blue Tangs just like Nemo and Dory. The larger tunnels were impressive for us all with beautiful turtles, rays and sharks swimming over head.
We finish our visit in the Jurassic Seas encountering living prehistoric marine life, real life dinosaurs! We giggle at the Mudskippers and fascinate at Horseshoe Crabs and get a bit freaked out by Charlie the Snakeneck Turtle! The Snail and the Whale Trail is on until March 5th, covering half terms for both East and West Sussex. Go online to buy your parent and toddler ticket for the fantastic price of just £13.50 for and adult AND child up to 6 years old.