As a family, we’ve been to Sea Life once before. It was the one in Birmingham – just about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK! 🙂 Being so young then (two & four), the boys don’t remember much about that visit. They are four & six now, and we were so pleased to be invited to visit and review Sea Life Great Yarmouth during the May half-term holiday.
Great Yarmouth is a bustling seaside resort in Norfolk, about 20 miles east of Norwich. A traditional English seaside destination, the seafront is home to numerous amusement arcades, two piers, many restaurants and a pleasure beach with fairground rides, go-karts, etc.
About halfway down the long seafront, on the beach side of the road, is the Sea Life centre. While they don’t have their own car park, there is plenty of parking available either on the street, or in numerous car parks close by.
As it was a school holiday, we expected it to be busy and we arrived at 10.15am to join the queue behind six or seven families. It didn’t take long to get inside, and the staff gave us a friendly welcome. The boys were each given a Dive Log Book in which to collect nine stamps at various stations around the centre, in return for a gift at the end of our visit.
who’s at home?
What creatures can you expect to see? Penguins, crocodiles, rays, seahorses, jellyfish, sharks, sea and freshwater turtles, coral, tropical fish, starfish…
It’s super simple to get around from zone to zone, and despite being busy there were only a couple of points where we needed to wait for a few minutes for an area to clear. One was at the rockpool where the children are invited to touch a starfish or crab. As you can imagine, that was a popular spot!
New for 2017, and a highlight for the boys, is a bright yellow ‘submarine’ with viewing windows for watching the beautiful native rays close up. They’re incredibly graceful creatures.
It was good to see the staff actively cleaning and maintaining the tanks, and it all looked very clean. The exception being the penguin zone, but with wild creatures it’s to be expected that they’re not overly house proud when it comes to doing their ‘business’! 😉
The ocean tunnel is impressive: an enormous tank that is home to sharks, fish, a giant sea turtle, all within an Atlantis-themed display. On this particular day it was also inhabited by two fully-grown, human divers, busy hoovering up any debris and keeping the tank clean! As you walk through the tunnel, you get an alternative view of the creatures as they swim above you.
breed, rescue, protect
The Sea Life centres worldwide contribute to the research, protection and breeding of sea creatures. They’re keen to inform people about the work they do, and how each of us can help protect the oceans: only eating fish from a sustainable source; removing all rubbish after a day at the beach; not buying things made from endangered or wild animals; and much more…
If you want to find out more about the Sea Life conservation projects, there is a large section on their website dedicated to promoting their message: Breed, Rescue, Protect.
At the end of your visit – which took us just under an hour and a half – you exit through the gift shop where you can collect your badge for filling your Dive Log Book with stamps. Next to the shop is a family restaurant. We didn’t eat here as we wanted lunch down the road at Harry Ramsden’s 🙂 but it looked to be popular, and with a good selection on the menu. There is also a soft play pirate ship, if your little ones still have energy to burn!
Ben (age 4): “Watching the divers clean the big tank.”
Ollie (age 6): “Going into the submarine and seeing the rays.”
Rob (age 36): “The large fish and sea turtle in the ocean tunnel.”
Me (age 41): “The coral reef and rescued freshwater turtles.”
A visit to Sea Life is a fun and educational experience; there is so much to see, and our boys were talking about what they’d seen for days afterwards. It isn’t a cheap day out, and I think it’s worth going to their website and booking tickets in advance. This not only guarantees you will get access on a busy day, but it should also save you some money too.
If you have been to any of the Sea Life centres, I would love to hear about your experience. Which centre did you visit? What was your highlight? 🙂
Disclaimer: We were given free entry to Sea Life Great Yarmouth for our visit, in return for a blog review. I did not receive any payment. All words in this blog post are my own, and I have been completely honest in my comments.
Bye for now!