I've not visited The Sea Life Centre since last summer, as during the summer holidays teachers generally get a couple of free tickets which is fantastic. I used these tickets for me and my girl (under 3's are free) but if you book on-line you can save up to 40% and you can often get 241 deals in newspapers and on cereal boxes. The arrival of the penguins to the Centre has really made a big difference for me. I think this a spectacular attraction. The room they are kept in is like being in a little icy cave and watching them swim? Just utterly beautiful (OK, you got me this is my favourite animal and yes they do make me weep a little bit).
Walking round The Sea Life Centre there are lots of things to see and do - obviously there are a vast array of fish (nemo ones totally being my favourite), but there are also a lot of other sea creatures from star fish, to stingrays and of course at the end there is the wow factor moment when you walk through and get the chance to see sharks swimming above your head. There are lots of members of staff on hand to chat to you about the animals, or give the chance to touch a crab or discuss the penguins, which is really really helpful.
What I will say about The Sea Life Centre is that if you have tiny tots, and remember we had bloomin four with us, maybe school holidays are not the time to go. There is no buggy park so you have to push your them around and some of the areas are quite small - if at all possible I would leave them in the car and either carry your child or use a reign. At one point in the beautiful jelly fish area we had a panic when due to lots of other people and buggys and tiny children, ours just got mixed up with everyone else and we had a small fret (we found them! They aren't still there!).
There are lots of other things to keep the tiny ones interested including a 4D film with water and bubbles and at the end we met one of the Moshi Monster characters which was fun! There is some sort of Moshi swap you can do? But as ours are too young we didn't delve too deep into this. There is also a soft play area. Now this used to be attached to an eating area where you could have a picnic. But not any more. There is nowhere to sit and it is quite small. During term time I think this will be OK - but during the holiday? Quite busy.
The Centre itself is located in a really good and vibrant area of Birmingham. Whilst there isn't anywhere to eat inside, you can step out and buy food along the canal or in Brindley Place. There is also quite a few grassy areas dotted around to set up a picnic - which is what we did. You can get your hand stamped and go back in. It may be an idea to tie a visit here to a visit with The Library of Birmingham that is also excellent for little ones and quite nearby.
We had a great day out, it was very manic and one toddler may have thrown another toddlers brand new penguin toy in the waterfalls outside. I would recommend it if you have little ones, just don't take a buggy! For further information please visit The National Sealife Centre Birmingham.