It doesn’t matter how old you are, there’s something about seeing sharks, seahorses and other brilliant creatures up close that can turn any adult into a giddy 6-year-old (or maybe I’m just speaking for myself there).
So, when the Sea Life Centre invited us over to their Blackpool aquarium recently to check out the new Rainforest Adventure zone, I rounded up the kids (I use the word ‘kids’ loosely here as they are now fully fledged teenagers) and we headed off a little road trip to the seaside.
We arrived at around 11am on a Saturday morning and parked up just behind the Sea Life Centre, close to the Tower and Coral Island. There were plenty of spaces and we paid around £6 for the day which was reasonable. Five minutes later, we were at the Sea Life Centre and it was already getting busy with eager families waiting at the ticket desk. After a quick bag check (a sad necessity), we were swiftly handed our tickets, a map and began our little adventure.
The Sea Life centre is laid out in zones and first up was the Rockpool. It was a little crowded with younger children happily interacting and holding Hermit Crabs and Starfish so we didn’t hang around here long. Admittedly, I really wanted a ‘turn’ with the starfish but it’s not really polite for a thirtysomething adult to push their way through, is it? 😉
We wandered through the Atlantic Depths and Quayside zones, boasting octopus, lobster, crabs, more starfish, clownfish (oh hey Nemo) and even a bizarre green eel that looked positively prehistoric. Megan and I spent a good ten minutes mesmerised with our faces pressed up against the glass and yet I still can’t tell you much else about her (the eel, not Megan. We got chatting to a member of staff who explained that ‘it’ was a she and had only been in that particular tank for a few days so was a little shy) but it’s worth the trip just to see this magnificent creature alone!
The Stingray Adventure was my personal favourite part of the Sea Life Centre. There’s even a cool viewing area where you can go up into a little dome and watch the rays swimming by; Adam seemed to enjoy this immensely! It was actually a really therapeutic zone to be in and we spent at least an hour exploring this particular section.
Eventually, we got to the Rainforest Adventure and spotted a tank full of piranhas. I’ve always loved these fish, despite their notoriously terrifying reputation. As a child, my family spent a lot of time at Pendlebury Children’s Hospital and they had a little tank of piranhas there that I remember vividly. We stopped at the Rainforest Ranger Table and I plucked up the courage to hold a Giant African land snail. It was surprisingly not as gross and slimy as I’d anticipated! I did give the hissing cockroaches and giant grubs a miss though…
The finale was the mesmerising Ocean Tunnel. Getting to walk ‘through’ the glass tanks via the tunnel and seeing sharks swimming above your head is tres cool. We loitered here for a while before realising that we were clogging up the walkway, much to the annoyance of other guests. Oops!
The gift shop was our final destination at the Sea Life Centre and I picked up an obligatory magnet souvenir (yes, I have a ‘thing’ with collecting magnets) whilst the girls made sand bottles to take home for around £3 each. We did forget to pick up our goodie bags though which was a shame.
The Sea Life Centre is the ideal place to escape for a few hours and is highly recommended, especially on rainy days (which in the North West is a regular occurrence). You can find all the information you need to plan your trip on the website, along with special offers and discounts.
PS I also got some cool video footage inside the aquarium which I’m hoping to have up on my brand new YouTube channel soon – watch this space!
*We were invited to the Sea Life Centre FOC, however, all opinions are my own.