Land is the secure ground of home, the sea is like life, the outside, the unknown – Stephen Gardiner
Last week whilst my sister was here visiting we had a couple of days out. You can read about our trip to the Monkey Forest here. Today I’m going to tell you all about our adventure to the Sealife Centre Birmingham. We had planned to visit the Sealife Centre a few weeks ago but on the day it didn’t work out as planned so we were really excited to get to go.
The day started with a scramble around the house looking for our two for one vouchers. My sister had been put in charge of them but had lost one of them in the flat somewhere (more on this at the end). We couldn’t find it so she had to buy a bag of chocolate in town to get another one. Twirl bites for breakfast? Such a shame!
Jordan was off work this day so he was able to join us which we were all so happy about. He loves animals and Emily loves having adventures with her Daddy so it’s a win win! We met my sister and her clan at the train station for 10.15am and our train to Birmingham was at 10.25am. Of course, there were no seats on the train so we had to park Emily in the bike rack and stand for the whole journey but we’ve come to expect that these days.
Once we arrived in Birmingham it was a 20 minute walk or so to the Sealife Centre with a quick stop off at Greggs for a sausage roll. We hadn’t had any breakfast in our rush to get out of the house on time so this was much needed. There are a lot of building works and diversions in Birmingham at the minute which meant that it took us slightly longer to get to the destination than planned. However, we enjoyed walking down the canal and crossing lots of bridges. We spotted a really nice looking pub across the road from the Sealife Centre which I think we will return to one day!
When we finally arrived we queued up to buy our tickets and were told we could purchase tickets but had to return for a specific time slot at 12.30pm. This was fine as it gave us 45 minutes to grab a quick lunch at EAT before we went in. The Sealife Centre was really busy, I think mostly due to it being the summer holidays but the crowds were managed well with the different time slots.
The first things we saw when we got in were the penguins. Emily LOVED the penguins. Jordan got her out of the pushchair and took her right up to the glass to watch. She was mesmerised. I managed to get the photo above and I think it is the best photo that I took all day. I’m going to get it framed I think, I just love it so much. Emily was so excited when the penguins came up to the glass, she was flapping her arms and squealing. It was the cutest thing.
After about 10 minutes watching the penguins we moved on and the next thing we came to was a huge fish tank. There was all kinds of huge funny looking fish in there and something I’m pretty sure was a shark. There were also sting rays in there too. Emily was up at the glass again shouting and flapping at the fish as they came past. There were huge silver coloured fish in there that she kept trying to wave at. Next to this tank was a starfish station where you could reach into the water and gently touch the starfish. My sister managed to touch one but I couldn’t quite reach. A member of staff was on hand at this station giving out information and reminding people to be gentle with the starfish. There was also a little tank filled with water and different types of shells for the children to reach in and explore.
As we moved through to the next area we spotted the clownfish tank. These are my favourite fish to see at aquariums because they are just so colourful! Through the back of the tank was a small tunnel that children could crawl through that allowed them to see right into the tank. This was such a nice touch and featured a few times around the centre. In this area there was also octopus. I really do not like octopus at all, I think they are terrifying. There’s no need for anything to have so many tentacles and be so creepy but there we go. There was a huge one in a tank which I did not go and look at. I did however look at a smaller one but it took ages to find in the tank. It was blending in really well with the surroundings and eventually we spotted it suctioned on to a log. We only noticed it because it moved slightly. Otherwise I think we would have been there all day looking for it.
I noticed Emily was getting tired and I put my camera away at this point. When we go back I’m going to take more photo’s as I missed getting photos of some really cool sea life. We rushed on ahead to try and find a bench or somewhere I could sit and feed her. We found one in the next room and I can now say that I have breastfed my child in front of a SHARK TANK of all places! It was quite relaxing to sit and feed her just watching the fish swim by. I would recommend it!
As we walked through the rest of the upstairs area we saw more sting rays, sea horses and jelly fish. Jelly fish are another creature that freak me out a little bit. We saw quite a few different types but the ones I thought were the weirdest were the upside down jelly fish. They are just such weird creatures! I find it amazing that they even exist. Emily was still asleep at this point so she missed out on all the jelly fish fun. At the end of this section was a queue for either the lift or 5 flights of stairs to take you down to the tunnel. We chose the lift. As we were waiting a child grabbed the hood of the pushchair, put his head in and screamed in Emily’s face so that was the end of her nap! She was obviously quite upset but wasn’t having any of it when I tried to get her back to sleep, poor thing!
After we got out of the lift at the bottom we were greeted by a HUGE statue of a turtle. It honestly was massive. I should have got my camera out at this point but I just didn’t think. We were in the crowd then waiting to go through the glass tunnel. This was easily one of my favourite parts of the trip. It was incredible to look up and see huge sharks swimming above and around you. There were also some of the biggest turtles I have ever seen in my life. They were easily bigger than me. It was incredible to see them! About half way through the tunnel the floor changed to glass and underneath on the bed of the tank was the biggest shark. I can’t wait to go back just to experience that tunnel again. I could have stayed in there at least an hour just watching all the sea life swimming past. Emily loved it too!
After the tunnel was the gift shop where Emily chose a cuddly penguin and I bought a magnet. It was a really fun trip out and I can’t wait to go back. Our highlights were definitely the penguins and the tunnel at the end.
Have you been to the Sealife Centre before? What was your favourite part?
Love Laura xx
You may remember at the start of the post I mentioned the ticket going missing. Well fast forward a few days and I’m sitting at my laptop typing up last weeks post and Emily comes crawling over with something in her hand. She’s getting really good at passing things to us now which is what she did with this bit of rubbish in her hand. However, it turns out it’s not rubbish at all! It’s our missing two for one voucher! At the minute she’s really into her toy box. She finds things that she decides are hers and puts them in there. We’ve found plugs, Lucozade bottles and paintbrushes in there in the past. This is what she must have done with our voucher! The bright side is we now have another voucher to use for another trip! Thanks Emmy!