I do love an aquarium proper on the seafront – so our first cease after we arrived in Blackpool needed to be Blackpool Sea Life Centre, a shell’s throw from the waves.
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An early obsession with Octonauts means my daughter and I’ve been working our manner spherical a lot of the nation’s aquariums, together with various Sea Life Centres, so I used to be intrigued to see how this one would evaluate.
As you may anticipate, there’s lots that’s acquainted for those who’re already a fan, however a number of nice particular person touches that actually stood out for my Blackpool Sea Life Centre evaluation.
When you step inside, the two,500 creatures inside are housed in 10 totally different themed zones at Sea Life Blackpool, stretching throughout 12 totally different rooms and areas, with all the things from rockpools to rays.
And there’s an opportunity to find among the native marine life on the Blackpool Sea Life Centre in addition to extra unique creatures discovered on coral reefs, in rainforests and elsewhere around the globe.
Having come straight from the seashore, the place we’d tucked into fish and chips with a sunny view of the Irish Sea, it was nice to find a bit extra about among the creatures which could properly have been swimming away beneath the waves close by.
Initially, there’s an opportunity to get palms on – fairly actually, with the contact rockpools within the first room, containing all the things from anemones to the fabulously named sea squirt.
Employees are available to advise and ensure the inhabitants of the rockpools are protected – some areas have been closed off quickly to offer everybody inside a break – however it’s all the time some of the enjoyable issues for those who’re visiting the aquarium with a toddler or youthful youngsters.
And for all ages, there have been a sequence of quirky info to find as you appeared – all the things from starfish having eyes on the tip of their arms to the invention that mussels transfer alongside utilizing their beards.
There was additionally a free treasure hunt path to observe after we visited, serving to Captain Careless to search out all his booty, with eight separate objects to identify throughout the aquarium – with out sharing too many spoilers, the primary one is on the rockpools, so you will get ticking right away.
Good for encouraging youngsters to see into each totally different nook of the aquarium to see if they might discover the mislaid treasure – for those who’ve bought little ones who can’t wait to sprint on to see what’s subsequent and subsequent and subsequent, it’s a useful option to gradual them down a bit too.
Then two areas devoted to the native shoreline and quayside, the place we noticed a tank of lobsters – do you know the collective noun is a ‘danger’ of lobsters? these claws, I can see why.
Solely a tentacle of two of the octopus was seen, however elsewhere shoals of fish swarmed by means of diver’s helmets, sudden flashes of silvery pollock, sleek flatfish and some gurning pop-eyed companions,
Leaving the British Isles behind, we headed to Stingray Journey and the Shark Window – I really like watching stingrays, as there’s all the time one who appears equally fascinated by the people watching as vice versa.
And there’s all the time a properly camouflaged ray or two mendacity immobile on the underside of the tank, perhaps with simply an eye fixed or two seen, which then unexpectedly glides up into the water and makes you realise simply how good they’re at hiding.
Sea Life Blackpool is house to the UK’s first nationwide juvenile ray nursery, a part of a breeding programme designed to guard Britain’s personal native rays, lots of that are endangered, so in addition to getting a sight of a child cownose ray or the eye-catching blue-spotted ray, it’s wonderful to see proof of conservation in motion.
As you stroll by means of, there’s a relentless underlying emphasis on how guests can assist defend the seas too.
Info boards had particulars of how in danger the actual fish are, and what risks are affecting them, however one other highlighted the truth that Blackpool Sea Life Centre collected over 100kg of garbage from Blackpool seashore in 2022 – a very good reminder for all ages to bag or bin their waste slightly than letting or not it’s pulled out to sea by the tide.
Maintain an eye fixed out for seashore cleans organised by Blackpool Sea Life Centre for those who do need to take part and assist defend the coast
One of many issues I beloved at Sea Life Blackpool was simply what number of other ways they’d created to see the totally different fish and sea creatures – in addition to paths main above and under the water line, there have been some extra uncommon viewpoints as properly.
We have been inspired to get pleasure from a fish eye view, peering by means of porthole-sized home windows, curved that can assist you see the marine life in a really totally different manner.
Elsewhere, there was an opportunity for teenagers to crawl into the facet of the tank and rise up inside a bubble of glass, nearly as in the event that they have been carrying a diver’s helmet, because the fish swam round their heads – you couldn’t get a lot nearer with out grabbing a scuba masks.
Good for some memorable moments, similar to when my daughter turned spherical and got here unexpectedly head to head with a fish peering in at her.
Different tanks had magnifying pads to allow you to see extra of the main points or seats alongside the home windows into the tanks so you could possibly gaze on the continually altering show, like a pure TV display screen – however way more fascinating.
There have been interactive shows dotted round as properly: you could possibly really feel something from a shark’s tooth and stingray’s barb to turtle flippers as you discover, and even uncover how Moray Eels’ two units of jaws work, turning a deal with to activate an eel skeleton and see the second set emerge from behind the primary.
Nature actually is weirdly fantastic!
To not point out a number of little native touches, together with the Kissing Arch, the place legend has it that if girls kissed their menfolk beneath the arch earlier than they set off to sea, they’d be shielded from hurt. Did it work? I gave my daughter a fast kiss simply to be on the protected facet!
The number of fantastic creatures was spectacular too – you received’t discover penguins, seals or otters at Blackpool Sea Life Centre however you definitely received’t come out feeling short-changed.
The enormous 5ft inexperienced moray eel (known as Matilda) was simply some of the memorable, curving her lengthy sludgy inexperienced physique out of a treasure chest, as we tried to work out simply the place her lengthy sinuous coils started and ended.
From the tiniest seahorses and brightly colored reef fish as much as an enormous tank of sharks, we additionally handed superbly deadly lionfish, unicorn fish with their odd noses, tiny bickering clownfish half-hidden within the fronds of their anemone, vibrant tropical fish which appeared nearly to bounce by means of the tanks.
Jellyfish floated mesmerisingly up and down, fluttering their frills, with the prospect to vary the color of the lights within the tank for an added disco really feel.
Tiny backyard eels swayed in time with one another, barely greater than my little finger, not like the big noticed eel we noticed afterward.
Within the rainforest zone, neon-bright poison dart frogs hopped from leaf to leaf, whereas close by piranhas stared again at us, cold-eyed and imply (or perhaps that’s simply because I understand how needle-sharp their vicious tooth are from a visit way back to the Amazon!)
All main us to one of many aquarium highlights, the ocean tunnel. Blackpool’s is shorter than different Sea Life Centres within the UK, however there was nonetheless lots to identify – a guitarfish draped lazily over the tunnel entrance, a turtle gliding patiently by means of the water above a part of an outdated submarine.
Usually that’s the place the go to ends, bringing you out into the cafe and reward store, however Blackpool Sea Life Centre had another sudden room to find earlier than you allow – the 4 Corners of the World.
House to 4 man-made wrecks which have been taken over by sea creatures, it’s a extremely enjoyable option to end.
In a single nook big octopus tentacles stretched out round a wood treasure chest, excellent for a enjoyable household picture, or you could possibly pose as one of many terracotta warriors subsequent to a tank containing submerged stone figures, earlier than marvelling on the enormous leopard eel.
One other pays tribute to among the wrecks discovered off the Fylde Coast close by, together with Nelson’s former flagship, HMS Foudroyant, which was wrecked in a hurricane-force storm in 1897 – look out for the attractive vibrant mandarin fish right here.
Even that isn’t fairly the ultimate sight, with a small stage by the cafe for some added actions.
Maintain an eye fixed out for workers as you wander round too, all the time able to cease and reply questions – together with my daughter’s personal burning question as as to if fish sleep – in addition to working common talks.
One of many bonuses of visiting the aquarium is attending to see all this with out getting moist… however for those who do need to do extra than simply look, you possibly can even snorkel with the sharks and feed turtles, as among the VIP experiences.
We ended up spending two hours there with out reserving any of the extras (together with time to cease and purchase a fluffy humpback whale for my daughter’s assortment from the store!)
Good for those who’re escaping dangerous climate of Blackpool within the rain with youngsters, however simply pretty much as good when the solar shines – rising again onto the seashore for a paddle, I used to be imagining lobsters, octopus and fish galore simply past the horizon.
Sea Life Centre Blackpool: Have to know
Prebooking is at present required, with timeslots for entry (together with for Merlin annual cross holders) and a reduction for those who ebook for Sea Life Blackpool prematurely, plus there’s at present 30% off weekday visits (excluding college holidays) till mid October.
It’s also possible to get mixed tickets for different Merlin sights in Blackpool, similar to Sea Life plus one different attraction, together with Madame Tussauds, The Blackpool Tower Ballroom or The Blackpool Tower Circus.
There’s additionally the Blackpool Massive Ticket Saver which provides entry to 6 Blackpool sights together with the Blackpool Tower Eye and Blackpool Tower Dungeon, saving as much as 45%.
It’s also possible to ebook tickets to Quiet on the Aquarium on the primary Sunday of the month, with extra restricted numbers and a quieter ambiance designed for these with autism and different sensory necessities.
Test right here for opening instances. Or to test the dates when you possibly can spot mermaids at Blackpool Sea Life Centre throughout summer season 2023, see the most recent checklist of appearances on the web site.
Sea Life Blackpool has bathrooms which you’ll be able to entry half-way across the aquarium or on the finish of your go to, in addition to a restaurant simply earlier than the exit. The attraction is cashless, so do guarantee you’ve got one other technique of fee.
You possibly can take pushchairs and buggies in every single place in Blackpool Sea Life Centre or there’s additionally a buggy park for those who favor to depart it whilst you’re inside.
Peter Rabbit: Discover and Play Blackpool and the Gruffalo and Associates Clubhouse are each proper subsequent door to Sea Life Blackpool for those who’re searching for extra concepts of issues to do in Blackpool with toddlers and youthful youngsters.
Disclosure: Paid collaboration with Merlin Entertainments – all opinions about our go to to Blackpool Sea Life Centre are my very own (and my daughter’s). This publish comprises affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee
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