Days Out: Sealife Centre, Brighton (and Lego Ocean Explorers!) (Review) [AD – Press Trip]
You’d think having an aquarium at home T would be sick of the sight of tropical fish, however when we were invited to Brighton Sealife Centre last week T was more than happy to get a second dose of tropical fish, especially as our visit was to take part in their new Lego ‘Ocean Explorers‘ adventure.
This isn’t our first time to a Sealife Centre, or Brighton Sealife for that matter, we’ve actually been to several across the country over the past few years (including when we didn’t have T), and one thing for sure is that we can always guarantee a good time. Sealife are just one of those places where children (and adults!) of all ages will have fun and learn lots too!
If you’ve never been to Brighton Sealife it’s really easy to find and get to, although there’s no dedicated car park like other centres, and parking isn’t free in the surrounding areas, so public transport may be better if you’re visiting locally. Based directly opposite Brighton Pier it’s hard not to miss – it’s one of the oldest victorian buildings in Brighton. Despite that though, there’s also ramp access via Maderia Drive if you can’t use the stairs.
On each occasion we’ve been with T there’s always been something different to spark his interest and imagination. When he was a baby, he was happy with the rainbow lights in the main atrium and the neon coloured jelly fish. When he was one, he was fascinated by the ocean tunnel, and by the age of three he’s happy to sit for longer periods and watch the fish and listen to talks. He’s even reached an age where he’ll take part in some of the activities – which is why the Lego ‘Ocean Explorers’ event was perfectly timed for him – although he often likes getting a bit of help along the way.
Running until the very end of September, the Lego ‘Ocean Explorers’ invites you to search for missing equipment dotted around in the various tanks throughout the aquarium. Upon completion of the activity you’re then presented with your very own Mini Figure. Whilst on the hunt, there’s also opportunities to build and create in special ‘brick pits’ as well as get new ideas to create your own undersea creature.
the Oldest Aquarium in the World
Although Brighton Sealife is a little smaller than other centres across the country, it makes up for it’s size with plenty of things to see and do. There’s also lots of feeding talks going on throughout the day as well as the UK’s first glass bottom boat that travels across the largest tank in the centre (that used to be the dolphinarium!).
This is now closed until Spring 2019 due to exciting refurbishments in the auditorium.
Despite it’s size, Brighton Sealife still houses the traditional underwater tunnel as well as lots of interesting tanks and exhibits, from rays to seahorses to a coral reef. There’s also a rainforest trail where there are now several viewing pods that invite guests to have a real good look at everything from terrapins to frogs.
New for 2018 is also the SEA Starts Exhibit which celebrates all things starfish! This area also has lots of viewing pods to get stuck into. I really enjoyed getting up close to the starfish.
T has recently gained the courage to start exploring rock pools, so when he was invited to stroke a few star fish in the open exhibit he was more than happy to oblige.
Other favourites include the Jelly Fish, “Nemo & Dory” within the mini walkthrough tank (which is a new one for us), and the sharks within the main underwater tunnel. The octopus, however, still isn’t a favourite for him – although that didn’t stop me having a good look. My personal favourites are the seahorses. You can find out what else is at the centre here.
I love having Brighton Sealife on my doorstep and for the next year we’re going to be #SealifeAmbassadors (Thank you, Sealife!) so we’re going to be making regular visits throughout the year. Give us a follow on our instagram to see what we get up to.
The centre itself is perfect for rainy days or a quick after school trip (although it can get quite busy as it’s completely enclosed with no outside areas). If you fancy leaving halfway though or doing it again on the same day your ticket allows you to return as long as you get your hand stamped before leaving. Plus, the centre also offers annual memberships just for Brighton.
Breed, Rescue, and Protect
As well as being a fun place to watch sea creatures, Sealife also promote healthy seas as part of their ‘Breed, Rescue, and Protect‘ initiative. They also offer backstage tours to show people what they get up to behind the scenes.
Throughout the centre you’ll be able to read about how the oceans are currently being polluted as well as find out how you can prevent this via their various on-going campaigns. I feel this is such an important topic and the sooner we can start talking about this with our children the better.
We had such a lovely time at Sealife Brighton, and now that T is up for completing the activities our visits will now last that bit longer! Plus, thanks to the on-site cafe we can take a breather half way through for some lunch surrounded by Rays and other exhibits!
There’s also the gift shop to browse as well as the architecture of the building, which is hard to miss – it really is beautiful and has been sympathetically restored and refurbished. I can’t wait to return and see what new things we can find.
We were invited to take part in the Lego Ocean Explorers adventure in exchange for an annual pass as #SealifeAmbassadors, however all thoughts, opinions, and imagery are our own.