Birmingham’s National Sea Centre celebrates its 20 birthday this year. Mike Woods found out if it’s better down where it’s wetter...
It’s a little bit of the ocean in the second city. Step through the doors of the National Sea Life Centre and you’ll see why it’s become such an integral part of family days out.
As a first time visitor, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But stepping through the doors on a grey July day was a great treat. Almost instantly, we were greeted with the fantastic penguin exhibit.
These fascinating creatures were a brilliant introduction to what was in store.
It was great to be able to show our son, aged just 14 months, the graceful movement of the birds soaring through the water from observation areas below the water line.
Throughout the tour he was engaged with the goings-on behind the thick glass of the tanks, with lots of colour and sound to stimulate the senses.
But the penguins are only part of the aquatic odyssey. Sea Life is now home to more than 2,000 creatures ranging from rays to otters via clownfish and jellyfish.
There’s plenty to maintain the interest throughout the tour, with talks and demonstrations to shed some light on the murky depths and even a 4D cinema experience.
A natural highlight of the trip was the 360 degree ocean tunnel. The experience of rays gliding through the water just a few inches above the head is sure to impress anyone who thinks they’ve seen it all before.
The Sea Life centre is a real jewel in the crown of Birmingham, and is one we look forward to sharing with our son time and time again as he grows older and gets to enjoy it on new levels.
Sea Life Birmingham has launched its #IGrewUpWithSeaLife campaign, asking people to share photos of their trips over the past 20 years to be in the chance of winning a prize. Visit the website for more details