Half Term Hooley
Well its been a wet one, thankfully we visited the SEA LIFE London Aquarium on Thursday during the downpours. Considering we were surrounded by gallons of water we kept relatively dry. We love the great outdoors, but its great to have a few indoor family activities up your sleeve for when the British weather hits. The SEA LIFE London Aquarium is located at the bottom of County hall and is just a 2 min walk along the Southbank from Waterloo tube station. As it was a week day we parked at Westfield shopping center to avoid the congestion charge and tubed in on the Jubilee line. Worried about taking kids on the tube? Have a look at my ‘Traveling with kids in London blog’.
Snacks, snack, snacks
We had been told that we would only need a couple of hours to explore so hadn’t taken a pack up. Big mistake, there is no café inside, just a small ice cream kiosk. You have been warned Crumblers take snacks with you to avoid your little urchins han-gry sting. The London Sea Life Center is much bigger than we thought and houses a huge tank of sharks, turtles and rays in the center which you can view at different angles during your journey. I’d say to leave at least 3hrs for your visit, and don’t rush its a walk around so difficult to go back against the tide of visitors at this popular attraction.
Sonic the Hedgehog
For half term SEA LIFE London Aquarium put on an extra treat with a Sonic the Hedgehog activity trail. The Boy enjoyed completing the fishy inspired tasks and collecting the missing letters on the action stations to help Sonic and friends beat Dr. Eggman and save the creatures at SEA LIFE London Aquarium. He was most pleased beating his sister at the hanging tough challenge and feeling the strength of a crabs claws. Don’t forget to hand in your activity trail card to receive your reward certificate from Sonic and the gang …..like we did. Darn it. The Sonic event is on until the 28th of February.
Not just Fish
There’s plenty to see and do and the interactive screens are a real hit with the kids. I loved the feeding talk at the piranha’s but it can be quite hit and miss if your in the wrong area when the talks happen. Make sure you check times on entry. We were really surprised to enter the Antarctic area and see so many cute penguins splashing about. They swim right up to the glass and the exhibit allows you to view them underwater too. You’ll need your camera just remember to turn off the flash. The kids enjoyed the rain forest walk, we saw poisonous frogs and snakes and it punctuates the tanks really well so that little ones don’t get bored of the same type of exhibit.
There was a small exhibit where you could get touch a sharks egg and starfish and the chap was so lovely. There are plans to open a larger rock pool area with more hands on fun at Easter which I think will be a big hit with the kids. Don’t be afraid to talk to staff. One of our best moments was when Wilba was crying…. remember I said we were snack-less, lesson learnt. This charming lady called Abi came over and spoke to us for ages about all the sharks and their very funny names, I wont ruin the fun but its more cast of Corrie than Coral reef. She also told us that when they go in the tank the sharks like a cuddle. It was at this point that I questioned Abi’s state of mind, but was reassured when she told us how many times they feed them and that this ensures they don’t attack. Regardless you wont be seeing me in the tank. However they do have VIP experiences where you can do just that and other seemingly safer exploits.
For me though, the most spectacular bit and even deadlier than the sharks were the Jellyfish. There is a whole wonderfully illuminated area dedicated to them. I could have sat their immersed in the tranquil music for hours. Sadly my kids are about as tranquil as a tornado, but I can imagine others, especially those who benefit from sensory stimulation finding this area very therapeutic. If you ask the kids what there favourite bit was it would probably be the man (in full wet-suit and breathing aid) cleaning the UK’s largest living coral reef with a hoover. Kids are weird.
Under The SeaThe attraction is suitable for buggies but can get busy even with the limited timed entries. Take my advice and pack snacks and drinks. Take your time there’s lots to see. Make sure you make a note of feeding times and talks as these are done very well. There were toilets on every floor and before the exit, there was of course, a gift shop. This was well stocked with a good range of gifts and keepsakes, but also a good range of prices. We were able to buy our traditional magnet without breaking the bank. If you tie the experience in with other Merlin attractions using their deals and online savers I think its a reasonable day out. If you have a Merlin pass even better.
Have a whale of a time Crumblers.
*Disclaimer . We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this review but as always my thoughts and word are my own