You’ll know by now we are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year, a role we absolutely love. Having visited many of the London attractions now we took our passes on holiday with us as the Cornish Seal Sanctuary (a Merlin attraction) was only 15 minutes from where we were staying .
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is located in Gweek and is rather tucked away within a housing estate but follow the brown tourist signs and you won’t miss it.
I will say in advance that wearing sensible shoes is advisable here as it is all outside. Parts are very hilly with bumpy tracks and while parts are wheelchair friendly many parts will see these visitors struggling due to the rough tracks and gradients.
Currently to celebrate the launch of Finding Dory the Seal Sanctuary has a Dory themed activity for the children, just like the Sealife Aquariums. The children were both given Dory swim masks to wear and given an activity booklet and pencil. You have to search and collect letters dotted around the attraction and then unscramble them for a prize at the end of your visit. Emmy loved finding the letters and jotting them down in her booklet, Harry being younger wasn’t fussed at all.
Entry to the Seal Sanctuary is obviously cheapest if you purchase your ticket online where you can save up to 30% for a general admission ticket or £36 for a family ticket and is of course free to Merlin Annual Pass holders. Once you have paid for your tickets however you are able to return as many times as you like for a whole week!
After paying you head outside where you can either walk down the hill to see the seals or get on the safari bus and be driven down. My advice is if you are going to walk one walk then walk down as by the time you’ve walked all around the kids will be too tired to walk back up again.
The first thing you come across is the Seal Hospital where you can go in and see the poorly seals. There weren’t any on our visit which is of course a good thing.
Next up are the seals. Different species are in their different enclosures. Some of these will later be released back into the wild while others are too old or poorly to make it in the wild, these will spend the rest of their time living at the Sanctuary.
We were lucky enough to arrive in time for feeding time and listen to the talks given by the keepers. The seals were so entertaining for both the children and us adults and we found ourselves mesmerised by them playing together and even play fighting over who got prime position for feeding time.
As was wandered around the Sanctuary we managed to time it so we saw all the feeding times of the Seals, Penguins and Otters.
It was very crowded around the Penguins enclosure with adults blocking children’s views which I never like to see, especially as they are still able to see if they stand back just a little to let the kids in front of them. We gave up trying to watch from upstairs so came down and viewed down at ground level.
There is a cafe as you wander around so you could grab something to eat or a drink. As it was hot, a drink stop was needed for us (remember that a merlin annual pass gives you 20% off food and drinks in the cafe) and also here was a lovely boat play area for the kids and benches for the adults.
Harry and Emmy both loved the rock pool area, a quiet little cove where there are tanks you can look into with a special bouy magnifier in the top of the water and you can also stroke the crabs.
While the whole place looks small on the outside it actually spans quite a distance so while you probably won’t be able to spend a whole day here you will definitely fill a morning or afternoon easily and can of course come back again within the week if you wanted to.
We all had a lovely time here looking at the Seals and learning a little about where they’ve come from and the story behind individual Seals, where they were rescued from and the job the sanctuary does in rehabilitating these lovely animals.
Disclaimer: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors and have been provided with a years worth of family fun