Sea Life London Aquarium review

Sea Life London Aquarium Turtles

The Sea Life London Aquarium is by far the children’s favourite place to visit. Whether they spend an hour killing time here or all afternoon – they never ever tire of it and nor do us adults, seeing the pure joy in the children’s eyes makes the repeated visits worthwhile and brings us back time and time again.

The Sea Life London Aquarium is located on the South bank of the river Thames within the County Hall building, on the same stretch as the Coca-Cola London Eye, the London Dungeons and DreamWorks Tour’s Shrek’s Adventure – all Merlin attractions which are accessible for free with Merlin Annual Passes.  As Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors for this year we have been enjoying lots of #eyepoppingdaysout with our passes this year.

The nearest tube to the Sea Life London Aquarium is Waterloo, follow the exit signs for South bank and head towards the London Eye, when you reach the London Eye turn left and walk passed the Dungeons and Shrek’s Adventure and the Sea Life Aquarium is on your left – you won’t miss it! Westminster and Charing Cross stations are also close. You are able to drive and park rather close in the Q-Park Westminster – click here to receive a 15% discount when booking in advance using the code SEALIFE – don’t forget to pay your congestion charge on the day too, Monday to Friday). You can also catch a bus – details can be found here or a boat will take you to the south bank.

Pre-booking is advised in busy periods – weekends and school holidays as it can get really busy and if too full you’ll be turned away.  You can pre-book online to avoid disappointment during these times.

The layout of the Sea Life Aquarium is a one-way system, you can move as quickly or as slowly through the areas but it’s best to keep with the flow of the traffic as it does get very busy, especially at weekends and in the holidays and do take note of where the toilets are and ask/encourage young children to visit these as you come across them, we’ve had the mad dash recently when Emmy had to go and it was a 10 minute walk to the closest one, not always ideal for very young children.

Sea Life London Aquarium

After gaining entry to the Sea Life Aquarium you all have your pictures taken as a family, posing for the cameras (these photo’s are available to purchase at the end of your day in the gift shop), these pictures cause a delay getting in and it is worth noting that they aren’t compulsory, you can choose to just walk in without the pictures which is what we do.

 

You need to walk over a glass walk way to gain entry – this take you above the sharks tank. Harry loves this and takes great joy in scaring Emmy by jumping up and down, Emmy finds this glass flooring very daunting.
With tanks at all levels it is easy for even Harry (or children in buggies) to get up close to the fish and to enjoy the day, from a parental point of view this is great at it doesn’t give you a backache having to lift them up to see.
sea life centre 1
The rock pool remains a favourite for both Emmy and Harry as they are able to stroke the Starfish in the little pools.
An added extra which can be purchased upon entrance is a guided behind the scenes tour of the quarantine area within the Aquarium, I would advice this suitable for older children.  The tour entrance is at the back of the Ray tanks and takes around 30 minutes. The quarantine area is where the new arrivals are kept to ensure they are healthy before being put in with the existing fish, this is also where the Starfish resting area is – there are lots of tanks of starfish with a couple in each tank, these are rotated through out the day so each starfish only ‘works’ for up to 3 hours a day, then comes back into the resting area for a few days rest – it must be hard being touched by so many hands all day every day – they definitely need a good rest.  It also is where there recovery tanks are – Starfish can regenerate, so if the loose a leg it will grow back again – we’ve taken this tour and seen many here in different states of recovery, some with 3 legs, some with 4.
Behind the scenes tour Sea Life London Aquarium

 

The behind the scenes tour is fascinating, you can ask any questions you want and it is a great chance to see things you would otherwise have missed – I was fascinated by seeing the Seahorse breeding tanks, with the new babies only around the size of an eyelash, and the Jellyfish from babies all the way up to fully grown.

Emmy and Harry got to hold a sharks tooth and touch the skin of a lobster and we learnt all about what the different fish and animals in the Sealife Centre ate, from the Penguins to the Sharks and all in between.
The Seal Life Aquarium is suitable for all ages and you are able to spend just as long as you’d like inside.  The children’s favourites are the Sharks, Turtles and the Penguins.
Sea Life London Aquarium Turtles
This year the Penguin habitat had a makeover and Penguin Point is even lovelier than ever with viewing of the Penguins easier and you are also able to get up close and personal with the new Face to Face Frozen Planet exhibition, visitors are able to explore the polar ice worlds through an interactive walk, you can encounter a polar bear and her cubs and killer whales as the icy landscapes come to life through augmented technology.
sealife augmented display

 

Learn about the 500+ inhabitants of the Sea Life Aquarium with descriptive plagues next to each tank and spend time memorised by the fish of all sizes – this really is a fantastic day out for all ages.

merlin annual pass ambassador

Disclaimer: As Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors we have been provided with a years worth of family fun.

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