Over the half term break we were in London for a few days to celebrate our daughter’s 16 birthday and I have already written about our days out at the Shrek Adventure and the Tower Of London, but to continue with the theme our girls were also keen to visit the Sea Life London Aquarium as well. We took our god-daughter who lives is central London with us to the South Bank attraction and the girls were very excited to see something so different to their norm.
As with any marine subject the thought of the oceans and the sea creatures usually bring forth images of warm days, nice beaches and beautiful creatures, all of which are captured so well within the attraction. This was also magnified with the sheer volume of people also in attendance, I have to say that as it was half term of course it was very busy and it pays to book online before hand to ensure you can get tickets on the day you want.
Even though I have two children of my own and have been through the baby stages, I was still extremely surprised at how challenging it can be when you have multiple (and sometimes double) baby buggies at such a confined attraction. Having a teen with ASD I know how much her personal space means to her, she can be noise adverse and I must say she felt with so many buggies she was overwhelmed and did feel claustrophobic, especially in the penguin enclosure and the glass tunnel. This was also re-iterated by our youngest daughter (aged 9) but not to the extent of our teen. It’s something to think about if you have children with ASD or disabilities.
Once we began our tour the girls were keen to explore and examine every zone/exhibit on offer, which there are in abundance. Never underestimate the thrill and wonder children (and adults!) find with all things aquatic, it is quite beautiful to see such an array of sea creatures and to be able to see them and almost touch them is really something. The Sea Life Centre have carefully planned the attraction out and have attempted to include as many species as possible within reason and space provided. There was a huge message regarding conservation that was a continual theme throughout the whole visit, which is great to see and is also thought/question provoking to children and really drives home the message of just how much we are messing up the planet.
As you go around the attraction you follow a pre-planned route so missing things outside of your interest is quite difficult so don’t worry too much about missing any of your favourite marine life. However as with most attractions there are some areas that can get quite congested, and this is where you sometimes see the questionable manners of some visitors, as we found in some instances adults were pushing children out of the way to get to a better vantage point – which was quite unbelievable! Particularly at the penguin enclosure, the Pacific Wreck and the glass tunnel (Shark Walk) it’s something to consider as you are going around the tour especially if you have young children.
Other than the attitude of some visitors which you have no control over, the whole attraction was very good, the staff were very friendly and helpful and there was plenty to see and do for all the family. However the other half found the prices quite high (see below) which he felt were counter intuitive based on the sheer volume of visitors at the attraction and also the conservation message that they were trying to convey. I would advise to book online, check before you go for any online discounts (not just on the main website) and also look out for the 2-for-1 offers you can get for Merlin Attractions.
* We were provided with tickets from Sea Life London Aquarium for the purpose of this post. However all thoughts and opinions remain my own.*