London Sea Life Aquarium

London Sea Life Aquarium is park number 14 on Our Merlin Challenge list, and I will confess at this point that the Sea Life Centres are all starting t merge into one! While the fish are obviously different the layouts and exhibits are all very similar.

Having said that we do seem to find a different of new creature each time, this time we found sand worms! These strange-looking and striped things were popping their heads out of the sand like little watery Meer cats! I still love all the rays and sharks as well as the seahorses. My favourite seahorses though are still the seaweed seahorses from Weymouth Sealife.

The London Sea Life does have a huge shark tank, with the usual tunnel but also has the added fun of as you go into the building you walk over the top of the tank on a glass floor. I think we all enjoyed our time, and as usual the boy stopped to answer the questions and get his badge. The London Sea Life Aquarium is a great place to visit, and you can get a combination ticket with the Eye, Dungeons and other attractions which makes it better value.

Weymouth Tower and number seven on our Merlin park list

Weymouth Tower and number seven on our Merlin park list, and a nice stroll along the seafront around Weymouth bay. Well I would imaging it would be beautiful if you pick a nice warm sunny day. The day we visited was cold and windy, but I have to say that didn’t put us off. We had parked at the Sealife Adventure Park and the notices said it was a 20 min walk. I think as someone who walks fast, this is a little bit on the lean side, as it took at least 30 mins, and we ran part of the way! But it is a beautiful view along the prom with a sandy beach and you could see the tower clearly in the distance. If you want there is a land train that goes along the prom about every hour, but as we had missed it and the next one wasn’t for 45 mins we thought we would walk.

When you arrive at the tower you have a boarding card, I think flights leave about every 20 minutes throughout the day, and it is much bigger close up.
You have to wait outside in a fenced off area, so in the winter bring your woollies and in the summer a hat and water. We were loaded into the tower bubble, which was not what I expected, its like a large doughnut with a continuous bench seat and thankfully is heated. There are no bad seats so you all file in and then when everyone is on board, the doors close and you head upwards at quite a speed! You have glass in front of you and just under your feet so you have a clear view in all directions and the tower turns (2 complete rotations) so you see from the bay and arcades right out to sea. The views were amazing, and once you are at full height I felt completely safe. We had a man who gave us a commentary of all the landmarks and took questions, which was interesting. Then all to quickly it was time to go back down. I thought it would move at a similar speed to the London Eye, but it is actually quite quick. We loved our flight, and the only shame is that there is no other part to the tower, no information room or boards to read. It is just a get on get off.

We loved out visit to Weymouth, and I think we will have to come back in the summer, as I love the beach and fancy a nice stroll along the prom and an ice-cream!
you can book tickets here for both the tower and the Sealife centre and they are good value if booked in advance.

we give the tower a 4/5 as it is something a little different

Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park, and park number six on our list

Park number six on our list of Merlin parks to visit was going to be Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park. After a quick skip down the motorway we arrived. The park is located just on the outskirts of the town, with a large car park. After a quick car picnic we headed inside. I have never been to this Sealife park before and was pleasantly surprised that it was quite different to the others that we have visited.
The first thing is that each different environment is in an individual building, so you follow footsteps around the park. You need to go outside, so wrap up warm! This I can imagine would not be so much fun on a wet day, but it was dry but very cold for our visit. There are also some fun splash areas and a mini pool, which I am sure is popular in the summer.

We followed our map through the usual fish, seahorse, shark stingray, and jellyfish tanks. As with the Birmingham Sealife we also had a quiz to follow.
The seahorses at this park are amazing and something a little special. They were defiantly my favorite, and something I would be keen to see again.
The park also has the added extra of a small ride area, Daddy and the boy braved the crocodile splash, but I didn’t want to get wet! The boys favorite ride the jumping jellybean was good and along with a couple of other rides made a nice addition.

The park is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, so there was a nice added FREE tour of behind the scenes. The tour is every 20 minutes and you queued up at a point just past the penguins. They give the first 15 people a quick briefing then whisk you off into the back of the buildings.
For me this was the best part of the park. The guy who showed us round told us a little about the history of the park. Along with details of breeding programmes, release schemes. Animal health and even the naughty octopus!
This tour is short 10-15mins but is so worth while. It was great to learn that all the fish and animals come through Weymouth before going out to Sealife centres all over the world. They health check all the animals before they go anywhere. We were told about how they try to breed all their stock. So less fish are taken from their natural habitats.

This is a great place to visit, and I can imagine is very popular on a sunny day. we gave this park 5/5 as it was so interesting and a bit different to the others we have visited. This park would have cost £22.50 adult and child. The website has some good offers including combined tower and centre tickets

Merlin Challenge and park number six Sea Life Centre, Birmingham

We had already visited three parks on our whirlwind tour of the midlands, and this seemed like a good spot to stop off on the way home.
The National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham from what we could work out is right in the middle of the city. The signage from the motorway was good although it was a little tricky to find the parking, and then once parked finding the building.

We were fast tracked in as pass holders, and quickly found the route through. The boy was given a scratch card but no map. We were told we wouldn’t need one, we found out as we walked through that this was because there is a one way system.
The scratch card had question numbers and coloured answers and we quickly found the right question. You then scratch the panel to see if you are right. Now I will say, we had no instructions with the card, and not being quite sure of the answers gave it our best guess. Not realising that all the boxes have stars (right or wrong answers) we carried on looking at the amazing exhibits, and open rock pools. You wind your way up the purpose made building, through different continents, waterfalls and ponds. there are animal touch pools, and information boards everywhere.

we enjoyed the shark tanks, and the stingrays are a family favourite. there were otters, turtles and even a fun 3D cinema which was great fun. (apart from the staff member who kept opening and closing the door, all the way through) I love watching fish, and I loved this sea live the centre. You can tell that they have thought about how the visitors move through and it is nice and easy, but you can’t really go back to see something you may have missed!

At the end you pass through a shop, and there is a play area, which looked a bit dirty with some vending machines and some plastic tables and chairs. It’s a shame there isn’t a nice café, as I think that would do well here.

We handed in our scratch card, but had found out we had got answers wrong, as some stars have happy and some sad faces. The lady on the till however just handed us an explorer medal without even looking at the card. This all seemed a bit false, but the boy was happy as he had another medal.

We left to find the car, which in itself is interesting, as you come out of the opposite side of the building and this disoriented us all. The canal bridges as you leave are fun to explore and I would imagine on a sunny day it is nice to stop and watch the world go by. We were in the centre for about 2 hours, but I would imagine half a day would be as long as you would need to spend.
It would have cost us £15.00 each, and parking is extra here about £3 for 3hours but discounts can be found on their website

We gave this Sealife Centre 3/5 our favourite is still Brighton as it has a better atmosphere, and the staff were more helpful.