Sea Life centres across the UK are asking visitors to pick a side this summer. Will you help the mermaids or the pirates to hunt down hidden treasure? We headed to the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham yesterday to check out the event. True to form, my two chose opposing sides. They went the extra mile and dressed up as their chosen characters too.
Pirates and Mermaids
We’ve been regular visitors to the National Sea Life Centre for seven years now. Sea Life Centres are one of the few places that are just as good for babies as anyone else. When they were tiny, the girls would stare, captivated at the fish for as long as we’d let them. As children get older though, it takes a little more to hold their attention. That’s why the Sea Life Centre has regular events on to make every visit even more exciting.
Their latest event is a little unusual. Pirates and mermaids are a natural choice for the Sea Life Centre and it’s a great idea to pit the two against each other. I don’t know any children who aren’t either pirate or mermaid fans. In our little family, there was lots of rivalry. Both children immediately knew which side they would choose.
As soon as we arrived, they were given a sheet each with a list to fill in. Hidden in six tanks around the Sea Life Centre were various pieces of treasure. To help with the quest, each tank with treasure in had a sign on it. When they spotted it, the children wrote the object onto their list. At the end, they handed the sheets in at the gift shop, exchanging them for a small gift. A mermaid or pirate badge and a mermaid or pirate temporary tattoo. This kept the girls thoroughly engaged throughout our visit as they battled to be the first to spot each piece of treasure.
What you need to know about the Pirates and Mermaids event
- Pirates and Mermaids events are running at various Sea Life Centres across the UK until 8th September.
- The immersive trail and prize at the end are included in the admission price.
- At certain Sea Life Centres, in-tank mer-creature experiences take place on particular dates. It’s well worth checking with your local Sea Life Centre before you go if you’d like to see one.
- All children can select either or both trails and will be entitled to a prize subject to availability.
- At the National Sea Life Centre, children can also meet a mermaid on certain dates. The girls loved having their photo taken with a friendly mermaid.
- Find out about this and other events on the National Sea Life Centre website.
Seals in the city at the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham
Pirates and Mermaids aren’t the only new residents at the National Sea Life Centre this year. They have recently opened a marine rescue centre and two seals have become its first residents. Their enclosure was developed to emulate natural habitat as much as possible. Both seals have medical conditions preventing them from being released into the wild.
Their habitat has been created to give them the best possible quality of life, as well as allowing visitors to learn more about them by getting up close. The girls loved crawling through a tunnel to pop their heads up in a viewing area within the seal enclosure. The seals are being fostered from seal hospitals. This allows them to make extra space during pup season, while the Birmingham seals take a city break.
Other activities at the National Sea Life Centre
The first creatures you’ll encounter on a trip to the National Sea Life Centre are the adorable Gentoo penguins. Learn a bit about them and see if you can jump as high as a penguin before continuing on your journey. Visit the rescue seals, sharks and fish of all shapes and sizes. Lia’s favourites are the seahorses. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for any species that nominates the males to carry the young too.
Children can even touch a starfish and listen to a shell in one of the tanks. Another thing my girls always enjoy is watching a film in the 4D cinema. The gentle, fun films take you on a journey under the sea. At the moment, it’s the story of an adorable little fish who loses his favourite pebble. He goes on an adventure with his friends to find it. After the film, it’s time to head into the 360 degree ocean tunnel.
Here, you’ll encounter Molokai the giant green turtle, along with numerous sharks and fish. Molokai likes to nap in a little area of the tank and make friends with the other creatures. Molokai ended up at the Sea Life Centre after being rescued from Heathrow airport 40 years ago. Someone was trying to smuggle him in their bag. These days, he’s partial to broccoli, lettuce, kale and naps. Despite his healthy diet, he weighs over 20 stone!
Each Sea Life Centre boasts its own unique residents. Please do let me know which one is your favourite, we intend to visit a few more on our travels around the UK.