Santa in sleigh with two little girls, Christmas trees in the background

A visit to the Antarctic North Pole at Sea Life Birmingham

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It’s a bit of a contradiction isn’t it, the Antarctic North Pole? But head to the National Sea Life Centre this week and you’ll find Santa in his North Pole Grotto. But wait, are those penguins? Everyone knows there are no penguins in the North Pole! That’s why the Santa experience at the National Sea Life Centre is so unique. Where else can you have a meet and greet with Santa with a backdrop of Gentoo penguins?

A Christmas family tradition

We really are regular visitors at the National Sea Life Centre, and their Christmas event is a bit of a family tradition for us. It’s a busy time of year to visit. After all, it’s the perfect treat when the weather isn’t brilliant. A warm environment, loads of things to look at, interactive exhibits, a 4D film and of course a meet and greet with Santa.

On arrival, you can spend some time watching the penguins swimming by. They are such fascinating creatures, leaping up out of the water and diving in. They’re also fascinated by visitors and often come right up to the window.

From there, you walk through some amazing areas featuring different parts of the ocean. We always love the interactive rock pool area where you can touch a star fish or mermaid’s purse. The girls also enjoy getting their logbooks stamped at every stop so they can have a little medal or badge at the end.

The festive twists

Every time we visit the Sea Life Centre, the girls take something different from it. But at Christmas, it’s always just a little bit more magical. The film in the 4D cinema is the Polar Express. As we’re going on the Telford Steam Railway Polar Express at the weekend, this was perfect to get us in the mood. At one point in the film, you can even smell the hot chocolate. Perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit.

After watching the film, it’s time to head into the amazing 360 degree ocean tunnel. Black tip reef sharks swim overhead, which always brings back great memories for me of seeing them in Great Barrier Reef years ago. A throwback to warmer times! If you’re lucky, you might spot Molokai the rescued giant green sea turtle too.

And finally, your experience ends with a meet and greet with Santa himself. The girls told him what they wanted for Christmas and he gave them a little gift each, which they were delighted with. This is always a lovely day out and I think we’re finally ready for Christmas.

Head to my roundup post for more fabulous Christmas days out in the West Midlands.

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