Day Out

Visit to Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary- Review

Mr NJC and I are both off work this week – hurrah! I used my birthday voucher to book us a night in Scarborough and we decided to take Stripe to visit the SEA LIFE Sanctuary there. The usual ticket price is £18.00 per individual (aged 3 or over) and free for under 3’s. By prebooking online our tickets went down to £9.50! That’s a huge saving but I can’t help but feel that the on the door price is massively inflated if they can offer such a discount.

We arrived at the Sea Life Sanctuary around 1pm. There is plenty of parking at the Centre but this is council operated and therefore Pay and Display. There is free parking a short walk away but this is up a steep hill so we opted to pay. After a little picnic lunch in our car, we made our way into the centre. As it was a week day during term time there was no queue and we were welcomed and our prebooked tickets issued within minutes.

We availed ourselves of the toilet and baby changing facilities before heading through the barrier. The first thing we encountered was a member of staff trying to muster some enthusiasm to persuade us to have our photograph taken – “The first thing we’re going to do is pretend some piranhas are nipping at your toes!” Fine if you’re into that kind of thing or have some excitable children with you but we’re not and our 1 year old just stared at her blankly! Luckily they were happy to go along with our request just to take a smiley photo.

Stripe at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough Stripe at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

Once inside we found ourselves at the Ray tank. The room was darkened and the tank beautifully lit, Stripe’s jaw dropped when he saw it. It took him a while to really notice the fish but once he did he was keen to point them out to me! There was a large variety of rays, some I didn’t even realise were there at first as they were so well camouflaged against the sand. Others were less restrained and kept popping up above the water in the hope of food.

Ray at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

Fish at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

Next we wandered through an area filled with tanks of jellyfish. The tanks change colour periodically making for an interesting display. I didn’t realise that there are actually thousands of different species of jellyfish (although not at the Sea Life Sanctuary!).

Daddy and Stripe with Jellyfish at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

Next we made our way outside to see the penguins, otters and seals. We didn’t arrive at Penguin Island at the best time. The keeper told us that he had just been clearing up and rearranging their sand so they’d all scooted over to the opposite side of the pool. Only one was brave enough to go for a swim. You can get very close to the penguins which is good and there is an underwater display area which would have been great if they were actually in the water!

Penguin Island at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

Just up from Penguin Island there was a small playground and outdoor eating area. There wasn’t really anything suitable for Stripe to play on so we didn’t stop but it would be great for families with older children. When we arrived at Otter River it was part way through their feeding display. This meant that the otters were at their keeper’s feet and we couldn’t really see them through the people that had gathered. We decided to keep walking up to the Seal Pool.

Seal Pool at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

Seal Pool at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

We made it in good time to watch the feeding display so we settled down in the seating area to wait the 10 minutes. Stripe was very happy to be released from his stroller for a while. A few more families arrived and I have to say he was far more interested in the other children than the seals! The keeper arrived right on time and gave a short talk about the individual seals and how they came to be at the sanctuary before beginning to feed them fish. A rather brazen Herring Gull arrived and started stealing the fish that the seals didn’t get to in time. Must be a gull’s idea of fast food!

Ocean Tunnel at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

We made our way back into the centre and into the Ocean Tunnel. The tank contained a replica shipwreck as well as rocks and corals to replicate the ocean floor. There was a huge variety of different fish in here and it was great to look up and see them swimming above you especially the rays who always look like they’re smiling at you!

Ray at the Sea Life Sanctuary, Scarborough

When we came out of the tunnel we found ourselves at the bottom of some stairs which was surprising given that we were pushing a stroller around. Between us we lifted Stripe to the top of the stairs only to find that there were more stairs up to the final display areas. We looked around but there were no members of staff in sight. Eventually we spotted a door marked as the ‘Wheelchair Route’ so we nipped through there but found ourselves back at the start of the exhibits. Unable to find an alternative and unwilling to carry Stripe plus stroller up any more stairs we decided just to end our visit there.

Perhaps I should have researched more thoroughly beforehand but since our visit I have read on the Sea Life Sanctuary’s website that prams and strollers are not to be used in the centre and must be left at the ‘Buggy Park’. However none of the staff that we spoke to mentioned this to us.

All in all we were pretty underwhelmed by our visit. I would probably go again when Stripe is older and more interested in the displays but I certainly would never pay the full ticket price of £18! Have you visited the Sea Life Sanctuary? What was your experience like?

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Dear Bear and Beany

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17 thoughts on “Visit to Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary- Review

  1. We went a few years back when my daughter was 3 and she didn’t really take to it.

    She has just done an ‘under the sea’ topic at school, though, so we are thinking of going again because I think she’ll appreciate it more now. I think maybe, to a toddler, anything that swims is just ‘a fish’ so they don’t appreciate the variety of what they’re seeing. When they get a bit bigger, they understand what all the different things are and can identify them. Sorry to hear your visit was so disappointing. #sharingthebloglove

  2. I love an aquarium – we just visited the Brighton Sea Life Centre a few weeks ago with my two year old and he loved seeing the sting rays. This one sounds like it has much more to see though, with the penguins, otters and seals there too – I do love watching them swim around (although it sounds like the timing was a bit rubbish for you!) . That’s a bit disappointing about the lack of pushchair access though – you’d think someone would have mentioned it on the entrance if that was the case! Thanks so much for joining us this week at #SharingtheBlogLove – I hope we see you back again next week!

  3. We first visited an aquarium with the kids when they were 1 and 2 and they weren’t that into it but we went back last year when they were 3 and 4 and they really enjoyed it. We’re past the pram stage but really useful information for anyone who still uses one. I do think it’s good to look around for deals, we got our entrance to The Deep with our Tesco vouchers, and like you paid online for Sealife. You did get some great photos though. Thanks for linking up with #YorkshireFamily

  4. We were going to go to the one in Bham, but the tickets were a bit pricey unless you prebooked and we had a hospital appointment in the morning (hence why we were in Bham) so we couldn’t guarantee we could make the time so we never went. I think I might wait until my daughter is a bit older #KCACOLS

  5. We are going to our local sea life during the summer hols, although I’m a little jealous outs doesn’t have seals or penguin. That is a big jump in price, I’m going to check online first now before we go #KCACOLS

  6. That’s a huge difference between door and online booking! I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Sea Life centre; we went to the SeaQuarium at Weston a few years back which was fun, but it was nowhere near that expensive. x #KCACOLS
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…This Week #42My Profile

  7. My little boy loves an aquarium but he normally needs a sleep in his buggy at some point so the whole no prams thing wouldn’t work for us either. It does sound pretty pricey there though, I think you’re right to wait until your little one is older and can make the most of the experience.xx #kcacols

  8. Sea Life centres are great, especially when the weather isn’t great. I love seeing the little penguins and they seem to have good access to them with a penguin island. That’s a bit annoying about the pushchair access, as a lot of the time when we are out our youngest will nap while we carry on exploring with Alice. Thank you for joining us for #SharingtheBlogLove Laura x
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…New School, Husband Home and Race for Life…Happy Days #15My Profile

  9. A few years back we went to The Deep in Hull which Ella thoroughly enjoyed. The price difference between the doors and online is simply shocking! I can’t believe that non of the staff took the time to point out that you can’t take the buggy around with you. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.xx

  10. You know, I’ve never been to an aquarium. We’ve been thinking of going to the one close to us with our 15-month-old, but now you’ve made me reconsider. Your photos look absolutely gorgeous though, so maybe just a trip for mommy and daddy. Thanks for sharing! <3 #KCACOLS

    1. I’d probably just wait until your little one is a bit older before you take them to get the most out of it. They’re definitely worth visiting once they’re old enough to appreciate it though x

  11. I love this I think my little girl would love to go during the holiday, we went to the deep about a year ago but I really hate how crowded it gets.

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