Last weekend, as Toby’s treat for reaching the end of his reward chart, we went to SEA LIFE Blackpool for a morning with the fishes. I lived in Blackpool for my whole childhood, and had spent plenty of time there visiting my parents until we moved back to the area last year but I have never been to the Sea Life Centre (as I knew it) before.
SEA LIFE Blackpool is just along the promenade from Blackpool Tower and there’s plenty of parking in the pay and display car park behind. As it was a bank holiday weekend we decided to get there in time for opening so it wouldn’t be too busy. We actually had to wait outside for the doors to open and were the second people in there!
SEA LIFE is fully pushchair and wheelchair accessible – there’s a lift to get up to the aquarium itself but once you’re up it is all on one level. There is a buggy park outside the lift upstairs if you wish but we chose to keep ours with us.
We were welcomed by a member of staff when we arrived and had our photograph taken – it’s a bit like at a theme park where you can see your pictures in the gift shop at the end. At £9 for one picture though we didn’t buy ours!
First up was the rock pool area where you can touch starfish, crabs, and even have your fingers cleaned by a shrimp! Toby liked looking but he didn’t want to touch anything – he’s quite nervous when it comes to things like that.
We then followed the displays round – as it was so quiet it was easy for Toby and Gabe to see everything but I can imagine it would be harder when it is busier. I ended up putting Gabe on my back in the carrier so he had a better view, and so I didn’t have to keep chasing him all over the place, but everything was at Toby’s eye height so we didn’t really need to pick him up which was great!
I think it’s safe to say Toby enjoyed his reward – it was so lovely to see the amazement on his little face.
We really loved watching all the sting rays – they have such funny faces underneath, and they really weren’t shy about showing them to everyone.
Quite a lot of the tanks had little bubble pods so you could get really up close with the fish and other sea creatures.
Of course Toby loved seeing the Nemo and Dory fish…
And the oceanic tunnel with the sharks swimming overhead was a big hit with both boys.
We actually made it round the whole place in about 45 minutes the first time, which didn’t seem very good value for our thirty-odd quid. Helpfully though there is a door near the end where you can pop through back to the start of the whole thing.
So we went back to the beginning and Toby was able to collect the stamps in his little log book that we had been given, which are dotted around the place, but had neglected to do the first time round. And it meant we had another chance to look at the funny ray faces too!
At the end of the aquarium there is the obligatory gift shop – there are a few tables and chairs, and a little soft play area. You can buy drinks and snacks from the shop but there is no cafe as such.
It was quite expensive to visit SEA LIFE – it was just under £32 for us, and that’s without having to pay for Gabe (under 3s are free) and with a £5 discount voucher that I had picked up the week before. It is slightly cheaper if you book online and there are also combo tickets if you are visiting other attractions. They do have a midweek, term time, parent and toddler ticket which is only £11 for one adult and one child under 5 which is really good value. I think if we go again then I will take the boys on my own and take advantage of the offer.
I hope you enjoyed this post – we love exploring new places for our family days out, I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations of places we could go in the north west.