Travel, UK
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Sharks, Lego and ice cream. A day trip to Brighton

The eldest got his first school report back in July.  Lets remember that he’s five, it reads something like this; “He is very happy and has lots of friends.”  Anyway, I had been using it as a threat  reward scheme in the run up to the end of term, in the same way that Father Christmas is already being mentioned in this house as the next behavioural incentive scheme.  We had all watched Shark on the BBC a few months ago, it was beautifully shot and showed the wonders of deep sea diving. J currently has his heart set on being a diver when he grows up.

A trip to Brighton Sealife Centre was his end of term reward. The weather on the day that we picked was dreadful (surprise surprise) and I was slightly worried that it would be heaving inside, so we got there at 10am as soon as it opened.  We had the buggy with the 14 month old S in and I couldn’t find the ramp for ages.  The signposts seemed obvious (maybe they were to someone who had more than 5 hours sleep the night before) but I wondered up and down the main road until we eventually headed down to the beach, through a tunnel to the entrance.  No queues and we were in.  Dark and beautiful, the oohs and ahhs began the minute we spotted the lobster, the clown fish (“its Nemo”), baby S was flapping his arms at the stingrays and we sat on the stairs just watching them gracefully glide past us.  J touched a starfish in the interactive area and was blown away  by an interactive game that needed only your arms to control the fish.

J with Minion glasses in the Lego section

J making sharks in the Lego section

Lego Explorers were holding a special Summer event at Sealife, there were Lego objects to be found all around the centre and a certificate if you found them all.  J wasn’t keen to do this but loved making sharks from the Lego.  I was slightly worried he would have a speed wobble when he found out he couldn’t take it home but there was a big display area where you put your Lego object with all the other ones and he was very proud to put his shark there.

Up close with the turtles

Up close with the turtles

J is obsessed with getting a pet at the moment.  Ideally he wants a snake.  Call me boring (because he certainly does) but there is zero chance of that ever happening in our house.  Next up is a turtle.  Again, sorry pal but no hope there either.  I have offered a fish, small and easy to look after.  He’s not satisfied with that, so we will wait and see.  The problem with five year olds is they change their minds everyday.  Even if I was super cool with snakes and we got one, he would probably want a cat the following week.  Anyway, I digress.  We headed through the aquarium to the glass bottom boat; (you have to pay extra for this which we didn’t know until we got there, tickets are way back in the cafe, it would have been great to be able to buy them there).

J "on top of a giant turtle" in the boat

J “on top of a giant turtle” in the boat

Our boat guide was passionate about the fish, he knew them all by name and J was really interested in how old they were and where they had come from (the giant turtles were rescued in captivity).  Baby S was attempting to jump overboard, he loved it.  This child was probably a fish in his past life because out of all three of my kids he’s the only one who has braved the British sea fully submerged around the age of one with only a shorty wetsuit on.  You can see the awe and wonder in his little face. J was blown away by the sharks, he loves them, he cant believe people cut their fins off and leave them to die (seen on Shark), he wants to make posters for people to stop eating shark fin soup (I love this passion and insight aged five). The boat trip was about 15 minutes and was well worth the extra ££.  After the boat we were ready to go above ground and out.

Awe and wonder as he attempts to jump off the boat

Awe and wonder as he attempts to jump off the boat

There were lots of things to do as we went round Sealife, J made an octopus out of a paper plate, did some turtle drawings on a blackboard, filled a stamp book when we went round and saw various things but mainly he just loved running from around and looking at the fish.  We could have been in and out in about 1 1/2 hours. J has a small attention span, he does things fast, looks at things fast and to be honest it suits me fine as I do too but we had to wait for the boat to start, so we chilled out with a drink and some Monster Munch (he loves pickled onion which pleases me greatly, my childhood favourites) and watched the sting rays swimming around.

As adults we are often too busy to stop and look, the kids remind me to see things through their eyes

As adults we are often too busy to stop and look, the kids remind me to see things through their eyes

On exit we were back into the awesome city of Brighton and within one minute he was bubble blowing with some guy by the pier and then watching a floating statue in amazement.  There is no place like Brighton for unusual things and you can always count on something to surprise you and make you smile (keep a look out for the giant dog who plays the piano around the lanes on your next visit).

Top tips for Sealife

  • book online before you go to save queuing and £££
  • buy your ticket for the glass bottom boat (if you want to go on it) at the entrance otherwise its a mission to get back to buy one
  • there are no pushchairs allowed in the glass bottom bit, we took ours up the stairs anyway as we had a wait with little S before the boat ride, a lift or wheelchair access would be good here
  • keep the baby in the pushchair if you don’t want to carry them round they can see most things and with more than one child it would have been too stressful if they had all been “on the loose”
  • the exit is through the shop, thankfully they have some very cheap toys and we managed to get a cuddly shark for £6 which compared to a zoo we visited recently was a bargain

We had a fantastic day out at the Sealife Centre and were offered tickets in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are our own and honest feedback on our day out.

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