“ Address: Tivolitie 10 / 00510 Helsinki / Tel: 09 5658 200 „
When I'm on holiday, although I like museums, I like to go and see other things as well. Sea Life Centres are always a fun thing to go and see so that was one of the first things I looked up after I knew I'd be going to Helsinki.
The Sea Life Centre is actually quite far out of the city centre and you really can't walk there so the only options are to get a bus or a tram. The journey takes roughly 20 minutes on either mode of transport. You can catch the 3B tram or the 23 bus at the main bus terminal, next to the train station, and get off at the Alppila stop. From here, the Sea Life Centre is a short walk away and because it is so close and signposted, you can't get lost.
Once you reach this attraction, you will realise that it is actually at the start of a theme park. I knew it was near one before going but I didn't realise that it was right inside. Entrance to the theme park is free although you do have to pay for rides. Entrance to the Sea Life Centre is Euro15 for an adult but I thought that it was a little too much and I'll explain why later. Tickets are valid for the whole day and your hand is stamped upon entry. This is a great thing for kids who are in the theme park anyway. If they get bored of the rides, they can go look at the pretty fish again.
From the beginning, there are 12 different sections of sea life. Rainforest, tropics, ocean tank, jellyfish, seahorses, ocean tunnel, ray display, discovery pool, shipwreck, crab attack, shoaling ring and ice age. At the end of the centre is a meeting room and the gift shop. The crab attack section was by far my favourite as there were some really strange crabs here as well as 3 of the biggest crabs I will ever see in my entire life. As a new part of the attraction, I think it makes a wonderful addition to somewhere that would have otherwise been not very exciting at all. As for everything else to be seen, there are some really pretty fish and some good sharks but there wasn't really anything spectacular.
Helsinki Sea Life is home to over 100 different species of sea creatures and fish and while this sounds like a lot, it doesn't seem like it once you are there. I honestly couldn't tell some things apart from others and I honestly didn't care. The good thing though is that all of the tanks here are extremely large and spacious, giving the creatures more than enough room to swim around and enjoy themselves. None of the different species looked as though they didn't have enough room. Many of the tanks have open tops although obviously, you can't put your hands in the water and touch anything. However, you can touch a sea urchin somewhere along the way but this is more for kids than anything else.
The whole thing took us about 40 minutes to get around. Due to it only taking a short amount of time, we didn't get to see any of the feedings or the demonstrations which was unfortunate. I would definitely advise to look these times up before you go so you don't miss out. Also, as the centre is in a theme park, it is a good way to waste time in-between the other things you can see here. My sister is too much of a wimp to go on rides though so we didn't bother doing this.
At the end of the centre is the gift shop but that is nothing spectacular. As well as the usual soft toys in the shape of fish, postcards, pens etc, there are also items relating to films like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Little Mermaid. I think I'm a bit too old to buy anything like this now from gift shops but I think kids will love it here and want to buy loads of things for their rooms.
Overall, while I enjoyed my visit here, it wasn't the best thing I did while in Helsinki. It is overpriced and doesn't take that long to get around but kids will find it really enjoyable.