Newest Review: ... finding a tourist information place to get a leaflet about the Sanctuary or a book containing lots of local attractions as this will g... more
Gweek Seal Sanctuary
National Seal Sanctuary (Helston)
Member Name: JJ1978
National Seal Sanctuary (Helston)
Advantages: Help the seals
Today we went to the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek near Helston, in Cornwall. It's in a small village and there are plenty of brown signs directing you there. When you get there, there is a free car park. There were plenty of spaces but if you visited on a weekend or in the school holidays I expect it would be alot busier.
You enter the sanctuary through a small building where you pay your admission. Currently adults are charged £12.95, Children and senior citizens are charged slightly less but I can't remember exactly how much. It is worth picking up a leaflet before you go as these can contain deals. At the moment on the leaflet you get 2 adults and 2 children for £22.
The actual sanctuary is about a 10 minute walk up a gradual hill but you can get a safari bus to the top. When you first reach the top there is the toilets and a refreshment kiosk which was closed at the time of our visit. The toilets were pretty small but there was no queuing and they were very clean.
Next to these was the Seal Hospital which didn't have any seals in on our visit. Inside there was a film playing about a seal that they had rescued and also machines that messure your heart rate and your body weight, these cost 20p each.
You then walk down a steep hill and come to the seals. The first two are very friendly and quite small and we watched them for about ten minutes because they were playful and quite entertaining. We then rushed off to what must have been the main pool. There are 4 larger seals in here 2 black in colour and 2 black and white. I especially thought the black and white ones were beautiful because of their markings. They were doing a talk there at the time we arrived and thats why we rushed over. We learned alot more about the history of the seals including one of them is brain damaged because he was smashed against rocks as a pup. You get a good close up view of all the seals in this pool because they come out of the water alot and are very close to the fence. Joined onto this pool are 4 nursery pools. You can go into a building and get an under water view of these seals. This was really interesting and great fun.
Next to this pool was 2 more pools of seals. These again were larger seals. There are talks about these at particular times of the day. We didn't spend that long looking at these pools because most of the time the seals were underwater and you couldn't see them very well. However, on the way back through we noticed that there was a seperate section where you can view them underwater, this was much clearer than the first underwater viewpoint and we really enjoyed watching them. Next to these pools was a small gift shop and refreshment stand. The refreshment stand was very expensive and they were charging £3 for orange juice! The gift shop had a variety of stock including branded sea life goods and cuddly toys. There was also a play park for children.
Next to this was a hut which contained wildlife that could be found in a rock pool. This had a variety of things in it including limpets, hermit crabs, starfish, sea aneminies, crabs and a green edible crab. We found the green crab very interesting as we had never seen one before.
You then could go and see the otters. This was a 300 metre walk through some woodland. There were 2 otters here who were easy to see. They were called Starsky and Hutch and were quite small. They weren't up to much when we visited but I expect they can be very entertaining at times.
You then walk back through the park and have the opportunity to look around again or leave the park. We had another look, especailly in the main pool and then walked back to reception. There was a slightly larger gift shop here which stocked a number of things including cuddly toys, sweets and glass seal ornaments.
Our visit to the seal sanctuary took about 2 hours. For the price we paid, I think there wasn't a lot in the park. I imagine most of the admission fee's go on the seals however I think there could have been more to do on the park as £12.95 each for a 2 hour visit is quite expensive. The seals all looked happy in their environments however a few of their pools looked quite small, but I do not know how deep the pools were so cannot comment on this.
We did enjoy our afternoon at the seal sanctuary and we would probably go again, but only if we had discount vouchers as it was expensive. The staff were all friendly and polite and I really enjoyed the talks they gave about the seals. I would recommend this park for a half day visit as it was good fun.
Summary: Good place to visit for half a day