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Sea Life Centre (Great Yarmouth)

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9 Reviews

Marine Parade / Great Yarmouth / Norfolk / NR30 England / Telephone: 01493 330 631

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    9 Reviews
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    • More +
      23.06.2011 21:13
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      Don't bother, there's better ways to spend your money

      *Review based on a visit in June 2011

      Situated just past Wellington Pier on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre is an expensive way to spend a couple of hours. Having spent some time researching days out, I had discovered that the cheapest way of visiting here was to find some of the buy one get one free vouchers that are readily available. Even with these vouchers entry still cost us £30 for four adults and a toddler and personally I think we paid twice as much as our visit was worth.

      The entrance to the Sealife Centre is well posted and on entering you have to pass through the gift shop to the counter to pay. Call me cynical, but a small part of me couldn't help but wonder if this was a ploy to find it's way into my wallet, just in case I decided the entry fee was too high. Anyhow, once the displays of soft toys were navigated, paying our entrance fee was easy enough, major debit and credit cards are accepted along with cash. A nice touch is that along with my receipt I was given a couple of money off vouchers, one for the seal sanctuary at Hunstanton (which we didn't use) and another for Merrivale Model Village (which we did). Before actually entering the exhibit we had to subject ourselves to the indignity of having our hands stamped, which would then allow us to re-enter as many times as we liked throughout the day. (The ink did wash off easily, perhaps too easily as it was a rainy day and within minutes of leaving our stamps had turned into indistinct red splodges).

      Once we'd finally gone through all this rigmarole we finally got to enter the centre proper, with the entrance being a fairly narrow doorway filled with polythene strips (just like you'd find at the entrance to a supermarket warehouse). Personally I found it quite difficult to navigate a buggy through this doorway, and feel it was poorly designed, but from the gasps of older children in front of us, they found this aspect quite exciting. Once through the strips, we were confronted with yet another money making aspect, this time in the form of a photographer, who asked us to all stand together in front of a screen so he could take a picture. Although you are under no obligation to purchase these photos, do be aware that hard copies are printed off and available to purchase at the exit. I, personally, wasn't keen on having this photo taken, but as the rest of the party were, I acquiesced. The photos weren't bad quality, but at £6 for one or £10 for two, I do think they were quite expensive for a 7" by 5" print (even though they did come in a fairly nice cardboard frame).

      Once the photos were taken, we finally made our way to see some actual sea life. Rather than being allowed to roam freely among the various tanks, we had to follow a strict, one-way route. The path was fairly even but quite narrow in places with the occasional sloped area. In order to show the exhibits off to their best advantage the lighting is quite dim, meaning that I did find a few areas that felt claustrophobic, especially when there were several parties trying to look at the same exhibit. As well as a toddler in a buggy there was also his 92 year old Great Grandma and there were a few places where she needed an elbow to lean on for support. While I managed to get a single stroller around with only a little difficulty, I would say that it would be an extremely tight squeeze for an adult wheelchair or double side-by-side buggy.

      Most of the actual exhibits were pretty interesting, with there being something that impressed each of our party, from 14 month old Freddy to his 92 year old Grandma. The first exhibit we came to was the shipwreck where a number of fish could be found. Freddy was particularly impressed with the big fish here, that he could see through the glass sides. I was really pleased that Freddy could see most of the fish throughout the centre without needing to be carried. We must have spent a good ten minutes in this area. We were also allowed to take photos throughout the whole of the centre, although the flash did need to be turned off at certain points to prevent stress to breeding animals.

      After these big fish (the names of which totally elude me) we moved on to the jellyfish exhibit, which was a particularly dark area, presumably to show off these luminescent creatures to the full. Disappointingly there were a couple of tanks in this area that appeared to be empty, and all of the tanks were above Freddy's sightline. I also found that this area didn't seem to hold the attention of many of the other visitors, which meant that due to the relatively narrow walkways we were getting pushed around a bit. Those jellyfish I did manage to see were beautiful and looked suitably eerily as they floated in their tanks.

      The penguin display was a little disappointing, I felt that the enclosure and pool were a little small and there were too few viewing windows. There was also an outdoor viewing area, but as it was raining I didn't take advantage of this and neither did anyone else meaning that this area was a real bottleneck with several rude adults refusing to allow the children room. I believe there were four Humboldt penguins in this enclosure, a male, female and their two young, which obviously means that they are happy enough to breed. As this particular breed of penguin is endangered in the wild, it's nice to know that by visiting here I've done a little to help them.

      As well as the penguins, Great Yarmouth Sealife centre also runs a seahorse breeding programme, with tanks showing various species of these delicate creatures at various stages of development. This is one of the area where flash photography is not permitted and was an area that I found fascinating along with their close cousins the Sea Dragons. Another exhibit that was particularly enjoyed by Freddy's Great Grandma was the rays. She spent a good amount of time here especially enjoying that they rays appeared to be coming to the surface to say hello. Although she was sorely tempted, there was a sign saying not to touch these elegant and friendly creatures.

      Freddy's favourite exhibit was probably the touch pool, the one area where you are positively encouraged to touch the animals. When we arrived at this area a talk was being given on the various creatures and when this had finished the staff member changed and Freddy was helped to touch a starfish, which he found distinctly funny. I must say that this area was well supervised and the member of staff was only to happy to answer questions. As well as the occasional member of staff dotted about and the talks in various areas, all the exhibits have clear signs stating what animals are in there with some basic details and there are also a number of signs dotted around with questions for the children to answer.

      Perhaps the most impressive exhibit is the shark tank and tunnel, which houses various types (and size) of shark along with sea turtles. As with everything else, size certainly does matter, and it was the very largest of the sharks that impressed the whole party the most. As we moved into this area there was yet another talk going on, but as Freddy had got fed up with adults talking we took advantage of the fact that everyone else was occupied to move into the shark tunnel. I will say that it was pretty impressive to look up and see a huge shark basking above us. I also loved the decoration within this exhibit, a huge Medusa head, which looked oh so dramatic and even more so when a massive turtle swam by.

      A new exhibit for this year is a pair of African Dwarf Crocodiles, I must say I've never seen this particular breed before and liked the fact that they were at adult eye level so that I could actually see them. There again, this did mean that once more, Freddy had to be removed from his stroller so that he could see them. Just past this area, which was decorated with a jungle theme, there was the chance to pan for treasure. Although Freddy couldn't do this for himself, Daddy did have a go and we were allowed to take two pieces of treasure with us. (A very tiny pebble and equally tiny piece of fools gold).

      Other notable exhibits include, a Great Yarmouth Harbour exhibit, with local fish, a lobster in an exhibit decorated with a toilet and for Disney fans a tropical fish exhibit where they can find both Nemo and Dory. Just before you leave through the exit into the shop, there's the chance to buy copies of the photos that were taken as you entered. All in all, I would say it took us about one and a half hours to make our way round and while some exhibits impressed, others certainly did not and we did feel slightly robbed considering the entrance fee.

      Once the actual exhibit has been explored, there's the shop to navigate, which features the usual high-priced tat, although I must say that most of the souvenirs are actually specific to the Sealife Centre and there are some bargains to be had. I bought a very nice lunch bag for Freddy for only £2.50, which is now regularly used for days out. Along with the shop there is a restaurant/café, which we didn't use, again prices seemed rather high. There is also a free soft play area, which Freddy was too young to use and a number of craft activities (including crazy sand) that you had to pay for. There were also toilets in this area, which were clean enough and provided both disabled and baby changing facilities.

      To be honest, I'd be really hard pressed to recommend a visit to Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre, not only is the entrance fee expensive for what you get, but they also seem to take every possible opportunity to wring yet more money out of you. Yes there were exhibits that each of us enjoyed, but the experience was simply over too quickly and the one way system led to us feeling rushed in the areas where we did find something to interest us. All I can say is I'm glad that I didn't pay full price and so am giving The Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre a disappointing three stars out of five and suggesting there are better and cheaper ways of spending an afternoon.

      *For up to date prices and opening hours please visit

      http://www.visitsealife.com/Great-yarmouth/

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      • More +
        01.05.2011 17:30
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        Fun, educational, interesting, Inexpensive if you choose the right tickets

        ...I know it sounds terrible, having sea life under a "roof" but they are probably a lot safer in this environment at times as opposed to the ocean - you can just see that the water in the tanks is crystal clear, the glass windows are clean and the tanks are huge.
        Anyway...

        I think the Merlin Entertainments group's UK attractions are great and the Sealife centres are one of the many. These Sealife centres can actually be found all over the world and in many places all over the UK, but recently I visited the centre in Great Yarmouth.
        I think the nice thing about the Sealife centres is the way they promote themselves - it always looks like a fun place to be, really attractive and informative at the same time. It appealing due to the massive glass and pools installed to maximise the viewing and observational experience and the coloured lights to make it that bit more enjoyable.

        I think the idea is to make you feel like you are in a huge fish tank! So you will know you can have some close encounters to the creatures that you know or are curious about and it sort of pulls you into this tropical aquatic environment as soon as you enter.



        Location and tickets
        ---------------------------

        The coastal town of Great Yarmouth is in Norfolk, mid-England on the east coast. It has around 15 miles of sandy beaches and the Sealife centre can be found at the seafront, next to "Wellington Pier" on Marine Parade - so very easy to find because of its nice prominent location.

        The ticket prices to enter are £11.40 when buying online or £14.40 if you decide to buy on the day at the gate. So pre-buying them online will save you £3.00. However because this is part of the Merlin Entertainments Group, you can use the 2 for 1 vouchers once you've gotten hold of one of them - they widely available everywhere especially coming up to summer and it won't be very difficult to get one voucher between the two of you. This will save you the "walk-up price" ticket - making it just £7.20 per person to enter for however long you feel you want stay, although you would most likely spend a couple of hours in the Sealife centre...Not bad really!




        Where to Start
        ------------------

        The way the centre is set up, you will not need to worry about missing out on seeing certain sections which you might really want to see because there is only a one way route, which will enable you to cover all areas in chronological order.

        The map you can pick up at the entrance is really great and it just shows what Sealife is all about - it's fun, colourful, educational with lots of little facts and really appealing to kids. The map is numbered from 1-14, so like I explained, it's difficult to accidently skip any sections. When you get hold of the map it will direct you through these following sections:

        1) The first section is called SHIP WRECK which is the entrance of the centre. Fishes and sea creatures can be found here right from the start. You will see lots of eels here in big tanks too.

        2) JELLYFISH - This section is pretty cool. The Jellyfish looks brilliant in their tanks behind the bright coloured lights - and since the Jellyfish are see-through they look that much more spectacular floating around against blue and pink light.

        3) PENGUINS - We love penguins. But before you head there, just before the "Penguins" entrance you can have a look at some shark and lobsters in the tank. Once you've seen them you can watch the penguins through a big glass from indoors on the same level as them; but the nice thing is you can go up some stairs to view from above which gives a great view. These penguins are in a big pool outdoors with different types of fun obstacles here and there and all have different coloured tags - there is board up on the wall where you can match the colour to their individual names. The "feeding and talking time" for the penguins was 12.00pm when we were there - as far as I know I think the feeding times are around the same. During this time you will be able to watch the penguins eat their fish and make peculiar noises or talk.

        4) GT. YARMOUTH HARBOUR - Lots of stingray in this massive pond-like open pool. The sting rays like to come up to the surface and stick their noses up. I don't know if it was just me, but I was beginning to think they seemed to want to put on a show for us...slowing approaching you, spinning around, doing fancy tricks...but I don't know, may just be my imagination...

        5) ROCKPOOL - Not my favourite part, only because I don't like touching little weird creatures. A Sealife member will call upon anyone willing to hold or touch creatures. It was a starfish, when we were there, and guess what? No, I did not hold it in my hand! But it's a nice way to really interact or get in "touch" with different kinds of "sealife" pardon the puns. The "Rockpool" is basically what they call the "touchpools"- staff are there to help you pick up and touch the creatures that are in it.

        6) SEALIFE NURSERY - Section 6 is just more sea creatures in tank, but we were looking forward to section 7...!

        7) CROCODILES - Right from the start I was looking forward to the crocodiles. New to this Sealife since 2010, in this glassed-up tank are African dwarf crocodiles...however we were a little bit disappointed - not only did we not see any kinds of crocodiles inside, but the tough looking glass was all steamed up with the humidity from the other side (the crocodile's preferred climate) so we could not even peer in to try and spot them if they had been hiding. This section remained really quiet as people just walked past it. So moving on to the next section...

        8/9) TROPICAL SEAS /SHARKS & SEA TURTLES OCEAN TUNNEL - Another of my favourites, the classic Sealife ocean tunnel. But don't pay any attention to the picture you see of this Great Yarmouth tunnel - it is no way as big as they'd like you to think it is; its short, narrow and small. We tried to take a picture of us standing in the tunnel but it's a bit difficult as you would end up blocking the passers-by as it is not very wide at all. Nevertheless, I still enjoy making myself feel as though I'm at the bottom of the ocean watching the sea world go by. I got some amazing pictures of the huge turtles swimming around this tunnel, along with lots of colourful tropical fish but the sharks is a task and a half - they are so fast, it's challenging to take a picture of them at all! This tunnel area also has the Lost Contnent of Atlantis theme underwater - Not sure what it has to do with the sharks and tropical creatures but its works well, looks really historic and fascinating.

        10) PIRATES COVE - A pirate themed area; tropical fish and gimmicky dead human skeletons, for this fun pirate theme. But more importantly you will find Nemo here along with the crazy blue fish Dory, also from Finding Nemo - but to be more specific some Clownfishes and some Regal Blue Tang fishes!

        11) SEAHORSE BREEDING - This is the last area and contains these very smalls tanks, holding very tiny baby sea horses which look so delicate - but they are kept here for breeding away from an outside environment which can threaten these creatures such as polluted waters, lack of appropriate sea weed beds or even to prevent them from being poached from the ocean - all of this helping to conserve the sea horses.

        You will see some electric eels as you exit the final section 11 and like all of these attractions you will come out in the end at the gift shop; actually out of most gift shops, I quite like the ones at Sealife because the things sold are pretty cute and worth having - like cuddly animals, key-rings and little toy creatures!



        A "small" downside
        ------------------------

        One issue with the Great Yarmouth Sealife is if you have ever visited any other Sealife centre such as the London SeaLife Aquarium or the Brighton SeaLife centre (which actually has the largest walk-through tunnel) or even a Sealife centre abroad in USA for example, you may find the Great Yarmouth Sealife pretty small. I think it is partly due to the fact that it looks very big from outside but inside everything feels squashed up into small spaces, and when its busy season you will definitely notice this more.



        So Sealife or the beach?
        ------------------------------

        Should you take time away from the seaside to spend indoors in an artificial marine aquarium? I think so. Spending your time away from the seafront or arcades and at the Sealife centre instead will definitely be worth it as you will come across some of the most stunning marine creatures and walk away with a special experience; for example, for me, I am always inspired by how close I can actually come across sharks or enormous turtles and not just one but so many.

        The Sealife's centres objective is to make you feel as if you are actually there beside the sharks and fishes - and they definitely achieve this. Overall the Sealife centre offers a nice escape from the "reality" of everyday life and into another reality of sea life.

        (Thanks for reading! Previously posted on Ciao)

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        • More +
          02.08.2010 19:44
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          GOOD DAY TRIP

          we went to this sealife centre back last week, and i must say it was a very pleasant experience, we took my 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son, the fish were amazing all colours of the rainbow swimmining by the side of you and above your head the sharks were massive and there was a diver in with them at the time we went which mafe the trip a bit more memorable, my sons favourite part was the sting rays as they had a section where you could actually pout your hand in the tank and smooth them, it took a little while for them to swim up but when they did it took your breath away, for a family ticket we got in for £18 which i feel was a fair price and we took our opwn sandwiches but there was a little pleasant cafe if you wanted to use it.

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          • More +
            07.06.2010 17:23
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            Fun and a great experience for all the family.

            Living in the local area we visit the sealife centre in Great Yarmouth on several occasions throughout the year. My last visit was May 20010 with my husband and teenage son.

            The sealife centre is located on the Great Yarmouth seafront and is very easy to find. Address details for your reference are:
            Marine Parade
            Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR30 3AH
            01493 330 631
            Directions:-
            By car:
            Follow the A47 from Norwich into Gt Yarmouth then follow brown tourist signs to SEA LIFE or follow A12 from Lowestoft into Gt Yarmouth and then follow brown tourist signs to SEA LIFE. Pay & display parking is available on Marine Parade & seafront car parks.
            By train:
            Gt Yarmouth station, follow signs to seafront and SEA LIFE is situated next to Wellington Pier.

            There is many places to park close by for various parking fee's, the seafront parking gets very busy during the summer and at weekends. My suggestion would be to get to the seafront early and spend the day exploring the sealife centre and other attractions Great Yarmouth has to offer.

            Prices for admission to the sealife centre is as follows:
            Adult (15+) £13.95
            Child (3-14yrs) £10.00
            Concession (60+) £12.00
            Student (ID Required) £12.00
            You can get reduced tickets by buying in advance online at http://www.sealifeeurope.com/
            You can also find many offers in local press including 2for1, kids go free. Myself and children have annual membership which we got through the local press and this saves us a lot of money and gives us a place to go with the children at little cost. You can buy annual membership at £30 an adult, £25 for a child.

            The sealife centre is open daily 10am to 4.30pm, last admission is 1 hour before closing. I would suggest around 2 and a half hours is needed especially if you wish to see all the feeds/talks that happen throughout the day.

            When you enter the sealife centre you will be asked to pose for a family photo so don't forget to make yourself look good and smile before you enter as they don't leave you much time to get yourself sorted out. You can purchase the photo just before you exit to the shop at the end and are priced at £5.99. I do buy them occasionally depending how i look in the photo.

            The first area you visit is called the ship wreak and houses a few tanks with a selection of fish in. Please read the info located around the room as i found out some interesting things about local ship wreaks that i had missed on previous visit.

            The next area is called Jellyfish and yes you guess it the tanks have jelly fish in them. The thing which is really cool is that the tanks have special lights in them which really make the jelly fish glow. There is also a tank where you and someone else can stand either side of it, its great for pulling funny faces at each other.

            Next you come to my favourite part the penguins. This is a new area of the sealife centre. You can look through windows at the penguins or go upstairs to a viewing area which looks out over the penguin enclosure. I could watch the penguins for ages as they are so cute. When we was at this area we got to see a penguin feed and talk. This was very interesting and we got to learn about each of the penguins and what there characters are like. You can also find out more about each individual penguin by little signs around the platform.

            If you can drag yourself about from the penguins the next area is called Great Yarmouth Harbour. Here you will find a large tank at your chest level with lots of rays floating around. There is a bridge which goes over the top so you can see the rays at different angels.

            Next to this area you will find the Rock pool, this is where you can handle some small creatures like starfish, crabs. There is someone always there to help you out and answer any questions you may have. Don't forget to wash you hands afterwards. You will find washing items close by to do this. This area can get very crowded, especially with children.

            As you walk through to the next area you see tanks either side with a selection of fish and other creatures of the sea. The items in these tanks seems to change. The area is known as the nursery so maybe they just keep fish here on a temporary basis. The area after these tanks is the newest and is where you can meet African dwarf crocodiles, when i was there they wasn't doing much and i personally found the quit boring but if you like crocodiles i am sure you will love this area.

            Just after the crocodiles has lots more tanks with various tropical fish in different colours and sizes. Please take your time and really have a look in the tanks as you can find many strange creatures hiding, some really do make you giggle.

            Now comes the giant tank and tunnel which you can walk through and see sharks, sea turtles and fish swimming around above you. Problem here is that its very difficult to stop in the tunnel as the passage is quit narrow and you end up with people bumping into you. I think a wider tunnel is needed, well for me anyway. You can spend quit a while here watching all the different fish and creatures smiling around happily together.

            Just after you come out of the tunnel you find yourself in pirate cove. Here children and adults can look for bits of gold in the sand. You get to keep the gold too, my son did say he was going to try and sell it on ebay. (I don't think he would get much). There is a staff member here to help out in this area. You can also discover more tanks in this area, i love the one that has nemo fish in.

            Next is the seahorse breeding area, There is many tanks surrounding a room with seahorses in. Look really close and look and see how many you can find, the baby seahorses are really tiny. I was surprised how interesting this area is with lots of facts given that i would never have known.

            Now you come to the end of the sealife centre and exit into the shop. The shop sells items with the sealife centre logo on and many items that includes peoples names. The items in the shop are not cheap so expect to pay a lot more for a plush toy than you would in a normal high street shop.

            Just after the shop you will find a cafe which sells a selection of food. I have eaten here on several occasions and found the food really nice but a little expensive. There is a small activity area for children to play in located next to the cafe, my children are too old for this now so i can't comment on it too much but my only suggestion would be to not let them go in until after they had their dinner. I saw many parents trying to drag their children out to get something to eat and they would rather just play.

            Also Throughout the sealife centre i found many toilets which are always clean and have plenty of toilet paper. (sorry its something i hate if there isn't any). Access for wheel chairs and pushchairs seems okay, you can't access the penguin platform which is the only downside.

            Throughout the day there are many feed/talk times and as you enter you will be given a list of times these happen. Try and get to as many as possible as they really are interesting and great for your childs education. The shark/turtle feed is really good as it makes me wonder why the sharks don't eat the turtles.

            Thanks for reading my review on the sealife centre, i will be going back very soon with my children, especially in the school holidays. I will update this review with new information i.e. if prices change or areas.

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            • More +
              24.11.2009 18:27
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              A good day out for the whole family

              Sea Life Centre Great Yarmouth

              Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 3AH
              Telephone 0871 423 2110
              Web www.sealife.co.uk

              Admission Prices
              Adult £12.95
              Child £6.95 (3-14 years)
              Concession/Student £10.95
              Family £38 (2adults, 2 children)
              Under 3 year free
              You can also use a Merlin Annual Pass for entrance to the centre
              Tesco clubcard Vouchers can also be used to pay the entrance fee

              Opening times
              Weekdays 10am - 5pm
              Weekends/Bank Holidays 10am - 5pm


              Location

              The centre is located on the Great Yarmouth seafront a short walk from the town centre and the fair. The centre is easily recognisable as a large modern blue building that stands out from its more tradition surroundings. The centre has no parking but there is ample parking along the sea front or in a car park outside the fair only 5mins walk, both cost £3 for 4 hours or £5 for day in the summer season April to September.


              The Centre

              Inside the centre is well laid out and clean, you go through the entrance into the gift shop, which is well stocked with the usual soft toys books, games and stationary souvenirs. Tickets are purchased from the desk in the gift shop, the cashier stamps your hand with a washable stamp, which allows you to come and go as you please all day. The walkways of the exhibits are dully lit to allow the tanks of fish to be lit up and easily seen but the floors are kept very dry and my little one had no trouble with tripping. The tanks are large and the glass goes almost to the floor allowing you children to see without help. Next to all the exhibits are information cards with information and funny facts. All the exhibits are inside except the viewing deck for the penguins but these also have an inside viewing area.
              The Atlantis exhibit was a favourite of my family, a huge tank with the larger sharks and turtles with steps to sit and watch and atmospheric music. The tunnel through which you could walk under this exhibit was also a huge hit. Through out the day you can watch staff feeding and carrying out demonstrations, they also answer any questions. There are also opportunities to touch some of the animals, we felt the jellyfish. Times of these events are published in a leaflet at the centre.
              The centre has a restaurant, which sells basic but ok food, it is slightly expensive but no more so than any other food outlet in a theme park. As well as this children also have the opportunity to fill and dress a soft toy as at the bear factory, paint a plaster model or fill a shaped bottle with coloured sand, all these are at an extra cost. The toilet and baby change facilities were spotless and the mural painted in them was an exhibit on their own.


              The Animals/Fish

              The centre has a wide variety of marine life from sharks, jellyfish and sea horses to blow fish turtles and penguins, although no seals. All can be seen well through their clearly lit glass tanks and there is lots of information provided about each for those who like to know what they are looking at. A highlight of the centre for those interested in marine life has to be the sea horse conservation and breading centre, which has seahorses at each stage of development, it was fascinating.


              My experience

              My family and myself really enjoyed the Sealife Centre, the exhibits were fascinating and the facilities excellent. My son was wide eyed for the whole day. I would definitely recommend the centre as a great family day out, we will certainly be visiting again.

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              27.10.2009 10:54
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              A nice place to lose a few hours

              I have just got back from a weekend away with my family and on one of the days we took the kids to the Sea Life centre. It is situated on the main road which runs alongside the beach so you can't miss it as you walk about Great Yarmouth. It is a large building with the Sea Life logo and has a restaurant attached to it.

              The magical marine world of Great Yarmouth SEA LIFE Centre will introduce you to many beautiful and fascinating creatures of the deep. Prepare for astonishing close views of everything from humble starfish to mighty sharks and giant sea turtles, all in displays which carefully recreate their natural habitats.

              Explore a rich variety of underwater environments, from rugged coastline to tropical coral, reefs, from the sandy shallows to the dark depths of the ocean. At every step there are different amazing creatures to find, to watch and to learn about.

              New for 2009 at this centre is a group of Humboldt penguins.

              The centre is fairly expensive but if you check out some of the leaflets you find in the local tourist centre you can often get buy one get one free offers and you can also exchange your Tesco Club card vouchers for vouchers for here. It cost me £12.95 to get in and my daughter got in for free as we had vouchers. They stamp your hand on entrance so you can go in as many times as you like during the day.

              The centre is open from 10am and during the day there are various shows and talks you can attend such as Turtle Feed & Talk, Penguin Feed & Talk, Ray Talk and Shark Talk.

              When you enter the centre there are various displays of fish and marine life. It is quite dark in there but the displays are all lit really well so you can clearly see the animals and next to each display there is an information board so you know what animal you are looking at and can learn about them, such as finding out their natural habitat, what they eat and how long they live.

              As well as smaller tanks there are also large pools with some of the bigger fish in. My daughter loved the rays as when you watch them they come up to the air and stick their noses out, so in her world she was convinced they were trying to kiss her.

              The main attraction within the centre is the shark tunnel. You walk through a glass tunnel and go through the shark tank. This means you can get up very close to these beautiful creatures. I could spend hours in there watching them and my daughter loved it too. We were very lucky as one of the large sharks was asleep right next to the tunnel so we had a brilliant up close view of him.

              As you go round there is a childrens area where they can pick up some of the smaller rock pool creatures. There is a member of staff there who was very friendly and information but also ensured that the creatures were handled correctly.

              Whilst there we attended the penguin feeding show. The commentator gave lots of useful information about the animals and introduced you to each of them. The talk was well balanced with information for older customers along with "jokey" bits for the younger audience.

              As you leave the centre you go straight into the shop, which is an excellent marketing ploy by the company. There are many things for sale, mainly soft toys and other toys for the children but there are also a few nicer gifts for adults.

              Attached to this centre there is a cafe, it sells the basic burger bar food along with an array of hot drinks and snacks. Also within here there is a free soft play area which is ideal for your little ones to play in whilst you have a cuppa.

              I throughly recommend this centre if you are able to get vouchers so half of you get in free. I am not sure it is worth the full price if everyone has to pay though.

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              25.10.2008 13:44
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              better than southend sealife hands down

              This is one of the best Sealife centres i have been too. Its located right on great yarmouth beach and pay and display parking is available close by.
              Its very pricey to get in but most sealife centres are.
              When you pay they will stamp your hand and allow you to come in as many times as you like that day.

              The center does alot of talks during the day they include the rays and the sharks.
              You can watching a turtle feeding sesion or if your lucky enough to be about the sharks feed but they only do the sharks once a day.

              The centre opens at 10am and the last admission is a four.
              It costs £30 for a family booking online out of season but it is much more expensive on the door, you can usually get money off vouchers easily just check ebay.

              There is normally a member of staff with a rock pool doing a demonstration it's called the touch pool encounter containing crabs starfish and anemones that you can touch and feel, something my 2 year loved and my son who loves animals was very interested in.., they will tell you all about them.
              As you leave there is a massive gift shop that sells everything from clothes, ornaments, toys, and books, all of which can be pricey but good to have a look around.
              We got a sharks tooth for £2 which my son loves.
              Kids love these sort of places and its a great morning or afternoon out!

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                20.10.2008 22:02
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                good day out

                The sea life centre is located on the sea front at the far end of great yarmouth.
                There is no specific parking for the actual sealife centre but there is a lot on on street spaces along the lenght of the sea front.
                How ever in high season spaces can fill up quickly and are quite exspensive and charged at an hourly rate.
                My addvice would be to park further out of the main seafront and either walk in or catch the land train that runs regularly.
                Entry into the sea life centre acn also be exspensive with cost normally being £8.95 per person, you can however get money off vouchers that make entry two for one.
                Vouchers acn normally be found being given away at tescos, wilkinsons and even on the back of the parking tickets in pay and display machines in norfolk.
                Once in the centre there is array of aquatic life to see, the rays are amazing you can watch them swim and lay on the bottoms of their tanks, it is a littel dark in parts of the centre and some little ones may be a bit scared but the layout is great with things to look at everywhere!
                My favourite part of the whole thing is the underwater tunnel .
                They have two beautiful turtles that live happily along side the sharks, they are fab to watch.
                As you through the actal tunnel the sharks just casually swim by as if your not even there!!!
                Through out the centre there are little quizes for the kids to do (or adults!!) to test your fishy knowledge!.
                You can also pan for pirates gold, which can get a little wet but is fun!!
                Overall a good day out , but best to go during quieter times so you dont get rushed through and ypou can go at your own pace, and definately look out for a money off voucher.

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                02.05.2008 15:29
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                More fish than in Harry Ramsden's across the road

                Me, my mother-in-law, my wife and seven month old daughter were looking for somewhere local to go and settled on PETITES ADVENTURE PARK but the day we were due to go, it poured down with rain. In a bid of salvation, I suggested we go to G.T YARMOUTH SEA-LIFE CENTRE instead as at least it was all indoors unlike PETITES and we would all still be getting out for the day. The idea was met with agreement despite it being in what has now become a bit of a run-down, coastal resort rather than the attractive sea-side town it used to be.

                We arrived in Yarmouth, only for the rain to stop but we were here now so decided to stick to our abridged plan for the day. Although there is parking down the front and behind the SEA-LIFE CENTRE, it is all pay and display or meter operated now so we chose to park closer to the town centre where there is some free parking and walk down. The SEA-LIFE CENTRE is situated on the sea front very near to AMAZONIA, the reptile house and almost directly opposite HARRY RAMSDEN'S RESTAURANT.

                First of all, there is the matter of cost. At £11.95 per adult, entry is not cheap. Kids under 3 get in free but over 3 and you're looking at an equally steep £8.95 entry fee for them.

                Once you enter, a kind assisstant offers to take your photograph. These are ready for when you leave and are available for an extra £5!! Then you get to the main exhibit itself...

                Basically each room has a different theme from Pirates to the lost city of Atlantis and in each room are diffrent tanks featuring assorted fish and mammals. Amongst some of the delights you can see are varying types of jellyfish, sea anenome, conger eels and sea horses. There are also sea bass, flat fish and, at one stage, you can even get to touch a starfish which is a little bit odd and feels a little like sandpaper. My daughter is probably a bit young yet but most of the tanks were at the same height as her pushchair and she seemed fascinated by it all and constantly laughing away and gurgling at the things she could see.

                What is probably the main attraction is the tunnel. This is a short walk through a glass tube that takes you under a large part of the aquarium area that homes sea turtles, assorted fish and a small type of shark whose name I forget right now. This is an amazing experience but woefully not long enough for my liking. If your kids are a bit older, there are questions all around the exhibit too for them to try and answer so the experience can be as much educational as it is fun.

                When you arrive at the end of the walk, you can pay for your photograph that commerates your day and then enter one of the biggest gift shops I have seen at one of these places. Thank the stars my daughters not older or the whole trip might have cost me an even bigger fortune!!!

                There is also a cafe if you want to get something to eat or drink which is good value for a tourist attraction and not too expensive. This also houses a play area for the kiddies with a ball park and numerous rides of the kind you often find outside supermarket chains but with a sea-going theme.

                There is good provision made for the disabled (or in our case, those with a pushchair/pram type vehicle) with a seperate way round at the one point that features some stairs. The scenery and backdrop for the centre has been done very well with the differing themes in each room though it took us only 45 mins to get round the whole thing!!

                Last admissions are at 4 pm but your hands are stamped when you first enter so if you get there early enough and want to go back round again later on then you can for free. You are also given money-off vouchers for other attractions upon entering but sadly none of these are local with CHESSINGTON, LEGOLAND and MADAME TUSSAUDS being amongst those that are featured. This I think is a mistake as it would be a good way of promoting more local tourism to offer deals for attractions nearby but I guess there is some kind of marketing strategy behind it all that makes somebody some money.

                Is it good value for money? I'm not sure, it seems a lot of money for the admission but its fair to say a good time was had by all. I haven't really started taking my daughter to any of these places before now and I am a bit tight so it seems a bit expensive to me, but I am not sure how it compares to other places. I know PETITES was cheaper admission but weather concerns have made us postpone our visit there for now until we can all get together again maybe later in the summer.


                All I can say is next time I am going to check the local paper before I go anywhere because sometimes the EASTERN DAILY PRESS features vouchers to get money off some of these places- something I didn't know till after the fact. Apparently you can print them off from their website!!

                I hope this review has been helpful- it's the first time I have reviewed an attraction but I doubt in the future it will be the last....

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