“ Address: Lodmoor Country Park / Weymouth / Dorset / DT4 7SX / England / Tel: 0871 423 2110 „
Weymouth Sea-life centre have a huge range of different animals for you took at. Here you can see the curious, the rescued and the rare creatures. Many of the creatures at the sea-life centre are endangered and have been rescued and cannot be released into the wild. They have over 50 creatures at the Weymouth sea-life centre including Seals, Crocodiles, Otters, Live Corals, Lion Fish, Puffer Fish, Octopus, Edible jellyfish, Spider crabs, and different types of sharks, Unicorn fish, Piranha, Seahorses, Catfish, Sea dragon, Pipe fish, Hermit Crabs, Starfish and lots more. If you have never been to a sea-life centre before and you don't know much about fish then you probably won't have heard of many of these creatures before. As me and my boyfriend keep fish, we have heard of the many beautiful fish that they keep at the sea-life centre and were looking forwards to visiting the centre. We visited the London Sea-Life Centre last year so was looking forwards to see how different the one in Weymouth was.
~ WHAT TO DO ~
At the sea-life centre there are plenty of other things to do other than walk around and look at the creatures. They also have an interactive rock-pool and they have different feeding times for the creatures in which you can go and watch. As well as this there are children's rides and a water play park and indoor as well as outdoor demonstrations all day. They also have a walkthrough ocean tank, rainforest and shark reef. This year they opened a sea-life tower which holds up to 69 passengers at a time. The tower climbs up to over 170 feet above sea level and turns 360 degrees giving you a stunning view of Weymouth Bay, Chesil beach and Portland. Please note that the price for the sea-life tower is not included with entry to the sea-life centre itself.
You can watch staff at the sea-life centre feed the different creatures. Feeding times are at different times of the day but are held all day. You can watch the following things: Devine Shark Dinner, Penguin Play Time, Turtle Tea Time, Ravenous Ray Feed and Otter Madness. These feeding times are on at different times of the day but for the times of the feeding demonstrations you can look on their website.
~ THE SEA LIFE CENTRE - MY EXPERIENCE ~
I visited the sea-life centre during the week when there wouldn't be so many children about. We decided to pick a day where the weather wasn't too great as we figured a lot of it would be under-cover anyway. We got there just after opening time and there was a short queue. There was only one person serving so there was a little bit of a wait and if there are more than about 10 people in the queue then the queue goes outside, which wasn't great considering it was a wet and miserable day outside. There was a large sized bird in the entrance which was made form Lego, this looked great. When we got to the counter and paid for our tickets, we were then handed a park map and some information about when the different feeding times were. The pods in which the different animals are kept are placed all over the park; these are not joined onto each other so if it happens to be raining on the day you visit the park you will get wet. You can how-ever purchase waterproof rain-coats from the shop for about £5.00 which is for an adult rain-coat.
Bay Of Rays - This was the first pod that we visited. The staff members call them pods; how-ever they are just like wooden sheds really. There is red penguin coloured feet to guide you which way to walk in and out of the different sheds. We entered the Bay or Rays and in straight in front was a very large round tank. You could walk all the way around the tank and it was filled with different Rays, Mackerel, Dog-fish and Flat-fish. The water was very clear and as well as seeing the different species from above the water you could also bend down to look through the side of the tank to see below the water level as well. This was really interesting as you could see the underside of the rays and the other fish that swam on the bottom of the tank. On the far side of the tank are some steps in which you can go up and view the tank from a slightly higher height, this was great for taking pictures.
Shark Reef - As you walk into this pod it's quite dark and on the right hand side is a viewing area in which you can see inside the tank. There are various different windows for you to look into the tank, some of these are larger areas and some are rounded type windows. The tank here was quite large and contained a number of different types of Sharks, Tangs, Banded Cat Sharks and more. In the centre of the tank were rocks and coral as well as this being around the windows of the tank too. The water was very clear and you could see all the different ranges of fish on here. I spent quite a bit of time in here as it was very tranquil and relaxing. We watched the Devine Shark Dinner which is at 11:30am. For this you simply stand in the Shark Reef pod where there are at least 6 different viewing areas in which you can see the sharks and other fish in the tank. A staff member will speak on a microphone and will tell you some information about the Sharks and other fish in the tank. This information includes what the different species are called and how to look for them from markings and the colours on the body. During this time you will see some food floating about in the water, in which the sharks and fish will eat. The information the staff member gave was interesting, how-ever where me and my boyfriend were standing we couldn't really see the sharks or fish eat much of the food, even though we were standing in the main front area of the tank. As it was feeding time this area did get busy, especially with push-chairs and children. There is a bench along one side of the tank which can seat approximately 6-7 people. I found that it got rather hot in here and was happy when the feeding time was finished
Rainforest - This area included different sized tanks and included Piranha, Archer fish, Fresh-water sting-rays and more. This area was nice as you could walk around to each tank and read information about the different fish. When I went to this area, it wasn't as busy as the Shark Reef or Bay Of Ray area. The different types of fish in here were very interesting. The Piranha fish looked beautiful but rarely moved around in the tank and seemed to stay still.
Nursery & Breeding Centre - I loved this area of the Sea-Life Centre. There was a small range of different types of fish displayed again in different sized tanks. Some of the tanks had egg sacs in them and you could see the baby fish swimming about in the egg sacs, this was really interesting to see and to also read some information about them as well. They had a large tank with different fish in such as Lipsticks, Yellow Tailed Purple Tangs and more. There was also a smaller tank which had black spikey sea urchins in with some Cardinals, this tank looked beautiful and I went back to this area at the end to have another look here.
Claws Rock pool Adventure - This area in new to the Sea-Life Centre and contained different sized rock pools in which there were lots of different things in. This included different types of crabs, starfish and other creatures such as Sea Urchins. You can walk around the rock pools and also walk round d the back of the pools over some large stones. There is some water which slowly gushes over the stones so it can get wet and beware as sometimes the water will suddenly come out very fast when you walk across it meaning you will get very wet feet. There was a staff member here and they will answer any questions you have about any of the creatures in this area and you can even hold a star-fish or crab.
Treasures of the Deep - This area included a number of different tanks which had some beautiful animals in. This included Octopus, Different Eels which were very large, Clownfish and Jellyfish. The Jellyfish were in a beautiful tank and was well lit to ensure you could see the jellyfish, they looked beautiful and I loved looking in this tank as I find them fascinating. There is also a large tank in which a Spider Crab normally sits; how-ever this wasn't actually in the tank as a staff member was apparently holding this outside. (I didn't see this).
Penguins - There were 2 areas in which you could see the penguins. There was a small under-cover area in which you could see the penguins under the water and there was another area in which you could see the penguins on the land. When we went to look under the water there weren't any penguins here so we went and looked at them on the land instead. Each penguin was named after a tree and they had different coloured tags on them so you could identify which penguin was which. As this area is outside we did get quite wet when viewing the penguins on the land, how-ever it was a lovely view of them and I got some beautiful pictures of the penguins.
Turtle Sanctuary - This area included lots of different tanks with different species of turtles. Some of these were long neck and some soft shell. These looked beautiful in their tanks which were filled with different types of foliage and lots of water to enable them to swim about. I love turtles, so spent the most time in here. They had a larger tank which had a very large turtle in. Unfortunately the turtle had its back against the wall of the tank so I couldn't get a very good picture of this turtle.
Ocean Tunnel - After visiting the Turtle Sanctuary you will walk through the Ocean Tunnel. The tunnel is a wavy shape and as you walk through it there are fish which swim over the top of you. In this tank there was a very large turtle, how-ever it moved too quickly for me to get a good picture. This area was nice as there was a boat in which the swim fish in and around. Most of the fish were just over one side of the tank.
Seal Harbour - I managed to see the Seals swimming in their pool; how-ever I got quite wet doing this as this area is also outside with no cover. I only managed to spot about 2 seals, and they looked beautiful swimming around in the water. If the weather had of been nicer, there is benches in which you can sit down and watch the Seals a bit longer.
Crocodiles - This area is very small and the crocodiles are also quite small. There is only a small area in which to see the Crocodiles which is under-cover slightly. It was quite hard to spot the crocodiles due to the trees and other foliage in the tank. Alternatively, to get a better view of the crocodile you can go on the ride Crocodile Creek and this takes you past the crocodiles.
Otters - We also got rather wet when seeing the Otters as this area was also outside. The first time we went to this area we couldn't see the Otters and there was a notice to say that they like sleeping. When we visited this area again the otters were then out, how-ever we didn't stay at this area long as there was again no cover so we would have got rather wet standing there to watch them. In this area there is also space for you to sit and watch them for a bit longer if you wish.
Other areas in the park included Crocodile Creek, Adventure Island & Splash Zone. These areas would be great to visit when the weather is better, how-ever if the weather is bad and it's a wet day these areas are not very good as the rides for children are not under-cover and there isn't much shelter in this area. We didn't go on the Crocodile Creek ride due to the weather, how-ever if it had been a nicer day then we would have. This ride is a log flume and you do have to be a minimum height to go on this ride, how-ever this information is presented near the ride itself. As the ride is a log flume there is a chance that you may get a little wet on the ride as when I watched the ride go round it splashes a bit when it comes down the small drop. Other rides in the Adventure Island include a rocking boat, small Ferris wheel, a ride in which you sit in seal shaped boats and go around the water. There are some amusements type machines here which include the 2p drop machines and soft toy machines. There is a place in which you can get food; how-ever this wasn't open when I visited. The Splash Zone is only suitable when the weather is warm. This features a small pool and different water features where water shoots up from the ground and drops from different objects in this area.
There is a shop located at the Entrance/Exit to the Sea-Life Adventure Park. They sell a range of different soft toys and sweets here. There is also an eating area as well in which you can buy food such as chips, burgers, chicken nuggets and more. The seating area isn't very large here so it does get quite busy and rather full quite quickly. I can't comment on the food or drink here as I didn't eat anything here as we chose to go back into the main town to get something to eat. I did use the toilet facilities in the park and they were very clean and well stocked with toilet paper and soap near the sinks.
~ OVERALL OPINION ~
I enjoyed the visit to the Sea-Life Adventure Park and thought there was a great range of different animals to see. Unfortunately as the weather was rather wet, I couldn't enjoy seeing some of the animals as I would have if the weather had been better. The only down-side to the park is if you go when the weather is wet as the play areas and children rides are not under-cover and a lot of them weren't even open due to the rain. There was also a lack of eating places open as well, which I presume must have been due to the weather. My favourite areas was the Rockpool and the Breeding Centre, I found both of these areas very interesting. I would probably visit the park again if I go to Weymouth in a few years' time. I do think it's good value for money, especially if you can get tickets for free entry or half price. The best time to visit here would be during the week, so it's not full of children and it gives you chance to have a good look around at the different tanks. All the areas in the park can be accessed with push-chairs or wheelchairs. The lack of food facilities not being open was a down-side to the park as there weren't any machines or kiosks to purchase a drink or snack from when walking around the park. We spent approximately & 2 & 1/2 - 3hrs in the park and I don't think you need much longer than this to look at everything and to go on a few rides.
~ MORE INFORMATION ~
Adult ticket prices are £20 on the door and £13.00 online. Children under 3 go in for free.
You can purchase a ticket which will allow you entry into the park and to go in the tower. Adult tickets prices cost £28 on the door and £18 online.
Getting to the Sea-Life Centre:
The Sea-life centre is located at Lodmoor Country Park in Weymouth. I was staying in Weymouth for the week just outside the town so I walked to the beach and got the land train up to the sea-life centre. The land train drops you on the opposite side of the sea-lide adventure park so you just need to use the crossing to cross the road. You can get to the sea-life centre by train from London Waterloo, or if you are staying in or near Weymouth you can drive. The sea-life centre is approximately a 20min walk from Weymouth train station. You can also catch a bus from Weymouth town to the sea-life centre. For more information or directions you can visit the sea-life centre website and chose the Weymouth sea-life centre, then click on 'How to get here'.
For details on different events at the Sea-Life Adventure Park in Weymouth visit www.visitsealife.com/weymouth
(review may also appear on ciao)
We visited the sea-life centre in Weymouth on Saturday. I had been once before but my partner (who lived in Weymouth for the first 25 years of his life) had never visited! We were in the area so thought we would take a look, we have Merlin annual passes which meant out entry was free so we saw it as a nice way to burn a few hours.
The sea life centre is located near the town centre of Weymouth and is set back from the beach by a road. There is a large car park next to the sea life centre, however this is a council owned car park so you will have to pay. The fee's for the car park are quite reasonable, we paid £2.10 for 2 hours. Next to the sea life centre there are a couple of restaurants including a Brewers Fayre and a small fair for the children. The post code for the sat nav is DT4 7SX however the sea life centre is very easy to find as it is very well signposted.
Every time I have visited or walked past the sea life centre in Weymouth there is always a queue out the door. When I visited last summer we were actually in the queue for over half an hour which is rather off putting. However, on this occasion the queue was shorter and we were only about 4 families back. A member of staff came to greet us all and ask if any of us had already paid or had annual passes, we said we did so he allowed us straight through. He was very helpful, gave us a map, told us about feeding times and asked if we had any questions.
The sea life centre is split up into around 10 buildings each housing different things. Aswell as this, there is a cafe, a shop and a small waterpark for children. The park is sort of in a loop so we followed this loop round, as it seemed most people did. Firstly we went to the Rainforest building. This was quite interesting with quite a few tanks and lots of different species including frogs etc. We spent around 5 minutes in here as a lot of the species we actually repeated over different tanks.
Next we visited the new shark breeding centre that they have. This was much more interesting as the tanks were bigger and there was lots more to see. There are plenty of viewing points and even though there was around 40 people in the building at the time, we still got an opportunity to see everything.
Next we visited my favourite part of all aquariums - the rays! I love the rays and find them fascinating so I was pleased to see that they had a nice large tank and there was plenty to see. The tank is an open topped tank but you are asked not to touch the rays as this damages their skin. There was also a viewing platform which was good as you could see the rays from a birds eye view. Also in this tank were fish such as mackerel and crabs and lobsters.
Next we went into the sea life nursery which was also quite good as it had all the babies there! This included seahorses, ray fish and starfish on our visit. This was great to see as they were all very small and you don't often get to see them at this size. This part of the park was quite busy and although we got to see most tanks we did have to miss a couple out.
Next to this was the rockpool where things such as crabs are kept. This is a nice open space with plenty of room for everyone to see. A member of staff was actually giving a talk about a crab when we arrived so we had a quick listen to it as it was quite interesting.
Next we moved on to the penguins, which in my opinion is one of the best parts of the park. However, we got there halfway through a talk so we couldn't see much. However, we did get to see a few penguins and hear about how they arrived at the sea life centre.
Then we went onto the turtles. I love turtles and find them truly amazing. After the rays, this was probably the best part of the park for me. There were lots of different species of turtles which were all very interesting to look at including a snapping turtle and a soft shelled turtle (which had a nose like a pig!) there was then a tunnel to walk through with the turtles overhead. This was one of the favourite parts of my day as the turtles were amazing and very big! There were boards up telling their story (they had been hit by a boat) and there were 5 turtles in total.
Next we went on to the seals. It was raining very hard when we got there so the seals were not out a lot, however we did catch a glimpse of one. However, you can then go inside and view them which I personally prefer as I love to see them underwater. This was great and we both enjoyed watching them for a good 5 minutes.
There was then crocodile creek - the ride that takes you through the crocodiles. I did want to go on this, however due to the rain everything was rather wet and I just wanted to get inside so we quickly moved onto the otters! The otters were very entertaining and were all out and about which was a pleasure to see as at other aquariums I have found it difficult to spot the otters.
There is then 'Adventure Island' which contains a few rides for children and a few arcade games. The rides are free but you do have to pay for the arcade games. Then finally, the last building was Oceans of the World. This contained a lot of interesting things including Nemo's and giant snails!
All of the park is accessible to wheelchair users, however due to the size of some of the buildings you may find it difficult to get around at busier times. There are toilets in the park and at the entrance, these were very clean.
*Food and Shopping*
There is a cafe on site and also a few snack bars (however, I think these are only open in high season) the prices here are reasonable, however I have never eaten here myself so cannot comment on the quality.
The gift shop is at the end of the park so you have to walk through it to leave. There is quite a lot in here including toys, stationary and sweets. The prices are quite high but some things can be found for a good price. For example you could get a sea life pad and pen for £4.
We only spent around an hour at the sea life centre as there simply wasn't that much to see. What we did see was very interesting and nice to look at but I felt there could have been more. I'm sure families will be able to spend quite a bit longer here but it still would not be enough for a full day out, therefore I think that paying full ticket price is not good value for money. I appreciate that aquariums cost a lot to run but think the prices are a little steep as even families could probably only spend 3 or 4 hours here (including lunch). I did enjoy my visit and would go again but only because we have annual passes and therefore do not have to pay.
I would recommend the sea life centre but think there are far better ones around (eg. Blue Reef in Portsmouth) for a much more reasonable price. However, the content here was good and there is lots to see.
Tickets vary if you buy them online but cost around:
Adults (15+) £14.50
Children (3-14) £11.95
OAPs and Students £14.00
Family (2+2) £42.00
These are online prices so prices on the door will be higher. There are usually vouchers floating around somewhere (eg. WH Smith at the moment) for 2 for 1 entry so if you are going it could be worth trying to get one of these. There is also a slightly lower price for entrance after 3pm. It is also worth noting that you can convert Tesco Clubcard vouchers into tickets.
The park is currently open 10am - 5pm (please check website for seasonal opening times)
The contact details are as follows:
SEA LIFE Weymouth
Lodmoor Country Park,
Telephone (for tickets): 0871 423 2110
This was a nice way to spend an hour however I would have been annoyed had I paid the full price entrance fee. It would be a nice place for families to go for a morning/afternoon but there is not enough there to spend a full day.
Weymouth Sea Life Centre is well worth a visit - we had a 2 for 1 offer from Tesco's and I have recently seen a similar offer on a particular brand of tea bags. I often seen voucher of a similar nature in The Mirror Newspaper and have seen The Sun advertising vouchers of this nature too. In addition, the Weymouth Tourist Information Centre had a map of attractions that had a £5 off voucher, which because there were 3 of us, my father used to get money off his ticket.
It costs £17 per adult, (so we were glad we'd got the 2 for 1 offer and I got Robert and myself in for £17 in total, which I thought was dear, but if you spend all day in there which we did, isn't quite so bad) £14 for concessions, under 5''s go free, and children have a cheaper rate, which I do not remember as it wasn't applicable to our group. (Prices were for November 2009).
We were on a coach holiday and had walked along the promenade to get to this location but there was a pay and display car park next to the attraction (don't know how much it was, though) However there is plenty to see and do at the centre and you could easily stay all day.
Things to do:
When you get inside there are lots of exhibits of fish, sea horses and sharks. There is plenty to do for children - as they have a sheet they give out and you have to answer questions as you go round the centre. These have multiple answers and you have to guess the correct one.
In addition, they often have talks about star fish or crabs in the rock pool area and you get the chance to hold some of these items, if you are lucky. We went to the rock pool talk and Dad and I got to hold a crab.
What animals can I see:
They also have penguins, seals and otters, which if you arrive at the right time you can see the handlers feeding them and they give you a talk about each particular breed. We were lucky enough to see the seals being fed and trained. Some of these talks are repeated during the day as some of the animals need feeding twice during the daytime.
We missed some of the talks as you had to go straight from one talk to another and the buildings can be spread out a bit, and they are not always the next building you get to, but you can plan your day as you get a programme of events when you arrive on a separate sheet.
The centre has an excellent cafe facility, which is mainly downstairs and has an outside area if it is nice enough to sit outside. Due to the time of year we went it was too cold to sit outside, but the area was very clean and seemed to have plenty of picnic style tables and can be accessed at any stage of the tour (unlike the Scarborough one) as it is a separate building and next to the shop.
I was impressed with the food and drink available from this cafe - as I am on a wheat free diet I can not usually find anything I can eat but they had a fantastic range of flapjack and other items I could choose from. We managed to get jacket potatoes with cheese and the prices were pretty reasonable too. The Sealife centre is not near the shops at Weymouth so you'd either need to take your own food and eat it outside or use the cafe.
The toilets (downstairs near reception, café and shop) had pictures of otters, seals, etc on them and were extremely clean. I thought the pictures idea was brilliant in the ladies, but don't know what pictures were in the mens.
I was also impressed that there seemed to be wheelchair routes around the centre. There were also red footprints for the children to follow to get to the various buildings. There was also a mini adventure playground which my dad and Robert tested out, including a rope bridge, balancing wooden blocks, slide and tyre swing that you had to negotiate across like the bridge.
There was a mini arcade place within a small area that had rides like pirate ships, seal boats, etc, which had a covered area and more picnic tables. There were also some miniature buildings such as St Paul's Cathedral near this area, that were the other side of a marshy bit of land - this was the only area that I considered to be run down and unkempt, but I don't know why it was - some of the miniatures looked as if they were broken too.
In addition there was a ride around the crocodiles but as it was late in the season this was only running once every hour and we always seemed to miss it, as we were either too far away, watching a show/talk or in the café!
We saw meerkats, crocodiles, sharks, seals and many other creatures and there was definitely plenty to do and see here, but try and get a 2 for 1 offer or something similar as it could work out dear for families otherwise.
Summary: great day out for all the family
Weymouth Sealife Centre is a fantastic family day out. Situated by the Lodmoor Country Park, this attraction is easily accessible by car or bus. It is on the edge of the town centre. I would add a note of caution that parking at the Lodmoor Country Park area is very expensive!!! I found that on the occassion I took my son on the train, and then on a quick bus ride from the town to the Sealife centre added to the excitment of the day and was actually more cost effective!
Once inside the park visitors can see seals, otters, sharks and many other sealife creatures. My children enjoyed a scratch off quiz which is free on arrival and can be completed on your trip, on completion it can be exchanged for a lolly at the gift shop. In the outdoor water play area children can jump in springs, play in the pool and have great fun! Don't forget your swimming gear and towel-if you do however you can buy these from an outdoor kiosk-quite expensive though!
Highlights include Crocodile Creek and a ride on a pirate ship which is included in the cost of entry. Great day out in the Summer or all year around-mostly outdoors!
It is well worth looking out for special offers for example pay for the adult and a child goes free!