Newest Review: ... 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... more
A nice way to spend a couple of hours
Sea Life Centre (Weymouth)
Member Name: lyndsey1989
Sea Life Centre (Weymouth)
Advantages: Plenty of different species
Disadvantages: Not enough there for the ticket price
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.
Summary: Only visit if you have some kind of voucher!
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