Weekends bring adventures, there’s no doubt about that. With the rising sun we can be seen chasing the horizon on the hunt for our next greatest endeavor. This last weekend we were invited along to the Birmingham SEA LIFE Centre to see the all new Sea Stars Exhibit.
As soon as I told Leo about our weekend plans, he couldn't stop talking about the Penguins. On the weeks running up to our visit, Leo has been so excited about all that he will see and the things that he will do on his next visit. His memory is so amazing these days, and he can cast his mind back to previous visits. We have been a few times already in the past year, and the latest addition upon our last visit, actually happened to be the Penguins.
Living in Worcestershire, the commute into Birmingham isn’t a tough one and there is parking in close proximity to the SEA LIFE Centre which is always welcome. We arrived early before the SEA LIFE Centre was actually opened to the public so that we could be one of the first to experience the Sea Stars attraction. We signed in and were greeted by the team and were pointed in the right direction.
First up is the Penguins, this is a firm favourite for the entire family. I love watching them waddle around after one another, jumping out of the water onto dry land and then all diving back in one after the other. They are like real life Happy Feet, and there is something quite calming about watching them. Leo loves them, he gets down on the floor so that he can watch them as they fly around under the water, seeing sights that you don’t see all that often. It’s like a complete other world.
We tend to follow Leo’s lead when we visit, and we were thankful that on this occasion he seemed to be taking things slowly and pacing himself. This meant that Daddy and I got to have a proper look at everything and really take everything in. Leo stopped to inspect the rock pool but decided he wasn’t brave enough on this occasion to touch the Star Fish, Daddy on the other hand decided to give it a go! That’s one of the great things about the SEA LIFE Centre, there are so many different things to see and do, something for every age and interest.
We stopped for ages just watching the Clown Fish swimming around, and I found myself and Leo both mesmerised as we watched two clown fish brushing up against the sea anemone just like in Finding Nemo. Of course we had to keep our eyes peeled for Dory too.
As we moved around we came across creatures from all over the world. Sting Rays, Jelly Fish, Sea Horses, and of course.. Star Fish. As we got to the area that used to hold all of the very beautiful Jellies, we were met with a brand new part of the tour. Sea Stars! The first thing I noticed was the tanks with cut outs in the rocks, making room for young and old alike to place their head inside the bubble and see the world housing the beautiful Star Fish from a whole new angle. I loved this and of course had to be the first to give it a go. I did manage to bump my head in the process, much to Luke’s delight! I always have been a big kid at heart!
As we moved around the Sea Stars I noticed a big tank that was pretty murky, and among the murky waters was the biggest Star Fish I think that I have ever seen. For the first 5 minutes or so as I peered into the tank, I thought this Star Fish was a plastic model, not for one moment did I think it was…Alive! It was round about then that a very helpful member of staff came over and told me the story to the larger than life Star Fish inhabiting the murky tank. For starters he was real, and very much alive. Up until that very morning the waters had been clear and ready for the Sea Stars grand un-veiling. It was only that morning that the cheeky Star Fish decided to test the waters so to speak…In the hope that there were some lady Star Fish around to reap the benefits… I was told that it’s a very rare occurrence and that they only do it when they are very comfortable, and out of all the days for it to happen…
Around the Sea Stars there is lots of information to hand, quirky facts that I actually had no idea about. In fact there was and is so much that I didn’t know about Star Fish, crazily I didn’t actually think they could move, but I was wrong. Although I didn’t witness it myself, I apparently just missed some rather sizeable Star Fish wiggle their way, quite quickly across one of the tanks! Now that is something I wish I had seen with my own eyes! There are computer aids and Leo enjoyed having a play around with those before we made our way out and carried on our tour around the rest of the SEA LIFE Centre.
We were all really impressed with the new Sea Stars attraction and came away knowing much more about the mysterious Star Fish than we knew before visiting. It is certainly worth a visit to see the new addition, and of course the larger than life Star Fish himself!
On this occasion we decided not to head into the 4D Cinema, Leo gets a little worried about the water splashing out and he hasn’t forgotten about the time I brought him back in September, so for the sake of arguments we decided to keep going forward. We then came face to face (So to speak) with the Piranhas! I think they are fascinating, and told Leo about how vicious they could be, and that was exactly why they were in a tank with very high sides, so that people couldn't poke their fingers in. Of course Leo looked at me like I was bonkers and said ‘You winding me up Mummy!’. Of course we all know that I was being perfectly honest, but we will save that argument for another day and hope that he doesn’t try and make friends with any Piranha’s in the coming days…
We made our way to the lift to take us down to the walk through bubble, this part is always rather spectacular and I have fond memories of visiting as a child. Although within those memories are the ones that still put a humorous smile on my face to this day. As a young child, I remember being told that we were heading for a family trip to the SEA LIFE Centre. Then my parents told me all about the bubble you could go into and see the fish. In my head a bubble is a circular object, or a sort of pod. So in my head before visiting I had dreamed up very high expectations of what this bubble would be like. The bubble would pop up out of the water, a door would open to the glass pod allowing me to climb inside, and it would then lock tight and dive back down into the watery depths! I do remember tears when I discovered that this ‘bubble’ wasn't quite what I had in mind, but we can blame my over active imagination for that one!
We spent a while just watching the sharks swimming around among the sea of fish, and then laid eyes on my favourite creature. The Sea Turtle. He really is something else and so majestic.
You can see a snippet of our exciting day at the SEA LIFE Centre, and all of the exciting creatures that we came across! The new Sea Stars attraction is definitely worth visiting and we look forward to our next visit in the coming months.
Disclaimer: We were invited along to the SEA LIFE Centre for the Sea Stars opening. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.