Dear mummy, I’m fascinated with the underwater world and some of my favourite books revolve around the sea and are The Little Mermaid, Snail on a Whale and The Singing Mermaid. I’d like to be a mermaid one day, much to my mummy’s amusement, and the closest I’ll get to that dream is watching the fish and learning about the sea.
This time last week we visited Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park for the very first time, we’d been to other aquariums like Brighton and Scarborough SEA LIFE centres and really enjoyed our time there, but had heard from other families that Weymouth was awesome.
Where is it?
Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park is situated on the seafront and is really easy to get to by car. We drove straight into Weymouth avoiding the one-way system and it was clearly signposted. As you’d expect from a UK holiday destination, Weymouth is full of pretty parks and fun things to do for families, including the beach, pier and other seaside fairground attractions. Weymouth is a lovely part of the country with the Jurassic Coast and breathtaking scenery on its door step. There’s plenty of parking outside Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park but it is a Pay and Display system so don’t forget to pay before you go in. Remember to take lots of pennies!
Our entry ticket to Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park included access to the Jurassic Skyline Observation Tower on Weymouth Seafront which is a leisurely 30 minutes stroll along the promenade from the park or easily accessed by car (allow time for traffic, parking and the one way system).
More than an aquarium…
Weymouth SEA LIFE centre is an “Adventure Park” which includes so much more than just an aquarium. It has fantastic individual buildings housing over 1000 underwater marine creatures which means you can take your visit to the park in small bite size chunks. Great for children that have low attention spans and we ambled from one section to the other without feeling pressured to walk round inside on a conveyor belt.
Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park is part indoor and part outdoor which makes it perfect in all seasons. However on our visit we spent the majority of our time by the Rock Pool and visiting the outdoors exhibits.
On arrival I was provided an activity and stamp booklet – the idea being that we collected a stamp at each area of the centre ensuring that we saw everything. This was a great concept and we played ‘hunt the stamp machine’ to make sure I visited every section (even the ones I wanted to skip). A completed book on the way out was exchanged for a SEA LIFE medal!
We visited on a Monday so the park was slightly quieter than usual. It was great for us though as we spent a great deal of time inspecting the fish. The centre is split into 15 different sections. In each area there are screens and interactive tools to help you learn more about the creatures you are seeing.
As you go around each zone you’ll find lots of amazing creatures including sharks, turtles, stingrays, octopus, jellyfish, seahorses, penguins, otters, seals and crocodiles. One of our favourite areas has to be the glass tunnel where you can stand and watch huge sharks and turtles go over your head.
We’ve listed our highlights below:
Adventure Island – is a little area within the park with rides (rides included in the ticket price) for little kids to enjoy/and burn off some energy. It was very well laid out and like a surf shack! We had perfect weather for it!
We were really impressed with the friendliness of staff, lack of queues and quality of the rides that could even rival Paultons. All for free too! We’ve never seen this kind of area at a SEA LIFE centre and that’s what makes this place so special!
There is a little eatery called Crabby’s in Adventure Island too and we stopped for lunch in the shade and sat on a comfy sofa watching the rides outside.
The doors were all open and it had a real surfers bar feel about it. It actually felt like we were on holiday! It was just missing a fake beach on site! Crabby’s is a snack food and refreshment cafe and is only open in the summer months. There is also plenty of shaded picnic space too and we watched loads of families eating outside. We enjoyed Hot Dogs, fruit and Ice Cream at Crabbys.
Splash Zone is perfect for the warmer months so don’t forget your towels and swimsuits. We came prepared but I was so engrossed with seeing the exhibits we didn’t stop to splash around on this occasion. The splash park looks fantastic and well worth visiting on a sunny day. It was very clean and safe. There are cubicles for changing, plenty of benches to sit at, a little play park near by and the new sensory area.
Crocodile Creek is one great water rollercoaster. We walked past Crocodile Creek and I was mesmerised by the log flume, watching people go on a boat ride through the crocodile zone, before soaking them on a speedy downward hill. There was a much-needed drying machine next to the ride and lockers, good thing too as people got really wet!
Rockpool – Our other favourite area was the rock pool where you can hold a crab or touch a starfish. There is normally a member of staff here and they will always be happy to answer any questions you have. We played the gauntlet with the tidal wave that appears in this area every so often which I thought was great fun!
Wetlands area –there are marshland birds to see here, and some information about conservation. It’s also a lovely open area where I could run and play for a while. It’s surrounded with some games (which aren’t free) however we still had a go on them.
Harbourside, Rainforest, Nursery and Bay of Rays – These were the main marine areas all housed in different outbuildings. We loved visiting the tanks and watching the fish silently. In the Rainforest section there was a cool SEA LIFE projector which cast pretty patterns on the floor and I chased the fake fish around with my feet! My mummy loved seeing the jelly fish and the seahorses.
These areas at Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park are open daily throughout the year. With all sorts of fascinating species that are native to the UK, you’ll be able to see some endangered creatures, such as the endangered Undulate Ray and the near-threatened Blonde Ray.
They also host special exhibits showcasing creature egg cases and if you’re lucky, you might be able to see a new-born species hatch!
The Turtle Sanctuary – We loved seeing the turtles and were impressed with the entrance to this section. The turtle sanctuary leads straight into the ocean tunnel and you are surrounded by amazing sea creatures. Sitting on a small bench/ledge we noticed some of the sharks sleeping at the bottom and got up close and personal with them! We had a photo taken against a green screen before we entered to say that we’d been to SEA LIFE and found that experience enjoyable and fun!
The ocean tunnel is very popular but quite narrow, so be aware of this, especially if you have a large backpack or pushchair. We hung back once the crowds left to get a better view and sit quietly.
Seal Sanctuary – Bright light hit our eyes as we came out of the underwater ocean tunnel and headed to see the seals. The seals at the Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park were very playful and we also headed down to the underwater observatory to see them play with bubbles. I also liked seeing the Penguins and watching them prune themselves!
Shipwrecked area – We loved the beautiful displays in the Shipwrecked area and found Nemo, the clownfish, hiding in an elaborate tank with the sea anemones and stunning coral.
We missed some of the talks and feed times (as we were too busy exploring) but next time we are going to check the website and make sure we attend as I’d find it fascinating no doubt. Throughout the day there are plenty of different feeding times planned which include the Rays, Penguins, Turtles, Otters and Seals.
Sadly, we were having so much fun seeing the fish and playing on the rides that we missed the Adventure Mini Golf and the Jurassic Skyline Observation deck on the beach too, but can’t wait to bring daddy down and spend another day at Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park.
However we did enjoy the added bonus of joining in with The Mister Maker Creature Makes event (14th May – 12th June) where we created a jelly fish in the interactive craft zone. We watched a little video and followed instruction sheets to make our sea life creatures. This was included in the price and a really nice crafting event.
I was very proud of my picture! As we explored Weymouth SEA LIFE we also collected recyclable materials which were dotted around in boxes to make out very own crafty crab. *Please note that Mister Maker will not be appearing at this event.
Before we headed home we went to the Adventurers Grill café by the gift shop and had a last cup of tea and some cake before we got into the car, my mummy was very kind and bought me a little soft turtle plush toy called Flora who I love.
We had the best day. There was so much to see and do, and everything was clearly designed with children in mind, like better viewing platforms and lower tanks, making it a fun and interactive trip, as well as a valuable learning experience for me. We will definitely go again and would be interested to see what its like in the low season or on a busy weekend.
Love Bella X
Disclosure: We are SEA LIFE blog ambassadors and gained free entrance to the site in return for an honest review. All food and gift purchases were our own.
Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park, is part of the Merlin Group. It is open from 10am til 5pm daily. You can buy tickets in advance online here from £16.50 each. Or treat yourself to either a Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park Annual Pass, or a Merlin Annual Pass (incorporating access to other Merlin attractions such as Legoland and Alton Towers).