We’ve been annual pass holders at the Sealife Adventure Aquarium in Southend for about six months now. At first I wasn’t sure about joining it. The Toddler’s first visit has been very brief with his main interest being in the penguin shaped bins. Nothing wrong with penguin shaped bins at all (actually, they rock), but I’d rather hoped he’s be more interested in the fish. However as he’s got older, now reaching the Big Boy age of three his interest in it has grown and it’s become a great place to have on our doorstep.
Obviously the penguin bins are still a big deal (he hugged them today. Nice.) but now The Toddler is also starting to show an interest in other things and managed to listen to a whole talk about seahorses as well as watching them being fed. Who knew their digestive system worked quite that fast? We watched puffs of ‘smoke’ shoot out the backs of their heads!
Despite it being quite small (in fairness this is Southend, not a big city) there seems to be enough that we’re still finding new things each time. How on earth did we miss this crocodile?!?
As well as hugging bins and watching seahorses go to the toilet, one of our favourite things there is the interactive floor next to the turtles. In all honestly this bit is a nice rest for me, I sit with Baby Girl while The Toddler ‘chases’ crabs, splashes through water or (our favourite) jumps on bugs which then squish on the floor. If it’s not too busy there I like to join in too!
Obviously there’s also plenty of fish to look at, with little sharks, piranhas and pretty much the entire cast of Finding Nemo being among our favourites. The staff are also really friendly and there are lots of talks throughout the day to help you learn more, we really like getting to stroke a crab or a starfish which is a great way to get children more interested in what they are looking at, gotta love a multi-sensory experience!
Being on the seafront and being popular with locals, it obviously gets busy during weekends and holidays, we visited during half term and were able to park right outside the entrance when it opened at ten, have a mooch and a cake but as we left at mid day it was getting rather manic so go early, leave early is as normal my parenting mantra for visiting places.
It’s not the cheapest day out, but we often go round twice in one visit and the annual pass makes it a bit of a bargain if you live nearby. And on a rainy or gloomy day by the seaside its a little bit of a lifesaver.
Southend Sealife Adventure Aquarium is located on Eastern Esplanade, Southend. It has a council run car park directly outside it, the most amazing baby changing area ever inside (honestly, go take a look), a nice cafe and a gift shop. It’s right on the beach so you can have a paddle and throw stones in the sea. For up to date information on pricing and opening hours, check out the Sealife Adventure website here.