Southend Sealife Adventure Aquarium

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.

sealife adventure southendObviously 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?!?

crocodile southend sealifeAs 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!

sealife centre southendObviously 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!

southend sealife centre reviewBeing 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.

things to do in Southend with kids

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.

40 Comments

  1. 20th February 2014 / 7:04 am

    I love season passes, they make great Christmas gifts for us!!

  2. 20th February 2014 / 8:11 am

    That looks like loads of fun. We haven’t been to Sealife for a year or so – will add it to our list of things to do SOON! 🙂

  3. 20th February 2014 / 8:19 am

    Sealife centers are really brilliant to understand wildlife.I wish I had something like this near me

  4. 20th February 2014 / 8:37 am

    That interactive floor always gets me as well -_-
    Should really start acting my age. In public, at least.

  5. 20th February 2014 / 8:44 am

    We love a visit to an Aquarium and often go to The Deep. This Aquarium looks great – lots of things to see and do!

  6. 20th February 2014 / 9:27 am

    This looks like a great place to go with little ones and a pass sounds like an excellent idea.

  7. 20th February 2014 / 10:24 am

    Sealife centers are a great place to visit and cheaper than the other aquarium (which tend to cost an arm and a leg!!) They are great for learning about British sealife, we have visited our local one quiet a few times in the past.

  8. 20th February 2014 / 10:44 am

    Lol at hugging the bins. We love going to sealife centres, some are better than others though

  9. 20th February 2014 / 2:39 pm

    You are so lucky having that close by, particularly with the wet weather we have had recently!

    • Kate
      21st February 2014 / 7:48 pm

      Exactly!! Gotta love having something indoors to do!

  10. 20th February 2014 / 4:59 pm

    Oh I do wish we had all been feeling better this half term as we had so much planned. We adore sea life centers

  11. 20th February 2014 / 5:34 pm

    This looks like a fabulous place to go and even better that it’s nearby too. We only have a small aquarium near us – unless we pay for theme park entry – they’re always such fun 🙂

  12. 20th February 2014 / 5:43 pm

    That looks like fun. I want to take Baby to an aquarium soon x

  13. 20th February 2014 / 5:50 pm

    Used to take my boy down to the Southend Sealife Centre a lot when he was younger – haven’t been for years now, but maybe should put it on the list to take a trip back, it’s only down the road after all!

  14. 20th February 2014 / 6:28 pm

    I love sealife centres so much to learn for all the family. I adore seahorses and always love it when a centre have some.

  15. 20th February 2014 / 8:04 pm

    I want to go just to see the seahorses!

    • Kate
      21st February 2014 / 7:48 pm

      Especially the bit about the digesting food, right?!

  16. 20th February 2014 / 8:16 pm

    We have always intended to visit the Southend Sealife Centre having enjoyed the London Aquarium. Still haven’t made it, maybe this summer. Lovely photos 🙂

    • Kate
      21st February 2014 / 7:47 pm

      You should go, it’s smaller but I think that can sometimes be nicer as it’s less busy that way.

  17. 20th February 2014 / 8:19 pm

    Sounds like a great place to have a season ticket.

  18. 20th February 2014 / 9:06 pm

    We love the sealife centre – we have been so many times

  19. 20th February 2014 / 9:06 pm

    I love an aquarium – could take a nap in one anyday… 😉
    Oh and is that a TOILET in the last photo?! x

    • Kate
      21st February 2014 / 7:46 pm

      Sweetheart, this is Essex, of course its a toilet!!

  20. 20th February 2014 / 9:14 pm

    How fantastic to have such a lovely aquarium on your doorstep. It looks like they have a wonderful variety of marine life there. I also subscribe to the ‘get there when it opens and leave at 12’ school of visiting attractions as it keeps me sane.

    • Kate
      21st February 2014 / 7:46 pm

      Its the only way isn’t it? Rush like a crazy lady to get there but I’m always thankful I did!

  21. 20th February 2014 / 9:56 pm

    There’s a fab floor like that at the Science Museum in London (only that one has fish.) Hours of fun! My kids love Sea Life Centres too. Sounds like you had a great time.

  22. 20th February 2014 / 11:01 pm

    I love that interactive floor! We go to the london aquarium as the boys love it and it could definitely do with having one of those!

  23. 20th February 2014 / 11:28 pm

    This is a great idea for a rainy day out that hadn’t crossed my mind! Looks such fun!

  24. 21st February 2014 / 7:46 am

    I want to go just to see the baby changing area now lol – looks like a fab day out

    • Kate
      21st February 2014 / 7:45 pm

      It is the only place in the world where I have ever known children to want to get changed!!

  25. We love our local sealife centre – feeding the Manta Rays is always our favourite part x

    • Kate
      21st February 2014 / 7:44 pm

      Ooh, now that sounds like fun!

  26. 21st February 2014 / 9:58 am

    That looks like great fun. We don’t have one near us, the nearest one is London. We took Oscar before Christmas and he loved it though.

  27. That crocodile terrifies me, even though it’s just a picture! You’re a brave woman to have got so close (even if it was behind glass). I like the look of this place – will have to visit some time. I’ve been to the one in Weston Super Mare, many years ago, and loved it.

  28. 21st February 2014 / 9:34 pm

    Now i have passed my test, i am excited to get the girls to the sea side this year and especially to a sea life centre. I love them just as much as they do! We normally go to the closest one to us which is hunstanton but i am excited to visit more now 🙂

  29. 21st February 2014 / 9:42 pm

    Great snaps and loving the little croc! It’s so good to have an aquarium near you, we have one with a giant octopus which F loves x

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