30 September 2006
The Weymouth Sea Life Centre is a short distance from Weymouth Sea Front at Lodmoor Country Park. I have visited other sea life centres before, including the one in Birmingham, but this one is completely different. The site is much bigger than the other centres and consists of a number of indoor and outdoor exhibits.
The first exhibit is the Amazone showing aspects of a rainforest, and the water life that lives around those areas.
For the next thing you'll want to pack your children's swimming costumes. The Splash lagoon includes a shallow paddling pool with a number of water based features, including fountains and waterfalls.
Next there is a tank containing sharks. These are all small sharks (much smaller than the big sharks you can see at the London Aquarium or some other places). There is a bay of rays and a seahorse breeding centre.
The next thing was the touchpool. Touchpools exist at the sealife centres as an area where you can actually handle the exhibits. In this case Crabs! There was a member of staff that took a crab out of the pool and turned it upside down. At that point the crab pulled in it's pincers and legs, so with no risk of anyone getting nipped by the crab he passed it around.
After the touchpool we visited one of the outdoor attractions the penguin sanctuary, before visiting one of the new attractions the Turtle Sanctuary. After seeing a number of turtles and terrapins in small tanks, there is a large tank with a walk through tunnel. After this there is the seal sanctuary. The view from the top was very good, but the underwater viewing windows were dirty and hard to see anything. The roof also leaked, so there were puddles of water on the floor (one part of the centre that could do with refurbishing).
There is a "dino dig" where children can search through the sand pit looking for fossils.
There is an otter sanctuary, although we didn't actually see any otters.
There is a children play area which includes a free seal boat ride and a sheltered outdoor fast food area. Finally there is a Mysteries of the deep display featuring some deep water fish, and featuring clownfish (as made famous by the film Nemo). We ate in the Harbour Side Cafe which offered paninis, sandwiches and snacks. There were some "meal deal" offers which worked out quite reasonable, but you have to be careful as some of the food was quite expensive if bought separately.
The SeaLife Centre was well worth a visit. It was much better than the others we've visited, mainly due to the amount of space that they had to had all the different attractions.
Outside of the the SeaLife Centre is an adventure golf course, which is owned by the same group. There is a small discount if you buy a golf ticket at the same time as you buy the sealife centre tickets.
There is also a Go-Kart track, giant slide and other rides. I don't believe any of these are actually part of the sealife centre. There is also a cafe and a brewers fayre pub, although we were not particularly impressed with the food from the pub.