I’ve mentioned our visit to Sea Life in Great Yarmouth a couple of times already this week, so I won’t hold you in suspense any longer, and get on with my review! We had a lovely day at the beach, enhanced by a visit to Sea Life Great Yarmouth. Here’s how we got on.
Sea Life Great Yarmouth is situated right on the sea front, on Marine Parade. Fortunately, there is ample free parking directly opposite, making it easy to get to. It took us around 40 minutes to drive there from Norwich.
Entry to Sea Life Great Yarmouth is £16.60, for anyone over the age of three. Under threes go free. However, if you book online in advance of your trip to Sea Life Great Yarmouth, you can save up to 30%. It’s also really common to find 50% off vouchers – my mum had three in her possession, and we found one of the back of a pay and display car park ticket a few weeks ago, so it’s worth looking out for one of those.
So what did Little M make of Sea Life Great Yarmouth? I was really excited to take her as I thought it would be a great sensory experience for her – lots of fish and pretty colours! When we first entered though, it was quite dark and enclosed, and Little M was nothing short of terrified! To be fair to her, the tanks were floor to ceiling and had lots of big, fast moving fish in them. Considering she’s never seen anything like that before, I’m not really surprised she was a bit nervous.
By the time we’d walked through to the penguins, though, she’d warmed up and was in her element! Who doesn’t like a penguin? The tanks at Sea Life Great Yarmouth are very well thought out and it was lovely for Little M to easily be able to see the penguins swimming underwater. As you can see, she was enthralled!
It was also possible to go up some stairs and outside to see the penguins waddling around. They smelled pretty strong, but were very funny to watch! I do love penguins, they always look so jolly! It was really interesting to watch them interacting and jumping in and out of the water.
Once Little M had warmed up, there was no stopping her. She spent the rest of the time around Sea Life Great Yarmouth squeaking away and pointing at things that caught her eye. I had wondered if perhaps she was a little young at 13 months, but on reflection I think she got a lot out of the visit.
We’ll definitely be visiting again as Little M gets older. There were lots of screens displaying facts about the marine life inside the tanks, although my one criticism would be that the screens changed too quickly. It was a struggle for me to read all of the facts that were on each screen. With my teacher hat on, I think a child would be likely to give up trying to read them as they’d be unlikely to reach the end of one fact before the screen changed to something else.
In addition to the screens, there were interactive quiz screens and fixed boards with interesting facts, as well as large maps showing the native habitat locations for all of the different animals. The staff are really knowledgeable, too. Dean the crab man (he was amused when I named him that!) taught me that lobsters can live to over one hundred, and a member of staff who was doing some sweeping in the aquarium tunnel started telling us all about a particular type of eel and why it looks green to the naked eye, but is actually brown. I can imagine primary age children soaking up all of the information! For Little M, though, she just enjoyed watching the different animals swimming around and the lights and bubbles in the tanks. It really was a great sensory experience for her.
Sea Life Great Yarmouth also has a soft play area, in which several toddlers looked like they were having the time of their lives! The toilet facilities are clean, with a separate disabled toilet and a further separate baby changing room, which was large enough to easily wheel the pushchair in and out of.
With regard to accessibility, we were okay with our Hybrid Stroller, but my dad had his mobility scooter and found it very tight and difficult to manoeuvre in some places. His mobility scooter is one of the smaller ones, too. He was able to see everything, though, apart from the outdoor penguin bit, as that’s accessed by stairs.
One thing that really impressed me about Sea Life Great Yarmouth, was the range of gluten free options on their menu. These were all clearly marked on their main menu, displayed on the wall, so there was no faffing over asking about what I could or couldn’t eat. I had a gluten free sausage roll, which cost £1.50. It wasn’t the most amazing sausage roll I’ve ever eaten, but at least I could eat it, which isn’t always possible elsewhere.
Overall, we had a lovely time at Sea Life Great Yarmouth, and will definitely be returning in future…but probably with a discount voucher in hand!
Disclosure: Myself and my husband were granted free entry into Sea Life Great Yarmouth for the purpose of this review. As always, this is my honest opinion.