(Gifted Ad) This year Halloween, like most other events, has been affected by the Coronavirus. However, The Sea Life Centre has come up with a fun, family event for the season...Ascarium (“dum – dum – dahhhhh”). From the 10th October till the 1st November the Sea Life Centre has had a spooky transformation. The wizard has hidden potion ingredients (letters) around the creatures homes. Find them and unscrabble the magical word to win a prize (allergy warning: it is a cadburys prize).
We were lucky enough to be invited to check out the Ascarium event at the Sea Life Centre in Great Yarmouth. The centre is covid-19 secure with safety measures such as hand gel and temperature checks on arrival, prebooking online (staggered times) and arrows to follow to minimise close contact with others. I am anxious visiting places and have avoided many indoor venues, however I felt safe and able to minimise risks for my boys.
The boys were given the quest sheet, a pencil and a magnifying glass to help them investigate. J was intrigued by the star fish. He managed to get an up close look as a couple were showing off on the glass. Then the wizard let J stroke one. He told us that if a star fish loses a ‘leg’ it can just grow it back. That’s a very useful ability for a sea creature.
My youngest, F loved being able to get close to the sea creatures as the tanks are at an accessible level with glass panels to be able to get a good look. For a toddler it’s all about the sensory experiences and movements of the environment, and he loved it. We especially liked sitting in the window with the penguins coming up to say hello. The Humbolat Penguins were beautiful and so entertaining. Did you know that they moult every year (a bit like me) and when they do, they eat and eat until they have stored enough body fat to fast on land until the moulting process has finished?
That’s the great thing about the Sea Life Centre. It’s an educational visit as well as fun as a family. My eldest, J, would read the facts to us and we’d talk about them. He loved the interactive learning too. There’s buttons to press, facts to listen to, videos to watch. Perfect for ‘curious kids’. My son is autistic. For him, its visuals like these which really attract him and help him to learn about the world. The centre also supports accessibilty and inclusion. We found many sign language opportunities with the displays showing how to sign some animals eg: crocodile and finger spellings for the jelly fish. My son was reliant on Makaton signing for a while and still enjoys using it, it was great for him to see it in the wider world.
The Halloween feel was just right for children. It wasn’t too intense or creepy. The lighting, the cob webs and the pumpkins were all fun. It was great to be able to have some spooky fun. The use of the letters being hidden around the centre means that children get to really look and learn. It’s an opportunity to find out more about the conservation projects and the amazing work that the sea life centres do behind the scenes. Finding out about the effects of plastic in the ocean, the needless amount of shark killed just for their fins etc is devastating to read.
In terms of facilities the sea life centre is accessible to buggies and mobility aids. There are stairs to see the open top view of the penguins, however you get an amazing up close view on the main floor so this doesn’t affect your visit. As I said previously many of the enclosures are glass based and lower to the ground and so you will get a great opportunity to see the sea creatures moving around. The toilets are standard disabled toilets and there are baby changing facilities (all were clean and presentable). Children who are sensitive to sound may benefit from ear defenders however, its generally a manageable sound level. We had great interactions with the staff who kept appropriate distance, wore masks and were very helpful (I hope the shop staff see this because they really made my sons day with how kind they were to him – the lollipop machine broke and they were super quick in getting him his lollies, and chatted to us).
Did you know that when Merlin acquired a shanghai aquarium they tasked the Sea Life Centre to find a more appropriate home for two beautiful Beluga Whales. Thanks to their work Little White and Little Grey now live in an amazing open water sanctuary. So a visit to the Sea Life Centre is an opportunity to support the work of an amazing organisation.
If you are looking for something fun to do over half term then we all recommend a visit to the Sea Life Centre. Thank you again to Sea Life Centre Great Yarmouth for a truly memorable day.
Have you visited any of the many Sea Life Centres? What’s been the highlight of your visits? Will you be heading to the Ascarium? Let me know in the comments or find us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
Disclaimer: we were gifted a family ticket in return for a review. All views and opinions are my own.