A brand new attraction called Sea Stars at the National Sealife Centre, Birmingham opened this Easter and my family popped along to meet the new nautical recruits. We were expecting a brilliant day out (who doesn’t love seeing wondrous sea creatures) but did the new exhibit and the centre as a whole live up to our expectations?
I actually had the perfect outfit lined up for my trip, this is a 1960s vintage Lobster and Crab dress with matching jacket! Unfortunately the weather was conspiring against us, it rained cats and dogs (or starfish and seahorse) the wind was intense and our sat nav basically lied. Thankfully the Sealife Centre is well signposted and we got there in the end. The centre is entirely indoors (and safe from the rain!) with a walkway design, which means you never feel crowded or hemmed in no matter how many people appear to be there.
These extremely cute penguins greet you as soon as you walk in. I could write a whole post just about these guys but they weren’t the ‘stars’ we came to see that day.
Along the walkway we met some exceedingly friendly fish and shrimp who posed when I pointed my camera in their direction. They were probably saying something akin to ‘No pictures!’ or maybe they just love the limelight. Although this little fellow in the next picture definitely looked nervous!
About half way round the centre you come to the brand new Sea Stars exhibit and it’s wonderful! Starfish have an enduring appeal all of their own, their shape and style sets them apart from other aquatic creatures. While their slow movement gives them the appearance of a laidback and likable nature. But little did we know they came in so many sizes and varieties! Here you can get up close and personal with some of the more unusual kinds. Pop your head inside a bubble to see starfish from a brand new perspective.
We marvelled at this fashion conscious fellow with his funky red spikes.
And if you ever wondered what a starfish feels like to touch (rubber if you ask me) you can even stroke one in a small pool.
If you thought starfish were small, then it’s time to think again, we met the ultimate King of the Starfish! I never dreamt they could grow so large.
There were many more varieties who resembled suns, sponges and much more! Information points were dotted around the animals and if you weren’t a fan of starfish before I can guarantee you will be by the time you leave, or at the very least you’ll have a whole new respect for them.
Just after Sea Stars we spied some amazing jelly fish floating about in their tanks. Considering the sting these chaps can inflict they really are very graceful.
Extremely playful rays (I love those guys!).
The cutest frog ever!
The Sealife Centre even have otters (who were fast asleep) but given that they were sleeping in the most adorable way I think we can forgive them taking a morning nap.
Of course there’s also the famous sea tunnel where the public walk through a humongous tank filled with sharks, rays, fish and even a giant turtle.
If I had to sum up a visit to the National Sealife Centre and what you should expect I would say this:
Take a camera (but no flash please, we don’t want to scare anyone) and expect to spend a good part of your day going ‘Ooooh, aaaaahhhh’ and pointing like a toddler at everything and anything. Give yourself time to enjoy the exhibits and read the information available (I’m very bad at this, I tend to skip about in sheer delight at the animals). Despite being a busy weekend I found the keepers and staff to be enthusiastic and helpful, we appreciated their work which meant we could meet these wondrous creatures from the deep.
We hope we can go back soon and watch some of the animals for feeding time or other displays, but I’d definitely recommend a visit. I don’t think this one is just for the kids either, adults are equally pleased by the displays. Of course that means I’ll have to find a new sea themed outfit….
For now I’ll leave you with a short video showing some of the fun we had
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