Sea Life London Aquarium

Date: April 27, 2014

We asked GentleParenting member Catherine, and her 1 year old son,  to review the Sea Life London Aquarium, here are her thoughts:
aaasealifeWe took our son, aged 1 for an afternoon out to the London Aquarium just after Easter Weekend.

Despite the school holidays being over, it was very busy but fortunately, as we arrived after lunch, the queues weren’t too bad. The Aquarium was easy to find and well sign posted.

The first feature was a glass walkway over the water which I found rather disconcerting but the children loved! It really was like walking on water! We had to walk through a long tunnel and take a lift before we reached any of the other displays and there were already photo opportunities to have a family photo take on a green screen with a choice of aquatic backgrounds. We politely declined!

The Aquarium is rather dimly lit throughout most of it and around some of the feature tanks and displays it was rather crowded and busy so we had to wait our turn to view the sea creatures. It was easy to get around with a pushchair, however a one year old needed a bit more stimulation so we allowed him to get on his feet and get up close to the glass on the tanks which he enjoyed! We were able to see a very large variety of aquatic life from all different oceans around the globe; sharks, tropical fish, crustaceans, coral, carp and the tunnels leading to the viewing areas of the larger enclosures were very well laid out. There were information boards at every tank indicating what the species were their history, habitat etc. and there was the option to participate in a couple of feeding displays and talks which was interesting.

There were seated areas scattered along the route and piped music, medal-making machines, and audio buttons to play with too. However, I feel there could have been more interactive opportunities for toddlers and young children such as small rides, touch pools, simple games etc. so I feel the Aquarium is more suited to older children. For a school trip, it would have been fascinating and very educational, as much was made about the natural habitat of the oceans and rainforests so it was an eco-friendly experience.

One of the main features was a glass tunnel and walkway through the main shark pool which was large and had an incredible array of shark species so it was great to see them so close. Younger children found this particularly fascinating.

There is a lot of information to read so it would have been nice to have arranged a tour guide or had an audio assisted feature where we could press a button to hear information rather than have to try and read it in the dark!

The experience was very enjoyable and definitely a great trip for a family, however there does need to be more interactive activities/rides/games for younger children. We would definitely visit the London Aquarium again when our son is a much older and able to appreciate it more.

Tickets for Sea Life London Aquarium are priced at £18.36 for adults and £13.52 for children aged 3-15yrs (children under 3 are free) if bought online in advance.