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“Great attraction let down with 1 minor point.”

National Sea Life Centre
Book In Advance
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US$23.00*
and up
SEA LIFE Birmingham Admission Ticket
Ranked #49 of 300 things to do in Birmingham
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Attraction details
Owner description: Dive and be wowed by the many strange, beautiful and fascinating creatures of the deep as you journey through the amazing underwater world of The National SEA LIFE Centre Brimingham. Prepare for astonishing close views of everything from humble starfish to tropical sharks. To get any closer you'll have to get wet!
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 4 May 2014

I visited Sea Life with my wife and 2 children during Easter half term time and overall the place was fantastic, the displays are brilliant and the variety of species on display is amazing, the kids loved the penguins and the sharks and for me the sea turtles and sea horses were the best. The only down side were the crowds as the place was rammed, but we did expect this as it was half term and the fact that there is no café or anywhere else to sit and eat. We took a packed lunch expecting to find a café or seating area inside but there's nothing of the sort, no seating, no rest area, no café, nothing. This meant that we missed the kids lunch and actually ended up rushing through the second half so we could get out and find somewhere to feed the kids (and us) before going back in to finish the last half that we had rushed through in the first place. We even saw other families just sitting on the floor by a display to eat as there was no where to site, the building is massive with a lot in it given the type of people it attracts I would expected it to have a café or at least a seating area of some sort. As I said this was the only down side to what was a great day out ( and to be honest I managed to persuade Mrs Green to go to the pub over the canal for a pint and a pub lunch instead of a packed lunch so it wasn't all bad) and I would definatley go back.

2  Thank monkeyhands1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLC_Birmingham, Public Relations Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 11 May 2014

Hello and thanks for taking the time to visit us and writing a review.

I am so pleased you enjoyed the attraction and loved the penguins, and the other creatures we have here.

I am sorry you were disappointed we didn’t have a cafe, we haven’t had one for over a year now. The main reason for this is we are situated in Brindley Place which has many cafes and restaurant which offer a fantastic variety to suit everyones tastes.

We do have some rest areas in the attraction. These are situated by the seahorses, the bay of rays, the toilets upstairs and the 4D cinema. We also have additional seating at the end of the attraction. However i have passed your comments on to the operations team to look into additional seating further.

I am glad you will be back, and we look forward to welcoming you to the national sea life centre again, perhaps in Summer when we have the Moshi Monsters visiting us?

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"underwater tunnel"
in 70 reviews
"penguin enclosure"
in 49 reviews
"sealife centres"
in 39 reviews
"star fish"
in 37 reviews
"glass tunnel"
in 36 reviews
"behind the scenes"
in 81 reviews
"gift shop"
in 138 reviews
"school holidays"
in 73 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 108 reviews
"half term"
in 61 reviews
"booked online"
in 40 reviews
"rainy day"
in 52 reviews
"cinema experience"
in 48 reviews
"brindley place"
in 53 reviews
"book in advance"
in 32 reviews
"car park"
in 57 reviews
"sharks"
in 303 reviews
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2,560 - 2,564 of 3,273 reviews

Reviewed 2 May 2014

Visited last week with my wife and infant, hoping that a week day would be quieter - my wife loves the turtles and my baby could enjoy a bit of a sensory experience with the water and different lights.
The attraction itself is, of course, generally very good - good size, good range of sea life and staff we encountered were friendly too.
However, unfortunately it turned out to be a bit of a stressful experience as it was absolutely rammed; term time on a weekday, I couldn't believe it! Good for business, no doubt, but several school trips and sizeable groups of wheelchair users among the general public. I would wonder if they consider capping the number of people allowed in at one time - not to fit in with fire safety regulations but in consideration of how fulfilling the experience is for its visitors. A long story short, there were so many people crowding us with our pushchair if we stopped to observe something for any period of time another visitor was breathing down your neck or brushing past you saying "excuse me" as they slip past the crowd. It's a shame - it was just really uncomfortable at times and even though the novelty of the attraction remained, I left with a feeling of being 'rushed' through, having to constantly consider whether or not I was in someone else's way.
Only other niggles would be the cost to get in; this isn't cheap. I'm sure the care of all the sea life isn't cheap either, but that doesn't stop the attraction from being inaccessible if you're strapped for cash.
Finally, my wife was very hopeful of a café at the end and we were sure between us that an attraction of this scale would have such facilities, but we were surprised and again disappointed to find there wasn't one. An instant-coffee machine on the walk around is as close as you get! Again we couldn't believe this was the best refreshments an attraction of this size could put on.
So, even though it's a good, educational experience, I thought I'd detail my niggles so people are aware before they visit.

1  Thank Greg F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLC_Birmingham, Public Relations Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 11 May 2014

HI Greg

Thanks so much for taking the time to review us.

I am glad that you enjoyed the attraction and found our staff to be friendly.

I am sorry that you found that your visit to us stressful. I am sorry that you felt their were too many school trips present during your visit. As an educational attraction we are very popular with both schools and consumers alike. We monitor how many school groups are in every day to make sure there is not overcrowding in areas, I will pass on your comments to our schools team so they can do some further investigation into your comments. We never want any one to feel rushed in the attraction, and I am sorry you felt this way. Your ticket is a multi entry ticket this does mean you are able to come and go into the attraction multiple times, which allows you to revisit areas you might have missed on the first round. Many guests do this to avoid areas which are more crowded.

Looking further into your comments, you mention that you feel we are expensive. Thanks for this feedback, we monitor guest perception on this closely and take into account costs not only in the aquarium industry but also all of the entertainment sector as whole. We believe that given the quality of our offering we offer excellent value for money, we feature in the region of more than 2,000 creatures, 60 displays and sixteen fully themed zones, we have talks and feeds which go on throughout the day, a soft play centre and a 4D cinema. Also it is always worth noting that you can save up to 40% online.

Regarding the lack of cafe, we are suited in Brindley Place, where there are many different restaurants and cafe which have a wide offering for everyone to enjoy. Therefore we only offer a small offering in the centre.

Thanks so much for the review, I hope the response here has answered some of your queries.

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Reviewed 2 May 2014

An AMAZING day out at the sea life center for mine and my friends birthday treat. Especially loved the cinema and its surprises and the sea tunnel!

Only down side.... We seemed to have picked a day that a load of schools decided to have a school trip on which meant we were unable to pick up the animals or look at some of the water tanks as they were surrounded, by sometimes very rude, children.

Thank ZoeBooton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLC_Birmingham, Public Relations Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 11 May 2014

HI Zoe

Thanks so much for taking the time to review us.
We are so pleased that you had a great day out with us on your Birthday, and loved the cinema and the ocean tunnel.

I am sorry that you found some of our school guests to be rude, we are an educational attraction and therefore we are popular with schools, and groups. For guests looking to avoid the school groups we would always recommend visiting after 2pm.

I hope we will be able to welcome you to the centre again soon.

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Reviewed 1 May 2014 via mobile

Yes, there's fish and small sharks.

Very underwhelming. I was hoping for a bit more for my money.

Clean environment. I can see why kids would enjoy it.

My rating for this was probably effected by going to a place called zoomarine in Portugal that was cheaper and 100 x better!

Thank Joseph H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLC_Birmingham, Public Relations Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 11 May 2014

HI Joseph

Thanks for taking the time to review us.
I am sorry you felt your visit was underwhelming, and did not offer value for money.

I can see from your review that you have previously visited an oceanarium, we believe that we offer something very different to these kinds of attractions. We offer an up close, interactive, and educational experience. We believe in inspiring everyone, both adults and children to care for and become guardians of the sea and the creatures who live in it. Our creatures take more than a cursory glance to fully appreciate their finer qualities.

We feature in the region of more than 2,000 creatures, sixty displays, and more than 16 fully themed zones. Additionally we have a colony of Gentoo Penguins, the UK’s only hammerhead sharks, sharks both native and tropical, interactive rock pools, and much much more.

I hope you will visit us again soon, and perhaps take a more leisurely visit around the centre, and maybe attend some of the talks to learn more about the interesting creatures we look after. If you do i am sure you will change your mind, do let us know, either way.

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Reviewed 30 April 2014

I've always wanted to go to the sea life centre as I love animals. My other half took me for a surprise for my 21st and it was amazing! Really enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone who was thinking of going!

Thank samanthapeckham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLC_Birmingham, Public Relations Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 11 May 2014

Hi Samantha

What a fantastic review, thanks so much for sharing your lovely pictures with us! We will see you again soon!

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