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“Educational, & Great fun. Not walking disable friendly.”

National Sea Life Centre
Ranked #24 of 282 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 older children, Activities for young children
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Educational, & Great fun. Not walking disable friendly.”
Reviewed 6 May 2014

This is a great experience for grown ups and for kids too, there are many interesting sea creatures to see , it is also very educational for the parents as well as children. The new penguin display is good. The rest of the centre is the same as before.
Disappointed to queue for 20mins to sit down and find that the 4D movie was in 2D! Prior notice would be helpful!
I`m a disabled person, it would have been nice to find seating periodically along the route. Please note there is no Café to enjoy refreshments we even saw other families just sitting on the floor by a display to eat as there was no where to sit, 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, we were 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! still no where to sit and drink the hot refreshment.
Again we couldn't believe this was the best refreshments an attraction of this size could put on.

The mostly one-way system through the centre made it easier to keep track of kids too!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Timeoutqueen
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 review, 11 May 2014
Hello and Thanks for taking the time to review us.

I am pleased that you thought the attraction was a great experience for grown ups and kids, and that you enjoyed the new Penguin Ice Adventure.

I am sorry you were not told about the issue we were having with the cinema before hand, someone should have mentioned this to you when you joined the queue. I will ensure that this doesn’t happen again. The issues have now been fixed and it is operating in 4D as normal.

You mention that we do not have rest stops, 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. We offer a small selection of snacks and refreshments due to us being based in Brindley Place which offers a wide variety of options to cater to every taste. Your ticket is multi entry, meaning you can come in and out of the attraction. Many guests choose to use this to go and enjoy one of the restaurants in Brindley Place for their lunch.

I hope this response helps clear up some of the issues you found in your visit and we hope to welcome you to the attraction again soon.
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Chester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
“Dreadful value for money”
Reviewed 5 May 2014

Not sure how they can charge so much for this attraction, good job we had
Buy one get one free tickets otherwise it would have cost us ( a family of four) £82. Maximum time spent here is two hours and that's taking it slow! Best bit was the jellyfish! Nowhere to sit and enjoy refreshments. New penguin attraction far to small and difficult to view, extremely disappointing. blue planet aquarium better in Ellesmere Port for half the cost!

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Vicky J
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 review, 11 May 2014
HI Vicky

Thanks for taking the time to review us.

I am sorry you felt that we offered poor value for money. This is something we monitor closely and happily most guests believe we offer excellent value for money. We feature in the region of more than 2,000 sea creatures from all of the globe, many of which are endangered. We have more than 60 displays and 16 fully themed areas.

I am glad you were able to take advantage of our 2-4-1 vouchers which are in the shops at the moment. However, we also offer fantastic discounts online, indeed you can save up to 40% by booking online, meaning tickets are available from as little as £12.50pp.

You mention that you feel our penguin enclosure is too small, and is difficult to view, i am sorry you feel this way. This attraction has proved very popular, it is 70,000 litres and has six viewing windows, two which are above ground only, two which show both above ground and water views, and two which are totally submerged. This allows you to see the penguins diving, swimming, sleeping, and waddling.

You mention that we do not have rest stops, 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 hope this response helps clear up some of the issues you found in your visit and we hope to welcome you to the attraction again soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Sea Life”
Reviewed 5 May 2014

National Sea Life Centre is a brilliant place if you adore different types of animals such as Sharks, Octopus, Jellyfish, Penguins, Turtles, Otters, there is also a rock pool where you can be interactive with crabs. There's a 4D cinema which is brilliant! I really enjoyed it when I came here last year.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank EmilyR1402
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 review, 11 May 2014
HI Emily

Thanks so much for the great review, i am so glad you had a great visit to us and we hope to see you again soon!
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Uttoxeter, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great attraction let down with 1 minor point.”
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.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northampton, England, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Pros & Cons”
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.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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