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“Very dirty, very expensive”

National Sea Life Centre
Ranked #4 of 21 things to do in Bray
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Attraction details
Owner description: The National SEA LIFE Centre on the Seafront in Bray is a perfect family fun day out. An aquatic Zoo with 30+ displays which are home to over 1,000 creatures including: Black Tip Reef Sharks, Octopus, Seahorses, Stingrays and Red-Bellied Piranha, we will take you on a journey of the deep...without getting wet! The Aquarium is completely indoors making it a perfect rainy day activity. Just a 2 minute walk from Bray DART Station and a relaxing and scenic 30 minute train ride from Dublin City Centre making us a perfect choice for tourists and residents alike. The National SEA LIFE Centre, Bray is one of the East Coasts top visitor attractions.
Dublin, Ireland
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Very dirty, very expensive”
Reviewed 24 May 2014 via mobile

I understand that cleaning up an aquarium is a huge task so I blame the management for the situation in Bray's aquarium.

The staff is lovely and the fish are interesting and plenty considering its a small aquarium, but the price us inexplicable!

To be honest I would be happy to pay if it was taken care of, but the smell was overpowering and the tanks so dirty it was hard to look into.

There is nothing wrong with how small it is, the fish were fun, some clean parts were lovely decorated, there is an interactive part where you can touch starfish and seahorses, an amazing koy pond and a fun donations box!

But outrageous price, for that amount I would expect it to be clean, and I have been in many aquariums before, but I paid the same amount to enter the aquarium in Berlin which was 6 times bigger, had way more species and was spotless!!

It's certainly bad management and if you go, book a ticket online, much cheaper :)

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Zoe k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Dublin, Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Needs some work”
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Our children enjoyed it and staff were nice. It needs to be bigger and more interactive for the children. The girl tried to make it as interactive as possible but she hadn't got much to work with.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Charlene M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sealife Aquariu... B, General Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our aquarium. Our staff is really focussed on making the visit of our guests as enjoyable as possible, so it is great to get positive feedback. I share your view about the size of SEA LIFE, but we unfortunately are constrained by the space we have access to. I take your point about the level of interactivity, and we are developing some new elements which I believe will complement our current offering.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“we laughed at how bad it was”
Reviewed 20 April 2014 via mobile

I've seen more fish in a fishmongers shop. We were actually laughing towards the end at just how bad this was considering the €18 cost.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank MichaelDowlingDublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sealife Aquariu... B, General Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. I am sorry that we did not meet your expectations. And although we have nearly 1000 animals living in 30 displays, we clearly failed in highlighting them to you. If you could contact me on slcbray@merlinentertainments.biz, I would like to understand, in more detail, your disappointment. In that way, I can try to rectify the failure in expectation.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ireland
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Needs to be bulldozed and rebuilt”
Reviewed 18 April 2014

The facilities in this family attraction are just not up to scratch. Per person it's about 4-5 euro cheaper than Dublin zoo and there is no comparison. The toilets are awful, dark, cramped and grotty - the play area is like a temporarly set up of awfulness, the gift shop is in the way of the exit and there's a constant queue of people trying to make their way out. Also the till used is the same till for the gift shop and the entry tickets it's really really confusing.

On a positive note the staff are very nice and were lovely to my children. It's the 2nd time we have visited and it's just not as good as some other attractions for families in the area (Kilruddery or mount Usher) - the facilities in the Star leisure centre were more spacious and much cleaner, tip, park there (it's free) and use theirs.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank cardigan24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sealife Aquariu... B, General Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our aquarium. I’m really sorry that we failed to meet your expectations. Whilst we are scrupulous about keeping our toilets clean, I admit that they are in need of a facelift. This work was scheduled to be completed before the summer, but based on your comments, I have decided to move that work forward. The play area is incredibly popular with our younger visitors, but we are making changes to make it more comfortable for their parents! We welcome your feedback, and constantly look to improving our 30 displays (which are home to over 900 animals!) as well as all facilities which affect the experience of our visitors.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin, Ireland
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“'The fish on the land ain't happy/ They sad 'cause they in the bowl'”
Reviewed 12 April 2014

I used to visit the aquarium on school trips about 14 years ago, and loved it at the time. Now, at twenty one, my dad and I visited about a month ago.
It took us around an hour to see everything, and we didn't rush. It is a small aquarium, (made seem smaller after growing around three feet) and the variety of fish isn't anything too impressive. I think it's more suited to children ten or younger, as all the littlies were loving it. The feeding is pretty interesting, although we used the pause in traffic to skip ahead a bit. Also, the rays are really entertaining, although I remember there being a touch pool & being able to stroke their noses, which I missed.
I think if you're on Bray seafront on a drizzly day with little ones, it's a good way to pass an hour or so. There's a play are at the end, as well as a small gift shop and ice creams for sale in a fridge (generic ice lollies, etc).
The magic's worn off a bit; it could be great, but a major overhaul is needed.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank ClaireCrilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sealife Aquariu... B, General Manager at National Sea Life Centre, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
Thank you for telling us about our recent experience at SEA LIFE. I’m glad that the magic hasn’t worn off completely, and that you enjoyed most of your visit. We are constantly looking to refresh the magic and have, since your visit, upgraded our tropical shark display and viewing area. We will be upgrading several more displays over the next few months, and are confident that you will like the results.
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