The first job of the day when we arrived in Birmingham once we’d parked up was lunch. We followed the signs out of the car park that directed us to the Sealife centre. Turns out we’d only parked two floors up from the centre. We took the lift down to the right floor and stepped out right out on the canal. It throws me when I come across canals in Birmingham even though I know the place is full of them.
It was a bit grey and dismal when we stepped outside but it was ok. We weren’t planning on spending much time outside. We walked along the canal towards a bridge over it. it turned out the Sealife centre was on the opposite side of the canal. As we walked, we came across the Birmingham Lego Discovery Centre. I didn’t realise it was so close by. Maybe when Bella is a bit bigger and can appreciate it more we’ll take her back.
Now like I said our first job was to find some lunch. We wandered along the canal and I noticed there was a Costa right next to the bridge before we crossed. I figured as we’d already had Costa we’d look for somewhere else to eat.
The Sealife centre seems to be in a little shopping area. Leanne spotted a list of all the shops and cafes in the area. That made it a bit easier to work out what we were going to eat. A lot of the places were proper like dinner/restaurant places. It wasn’t what we really wanted. We had decided on having a proper dinner later and something like a sandwich now.
As we weren’t having much luck finding anywhere else that served sandwiches so we walked back to Costa. It was quite a cosy Costa. It was one of those stores that wasn’t very wide but went back very far. We went in and chose our food. Leanne and I both chose ham and cheese toasties. I picked up Bella some of the wafers she likes, a packet of crisps and some muffins. Not the healthiest of lunches but I had some extra snacks in her bag including an apple and some raisins. As well as our toasties, of course Leanne and I both order a pot of tea each.
Bella chose us a seat not too far from the till and we joined her with our pots of tea. We had to wait for our toasties to be toasted. While we waited Bella played with our table numbers between eating her wafers.
We had a lovely lunch, enjoying being out of the car and out of the cold and wet outside. Leanne and I chatted about stuff we had been up to and how Bella was doing at nursery. The way we’re talking we’re going to run out of things to talk about by the time the weekend is over.
After enjoying a nice cup of tea, and oh my word was it good, we headed back out into the cold to head over the bridge and into the Sealife centre. Bella was all excited to see the fishies. She spotted them on the wall of the centre as we got closer. She has been watching Finding Nemo recently so I’m guessing that has sparked her interest in fish again.
We entered the Sealife centre and paid for our entry. I had been collecting the 2 for 1 vouchers off of the McDonalds Happy Meal boxes. It seems to have been one of their summer promotions. I mean Costa is currently doing a promotion on their gingerbread men, that means each of them come with a child goes free voucher for the Sealife centre but Bella is still too little to count as a child. Their child tickets start at 3 years.
Once we’d paid, in we went. Before we could start looking around we did one of those green screen photos that if you’ve ever been to a Sealife centre you know they like to do. Spoiler alert – I did buy a photo. I thought this one with cute penguins was the best.
The first exhibit we came across was the penguins. Bella was very excited to see the penguins. She actually kinda made friends with one. She was standing right up against a window and one penguin was splashing around in the water right where her hands were. Well it either made friends with her or was trying to eat her.
We took a slow walk around the centre so we could take everything in. Bella loved it. Now annoyily or not annoyily I was enjoying time with Bella and Leanne I wont be able to tell you what all the photos below are of or what section came after which. I was I suppose living in the moment which is a great thing. Too many of us are desperate for views or the selfies so we can show what we did rathwr than enjoy what we did. So you will have to bare with, maybe just enjoy the photos and give Birmingham Sealife centre a look for yourself
Leanne got very excited when we spotted some Dory’s chilling out in a tank.
We walked up this long ramp that weaved in and out of the centre. At one of the many bumps in the path we came across some reef sharks (I think they are but don’t quote me on that) I really love sharks and these guys were just chilling out in the corner of their tank.
Bella was also quite taken by them. As well as the large fish that were swimming around the tank. A lot of them we’re grey/blue but we discovered there was one in the tank with red/brown stripes.
We soon came across the Nemos, it was a bit dark in this section but the bright lights of the tank made it easy to see the fish. There was a tunnel going through the clownfish tank but Bella was a bit too scared to crawl through it. I believe she managed to crawl through once but only when I stood at the other end and she could see me. She instantly recognised they were Nemos though.
Further in the clownfish area they had more of Nemos friends. We found a tank with a few Dorys in it and Leanne spotted a fish that she had seen while in holiday. She stood there for ages trying to catch a photo of it. It kept bobbing up out of sight and then coming back into view for a second before disappearing again.
Round the corner from the Nemos there was a massive glass window. It wasn’t until we moved closely we realised there was a seal in the tank. Bella was fascinated. She sat with Leanne and they watched the seal dart through the water and tumble too and fro.
We came across a tank of ray fish. It was a dark corner of the aquarium but it looked so peaceful. As if you were really sat at the bottom of the sea with them. I love that soft blue light and the bubbles. It just instantly relaxes me.
They had one of those decking areas with a large tank in the centre. There were various fish swimming around. Bella settled down briefly to watch them before disappearing off round the decking.
We soon came across the seahorses, sea dragons and sea snakes. Leanne couldn’t see the appeal of sea snakes as they just sit straight up in the sand and sway in the waves.
While we were walking around Bella discovered a range of spinning blocks that you could spin around and make the pictures of octopuses. Leanne really didn’t like the octopus. I pointed out there was one near the top of a tank with its arms coming down the glass. Leanne was not impressed.
The next section contained the crabs. These spider crabs were huge and there was so many of them. They really do look like creepy spiders when they climb over each other. However they scare me a lot less. As well as spider crabs we also came across a few horseshoe crabs. Now those things do look freaky.
In the rainforest section of the centre Bella was far more willing to crawl through the tunnel we found going through one of the tanks. It was only after a few go’s we realised the tank was actually filled with piranhas.
It was so pretty as we made our way further and further up through the Sealife centre. We carried on up the windy path to the very top of the centre.
At the top there was another green screen photo. This time with props. We had to pretend we were in a raft and that we were scared. It was so funny trying to get Bella to look scared. I kept telling her there was a monster. Eventually we got her scared face.
Just by the green screen there was another seal tank. This one seemed to have two seals in it and it was feeding time. It was funny to watch the keeper try to get one of the seals to come take the food. The seal would move so far onto the platform and then just sit there, as if to say ‘Nope! Not going to happen. You’ve got to come to me’
We stood and watched the seals through the window for a bit and then we discovered there was a tunnel through their tank that opened into a little window box in the middle. Giving you a closer view of the seals.
Bella wouldn’t crawl through on her own so I had to get on my hands and knees and go down this tiny little tunnel with her. I’m not the hugest fan of small spaces but seeing Bella enjoying the seals made it worth it. Bella decided this was also her snack time though.
Just past the seals were the jellyfish. Again an area Leanne wasn’t so happy about. We didn’t really look much though, we kinda skimmed through this section. They did have quite a rang of jellyfish. I believe there were at least 4 tanks.
We had to take a lift down to finish the rest of the exhibits. We’d made our way all the way to the top of the Sealife centre and now it was time to go to the very bottom. And this was the best section in my opinion. It was the ocean tunnel with the turtles – My favourite!
The giant turtle was having a bit of a rest unlike the turtles in the Brighton Sealife centre. Those ones normally swim about but the turtle here in Birmingham was just chilling on the sand at the bottom of the tank, looking very tired.
This is my favourite place in any Sealife centre. I love being under the water and watching the sharks, rays, fish and turtles swim by. I don’t think there’s a better place to relax. I need my own private ocean tunnel and then maybe my anxiety would be able to be kept in check.
Bella isn’t a huge fan of the ocean tunnels. The one in Brighton, she can’t get through quick enough. She did exceptionally well in the Birmingham one. It’s quite a big tunnel, and unlike other ocean tunnels I’ve been in, the glass goes right down to the floor so it feels like your actually walking through the ocean rather than just bobbing your head through it.
However, in the middle of the tunnel the floor became glass as well. This did not sit well with Bella. She didn’t want to walk across it. In came Leanne. She encouraged Bella to walk on the glass, held her hand and distracted her by pointing out various things in the tank. The found a giant mermaid statue that Bella seemed to like, she is a huge fan of mermaids and Leanne played on that.
The ocean tunnel was the final exhibit of the centre. We arrived at the end of the centre where you can view your photos. We looked at all the photos that had been taken and I chose the ones that I’ve previously inserted in the blog. I’ve become very sentimental since mum died and love to get copies of photos from our trips. I ordered a large photo and a keyring so I can have a memento of our trip on my keys or my bag and keep it with me.
There was a soft play area next to the exit but we weren’t going into play today. Bella was not happy about that. Once again Leanne to the rescue. We managed to make our way into the shop with out a major tantrum. As this is a special trip away Bella was allowed to choose a souvenir. Bella had free run of the shop. She spotted a vet set which had a sea animal in it. I thought she’d chose that as she loves playing doctor and a huge fan of pet carriers at the moment. But nope. She looked at a few small stretchy animals but I don’t like those, they are very easy to break.
She found one of those grabber toys. You know the type with a shark or crocidils head on a stick and the other end has a handle that opens the animals mouth. Bella had chosen one of them on our last day trip out with Leanne so I steered her away from them. We found, next to the tills, some light up glittery balls. Bella chose one that had a penguin inside.
She really liked the little soft toys as well. Normal I wouldn’t let her chose a soft toy but this is a special treat. She really like the penguin but in the end she settled on a red octopus.
The last job we had to do before we left was to get mummy a souvenir. I collect squashed pennies. My parents used to bring me back ones from their holidays when they couldn’t find me a snowglobe. I just think it’s a cute simple was to remember all these places. I have probably about 50 squashed pennies. We collected a penny from our change from Bella’s toys and then she chose me a penny design. I put the penny in the machine (and the pound that pays for the squishing) and then Bella helped me turn the handle to squash it.
Bella was very happy when the penny dropped out at the bottom. That’s another one to add to my collection.
We left the Sealife centre and headed back to the car. Bella splashed in the puddles on the way. Leanne tried to keep her out of them but that child just loves to splashing. She proudly walked holding her octopus but I had taken her ball off her. I had visions of her dropping it and it falling into the canel. I hate losing things. Even if it’s like an accidental loss of a toy being dropped by Bella. It send my anxiety through the roof. She wasn’t happy I’d taken the ball but she thought splashing in puddles was a better use of time.
I paid for our parking while Bella splashed under Leanne’s watch. Then it was time to head back up in the lift to the car.
I have to say a trip to Birmingham Sealife centre is well worth it. We had a brilliant time and it is one of the best Sealife centres I’ve been to.
Until the next blog
Love CiCi x