When the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham invited us along to check out their Finding Dory event running throughout the summer holidays, we jumped at the chance to go. We’ve not visited for a while, and the children were really excited to be going. Yes, that’s my Little Man’s excited face there…
The Finding Dory event includes the children receiving two booklets to complete. If you give my daughter a stamping book she’s deliriously happy, so I knew from the outset that this was going to be a successful trip! The first book is a passport that requires a sticker and then stamps. The locations of each Dive Station are detailed within the books, and there are activities complete at each point. They really loved sniffing otters!
The second book needs you to collect letters that you spot around the centre, such as the one below, and then to rearrange them to spell a word. It was fun to try and find them in amongst the sea life, and a nice way to bring Finding Dory into the experience.
Along the way, with both the stamping stations and amongst the tanks, there are plenty of interactive tools, information and questions to puzzle over. Boo spent quite some time in the jellyfish area ensuring that she could accurately identify every jellyfish there. Jellyfish are fascinating to watch and I had no idea there were so many different species.
My son, aged 3, was interested in his booklets, but he pretty much let his dad complete them for him whilst he ran around having a brilliant time! He was mesmerised by the penguins and loved watching them swim and dive down. I love penguins, so it was lovely to see him so taken with them. It’s great to be able to see them above and then below surface.
He was then all about the tunnels, domes and anything else he could climb, touch or run through!
He was in there for quite a while, pulling faces at me. It was lovely, though he did miss the fascinating starfish that he was supposed to be viewing in there!
Overall, I was impressed. It might be because my kids are older than when we last went, but I felt that they both got more out of the visit than they have before. The Finding Dory event really engaged my daughter as she loves completing trails like this. My son adored peeping into every single tank and then running through any tunnel that he could find. At the end of the visit, providing you’ve completed your books, there are also little gifts for the kids which I thought was a nice touch. It does get busy in there, but we went on a weekday morning, around 10.30 and found we could get to see everything without being too crowded.
If you’ve not visited the Birmingham centre before, it is in a really lovely spot. We parked over at the Mailbox and took a canal-side walk to the event (an absolutely brilliant stroll for PokemonGo, FYI!) which the children enjoyed. On our return, the Mailbox is a short walk to Grand Central station, you just follow the coloured lines on the floor to it, which the kids had a lot of fun with. There are plenty of places to eat there, as well as some tempting shopping.
All in all, a great day out!
Disclosure: We received entrance FOC for the purposes of this post, though all words and opinions remain my own