Earlier this week, we visited Scarborough Sea Life centre for a family day out. I have been to the Sea Life centre when I was younger, but not for a long time. I could barely remember anything about it. We were excited to take Leo to discover the underwater world!
Parking at Scarborough Sea Life Centre
Firstly, parking at Scarborough Sealife Centre is a nightmare! It’s clear that it’s used by people other than Sea Life guests. You have to pay to park, we decided to pay £7 for 6 hours.
The parking bays were very small and there’s no parent and child parking, so I had to get out with Leo first, or we would have struggled to get out of the car. The pay machine was very temperamental and we had to queue at it for our ticket. There wasn’t any option to use a parking app like Ringo, which would have made it much easier.
This made us late for our 10-minute slot. Luckily, this wasn’t a problem and we were able to go in without the time even being mentioned.
Covid19 at Sea Life Centre
It was very busy and as the coronavirus laws around masks and restrictions have ended, it felt like covid didn’t even exist. 90% of people (adults) did not wear masks and it was so busy. So if you are conscious of contracting covid-19, I wouldn’t advise visiting the Sea Life Centre at the moment as it is difficult to stay away from others when everyone is so excited to get up close to see the animals.
Bay of Rays
Your start your Sea Life tour by having some photos taken by a green screen. Then off you go to roam the free. You start at the Bay of Rays where you can meet lots of the stingrays. I love stingrays! They’re such lovely creatures! You can spot the beautiful blue-spotted stingray here.
Great Barrier Reef
Next, you will encounter the great barrier reef which has lots of beautiful and bright fish. The Clownfish is often a favourite thanks to Finding Nemo!
Did you know that all Clownfish are born boys? Then some will eventually turn into females when they are older!
I loved the jellyfish in this section. Especially the upside-down jellyfish!
We saw the penguins at feeding times and the keeper was telling us all about them and about their different personalities. The penguin closest to the camera in the photo below is called Custard. The keeper said that he is the sweetest penguin unless his missus is around!
Sadly we didn’t get to see the otters as they were hiding!
Beach Bites Adventure Playground
We stopped for some food here. We bought our own lunch as there were picnic tables dotted about.
There was also some climbing frames and slides for children. There was no food being served at the huts, they were all closed. It would have been nice to have grabbed a coffee or something!
We walked straight through this part as it was for children and Leo was too small. But in here your child can follow the journey of an injured seal being rescued, rehabilitated and then realised back into the world.
This is the home to the four seals Mando, Pendle, Boo and Ed. Three of them were sunbathing and one was swimming around. I was surprised at how close you could get to them. You would have been able to reach in and touch them if you wanted to!
Did you know that Seals can hold their breath underwater for up to 30 minutes?
There are many sharks in the shark encounter, but the most impressive has to be the Zebra Horn shark that has the most amazing stripes!
The Ocean Tunnel holds 156,000 litres of natural seawater and is home to lots of colourful species of fish as well as our Black-tip sharks.
Kingdom of Seahorses
Seahorses are amazing creatures. Did you know their eyes move independently to help them spot food? They can also use their tails to grab things.
There was also a rockpool with Starfish and other creatures such, as crabs in. One of the Sea Life keepers were there teaching children all about them and letting them touch the Starfish.
Leo was a little small for that but it would be fun for older children!
Check out the Green Tree Pythons and the Poison Arrow Dart Frogs! There was also some amazing bug structures where you could see ants carrying food from one section to the next!
Breed, Rescue, Protect.
In this section, you can learn all about what SEA LIFE and the SEA LIFE Trust are doing to help threatened marine life. You can help by signing petitions or picking up the free sustainable seafood guide.
The Sea Life Centre is an old building and although they do cater for wheelchair access, it is not a completely seamless journey for those in a wheelchair.
The indoor sections are quite small and it would be difficult to get around in a chair when busy. There are some sections with steps, but there’s alternative access for wheelchairs. You would not be able to go through the Ocean Tunnel in a chair as it requires going down some steps, then back up them.
There is a lift in the gift shop which goes to the upstairs cafe and restaurant. This is how you access Rainforest Adventure and Rescue section. Space is very tight getting in and out of the lift due to the small gift shop and the tables opposite the life door.
They offer each person who requires support for their visit a free ticket for their career and are working with AccessAble to help make the journey easy for all customers. There is also a disabled toilet.
We spent about two hours at Scarborough Sea Life centre, including having lunch. We then went for a walk along the beach to get fish and chips before heading home to York.