We really enjoy aquariums having last visited the Dubai Aquarium and we were looking forward to visiting the London Aquarium during our trip to London. Sea Life London is home to one of Europe’s largest collections of global marine life.
My five year old in particular loves watching and learning about marine life and she was so excited to visit.
As you enter, you walk across a glass panel that reveals a shark tank below to get into the aquarium. This was great fun and the girls thought it was so cool to be walking above sharks. There was also music playing in the background to add to the experience.
Once inside you take a self-guided tour of the aquarium which is set over 3 floors, through 15 aquatic zones including Penguin Point, Shark Reef Encounter, Thames Walk and Seadragon Kingdom. The aquarium is a fun way to introduce your family to over 600 marine and fresh water species.
You then enter the Atlantic Depths section of the aquarium, meeting jellyfish, sand eels and octopuses.
We loved watching the rays in the shallow pool at Ray Lagoon. We spent a while here as my youngest daughter was fascinated as they flapped past as if they were waving.
Nemo’s Kingdom is great for children as most children are familiar with the film Finding Nemo. They can identify with the clown fish which are easy to spot with their bright orange striped markings.
The Cuban crocodile which can be found at Rainforests of The World was a popular part of the attraction for us. The girls were just fascinated watching him through the glass. There were also piranhas, poison dart frogs, red tailed catfish and many more large tropical fish in this section of the aquarium.
The girls enjoyed touching starfish in the Rockpool section which was a great sensory experience for them. Combining hands on learning with educational talks, the girls loved being up close to the fascinating marine life.
The information boards displayed throughout the aquarium advised why the marine life look the way they do and how their bodies are designed to help them hide, find food and defend themselves against predators.
The girls loved the idea of being under the sea looking into the large glass tanks at Ocean Tunnel and Pacific Wreck.
Shark Reef Encounter
We spent lots of time at the brilliant Shark Reef Encounter (which contains 16 sharks including two that are 2.8m long). The sharks swim so close to the glass it feels like you can touch them.
The view from the shark cage was especially good.
My children have a specific interest in Sharks, Penguins and crocodiles and were interested in the marine threats facing these animals. Moreover, although it was sad for the girls to hear that sharks are hunted for their fins, crocodiles to make clothing, bags and shoes, it was positive for them to hear what they see as a happy ending with the conservation projects the Sea Life Centre supports.
The views inside the 25 metre-long aquarium tunnel are amazing and from our level at the bottom of the tank you can see all the way up to the top viewing the giant sea turtles, sharks and fish. There is nothing better than getting the full panoramic experience whilst walking through the tunnel.
A new feature at the London aquarium this year is Penguin Point, an opportunity to see Gentoo penguins close up on the ice. There are regular talks and feeding times where you can find out more about the penguins’ habits and the breeding programme.
We loved learning that the aquarium closely matches the conditions found in the Southern Hemisphere where Gentoo penguins are found and from 5pm the penguins are actually in darkness to mimic what life would be like for them outwith the Aquarium. The penguins were playful and we enjoyed watching them jumping in and out of the water.
The tanks at the Sea Life London Aquarium are themed brilliantly and were at the children’s level so they could look into the tanks without any help. As we visited on a weekend it was pretty crowded at certain points in the aquarium but it didn’t affect our experience.
Sea Life London is a great way to introduce your children to the creatures of the sea. It inspired my children to learn more about sharks and marine life. It was a valuable educational experience and I would recommend as a great family attraction to visit whilst in London.
SEA LIFE London Aquarium is centrally located on the Southbank right next to the Coca-Cola London Eye and is really easy to get to by tube (Waterloo or Westminster)
Find out more about SEA LIFE London Aquarium here –https://www2.visitsealife.com/london
We were guests of Sea Life London Aquarium but all opinions are our own