Culture

Review: Birmingham Sea Life Centre

sealife-turtleThe Sea Life Centre, one of the most welcoming and well thought out attractions in Birmingham for children, celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary this week.

We took a family along to celebrate the fun and action packed itinerary and were blown away by the warm and knowledgeable staff.

First stop was down below into the stunning penguin enclosure.

These cheeky critters are one of the noisiest in the centre, they emit a call, which sounds like a noisy trumpet! In fact, the noise they make is so loud it can reach over 80 decibels – the equivalent of a diesel train travelling at 45mph. Gentoo Penguins live primarily on krill (small crustaceans) in the wild, but staff tell us that these penguins mainly eat herring or sprat, both oily fish which keep them on top form.

Each year, penguins undergo what is known as a ‘catastrophic malt’ at the hottest time of the year when they lose all their feathers and grow new ones for the following year. This can be quite stressful for them, so our guide tells us this is why there is shallow water for them to cool off in.

We walked upwards then to the Bay of Rays next to Coral Cave. Here we had a chance to find out more about with talks and demos from the epic team of SEA LIFE experts. It was a fantastic atmosphere as we joined in with a school party and got to see their excitement as the rays swam towards them with their charismatic faces. Most Rays in Birmingham are between 5-7 years old. They are not dangerous and have no venomous barb on the tip of their tail. They cannot generate electricity, but they do have quite sharp ridges and spikes on their topmost sides.

Some of the Rays had wounds on their flesh which is sometimes caused due to their mating practice whereby the male uses his claspers (either side of this tail) to clasp on to the female.

Hiding in the tropical displays were Moray Eels conserving their energy. You do need patience but if you look carefully they are truly a fascinating, enchanting fish.

One of the highlights for any child has to be finding Nemo, or the Clown Fish as they are named. “Nemo’s Kingdom”. The walkthrough tunnels are a magical surprise for young children and for adults their tiny form is simply adorable.

An altogether different creature that will delight are the Sea Life Centre Jellyfish, who float mystically in their cylindrical tanks. Inside the water moves because Jellyfish aren’t meant to come into contact with hard objects. In the wild, they float about on the tides and currents so the tanks mimic this pattern. The beautiful alien-like Moon Jellyfish has a mild irritant sting, but it wouldn’t be fatal. Although some Jelly fish can kill.

For a fun packed day out with all the family, go online to find out more and buy tickets: www.visitsealife.com

 

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