It already feels like a lifetime ago we boarded the plane to our new life in Qatar, but in reality it was three short weeks ago. Just three weeks ago we were busy making the most of the British summertime invading my mums house and enjoying day trips out and about around the Midlands. Which is how we came to spending one of our last days in the UK in Birmingham, in part to head to the post office to collect our international driving permits, in part to say goodbye to an old Dubai friend, but in the main to visit the Sea Life Centre to Find Dory….
Deciding to shun the car and head over on the train to delight two little boys, we watched the countryside speed by as we headed to Birmingham to see if we could find Dory.
Watching the countryside speed past in no time at all we hit Birmingham New Street Station (which is massive) and headed out up to the Post Office to obtain that all important International Driving Permit that would allow us to drive in Qatar. Once I had taken the worst photo in the history of passport photos we waved goodbye to the husband and carried on our walk to the National Sea Life Centre with Grandma. Even with a little detour the walk took us a little over 15 minutes taking us through Brindley Place in the bright sunshine.
Walking in, mid-summer holidays, I was a little apprehensive it would be too busy and even having our tickets already that we would be queuing with those who needed to buy on the door like we did last year but our fears were unfounded and we were off. Like a shot. To the penguins!
Like last year, the big one was amazed by the penguins. Unlike last year the Baby is on the move and away he went. Pressed up against the glass to watch the penguins dive and swim, waddling on the snow that he has never seen before!
When I was eventually able to prize them away we came to the wave exhibit, where you are able to sit under the glass with the waves crashing over your head.
After crawling through the tunnel numerous times we convinced the boys that it was time to do what we had come for and to find Dory. Off we set, sea explorers book in hand to collect various stamps around the Sea Life Centre.
I find that fish are an amazing sensory experience for younger children, the colours darting round, the fins, the ripple of the water. The Baby was utterly mesmerized at each tank (before remembering we had let him loose out of the pram and charging up ramps) watching the fish swim by.
Winding our way up the ramp, slowly due to the fact I had set the Baby free on his reins, we slowly discovered all that Birmingham Sea Life Centre had to offer us. And there was a lot, Birmingham Sea Life Centre has been designed with children and their experience in mind, it isn’t just tank after tank of fish, it is all about getting involved and interactive. Seeing, experiencing, doing. Marvelling and learning.
First up, at the top of the ramp, was the chance to reach into the rock pool and touch the starfish, which looked hard and knobbly but were in fact soft and squishy. Yes, I was the one that was brave to touch because the Big One wouldn’t yet still wanted to see me do it. I’m not quite there with trusting the Baby, fearless though he is he would have done it, and probably harmed the starfish in the process. Collecting the stamp from the lovely, informative, member of staff who was on hand to answer any questions that we had.
Speeding through into seahorse land we found Nemo in the under water tunnel perfect for little people to sneak through.
Tunnel after tunnel, fish swimming overhead. The lights dimmed and the room lit by the glow of the tanks, bright darts of fish swimming around. Fairy lights and magic in the air.
As we travelled through Birmingham Sea Life Centre there were dive stations where you could collect stamps as you continued along your journey through the centre.
Then of course there was all important business of discovering Dory’s friend, Hank the Octopus was hidden around the tanks each with a fun fact and riddle about Dory’s friends. The fish photobombed below, but here Hank is giving you some fun facts about Mr Ray, Nemo’s teacher.
Dory found, all dive stations stamped, medals collected, it was time for the finale. A visit to the 4d cinema to watch Octonauts and go with them on their mission to the Amazon to find the hidden city….
Water spraying out at us as the 3D glasses and movement of the seats took you along the river in the Octopod, meeting various sea creatures along the way. A perfect ending for an Octonaut obsessive to our time in the Birmingham Sea Life Centre.
The Finding Dory exhibition has been extended due to popular demand until the 30th September, what will you find?
A variety of ticket options are available starting from £12.95pp with annual passes and combo tickets also available.
Disclosure; we received free entry into the Birmingham Sea Life Centre for the purpose of review, all words, opinions and photos are my own.
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