Despite the fact that I spent pretty much all my childhood in Derby, which is a hop skip and a jump from Birmingham, couple with the fact that my brother and fiancee LIVED in Birmingham (until last weekend when they got the keys to their very own house congratulations guys!) I have never been to the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham, so when they got in touch and asked if we wanted to come over to see their LEGO exhibit we jumped at the chance.
Deciding to drive so the boys would nap for at least some of the day (before the Toddler decided napping was for losers) it was easy to find and only one hairy moment in the middle of Birmingham when mum panicked, I could hear mutterings of “we should of taken the train” to which the Toddler immediately started up with
choo choo train where? Choo choo, choo choo
Until we pulled into the car park right next door to the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham.
Arriving at the door clutching our tickets, we were disappointed that we had to queue up with everyone waiting to pay and that there isn’t a way for anyone who holds tickets to skip the queues. We asked and were told that when they are busier they do open a separate queue but that wasn’t the case today.
Still. The Toddler waited patiently in the pram and the Baby slept. Then we were through and the Toddler shot straight out of the pram, missing the interactive ice wall as he raced to the penguins!
We loved those penguins! Eventually managing to prize him away we set off on the LEGO tour, where we found some amazing LEGO creations around the aquarium but more on that in a second.
Unlike any aquarium I have ever been to you spiralled up a ramp with fish staring at you from every corner. Flashes of colourful fins and the eerie blue glow of the water and lights with the sound of trickling, flowing water in the displays placed all around so thou really did forget you were looking into a fish tank in the middle of Birmingham.
We made it up to the rock pool where one of us was brave enough to touch a starfish – clue it wasn’t me – and earn our first explorer badge. Before darting off to see more.
Maneuvering our giant tank of a pramwas fine and whole place is a dream for pram and wheelchair access with ramps taking the place of stairs and wide aisles allowing people to squeeze past you, after all who wants to get stuck behind a woman with a massive pram, a baby and a toddlee walking at a snail’s pace??
Wandering through the enchanting, cleverly presented rooms, made for compelling viewing of both the fish and the Toddler as we spied Nemo and Dory, pondered over why an eel looked like a snake, made ourselves puffy like jellyfish before coming face to face with the sharks.
Interactive education stations on the way made for interesting topics of conversation for older children but were beyond the toddlers comprehension other than he got to bang the lift the flaps. Loudly. Apologies to anyone who was there that day!
Coming to the end we expected to find a cafe or picnic area to eat our careful prepared (pork filled, did I mention I went on a pork binge while being home?) picnic but simply arrived at the gift shop. Turning round worried in case we missed something we asked a lovely gentleman who said we were welcome to sit and eat on any of the benches throughout the aquarium, as the toddler was hungry and so was the baby we perched next to the sharks to munch on our ham butties (and milk in the case of the baby) and wotsits though it was amazing to see the giant sea turtle float past it wasn’t the most comfortable picnic I’ve ever had.
Following that we decided to bid farewell to the sharks, headed to the exit where we, much like at Thomas Land, managed to navigate the gift shop without buying anything and snuck over the road for a coffee after the baby had kept us up all night.
Disclaimer; we received free entry for the purpose of this review. All words and thoughts are my own. As are my blurry pictures