We decided that due to having Merlin Annual Passes and being so near the Dorset Coast we should head to Weymouth and go to the Sealife Adventure Park and then to the beach for some Fish and Chips. It is one of 31 Merlin attractions in the UK and we have been meaning to get there and tick that box, for a while now. As a child I lived in a small town next to Scarborough (the destination of one of Merlin's other Sealife Centres) and I went to the Sealife Centre on a regular basis, so I was quite intrigued as to how this would measure up to all my memories.
Where is it?
The Sealife Adventure Park in Weymouth is situated on the seafront and is really easy to get to by car. As you'd expect from a holiday destination, the area is surrounded by parks and fun things to do for families, including the beach (obviously), Go Karting and family friendly cafe's and restaurants (not included in the ticket price).
Your ticket includes access to the Sealife Tower on the Weymouth Seafront which is about 30 minutes walk from the park but easily accessed by car (allow time for traffic and the one way system).
There's plenty of parking out the front of the park but it is Pay and Display system so don't forget to pay before you go in (*please note* if you have a Blue Badge you still need to Pay and Display in this area, as well as putting your badge out).
SEA LIFE centres are also located in Birmingham, Blackpool, Bray, Brighton, Great Yarmouth, London & Scarborough.
What is there to do?
The Sealife Centre is a fun filled, part indoor, part outdoor, attraction which is both educational and fun for all the family.
With over 1000 different species to look at, interact with and learn about you'll be mesmerised by species you didn't even know existed and learn more about everyone's favourites such as Penguins, Crocodiles, Sharks, Seals, Otters, Turtles and even the teeny tiny Clown Fish... aka Nemo.
You can journey beneath the ocean in the spectacular underwater tunnel too. Stroll through a 180 degree view of awe-inspiring sharks, colourful corals and majestic sea turtles.
In the summer months only:
There is a Slash Zone, so don't forget your swimsuits.
Adventure Island - a little area within the park with rides (rides included in the ticket price)
Crocodile Creek - a great ride for the adventurous types (rides included in ticket price)
Pirate Adventure Mini Golf - Mini Golf for all ages.
There are some amazing staff on hand to answer questions and teach you more about any of the species in the centre. They are all specialised in the job role and can tell you more facts than you could possibly take in in one day. From what the animals feed on to how many are left in the wild and how they reproduce, every tiny question you have they can tell you the answer, they're a bit like walking Wikipedia pages.
There are certain times of the day where you can watch the staff feed the animals whilst they talk you through what they're doing via loudspeaker. These can be really fun and informative for all ages and are a must see whilst you're in the centre. The most popular ones to watch are the Penguins and the Otters as they tend to put on a show for you whilst you're there. Get there early if you need seating though, as the areas are quite small and they tend to get vey busy at peak times.
They have a shop at the entrance/exit to the centre and there are lots of 'pocket money' priced things to buy, alongside the more expensive items that you'd expect at these places, making the shop more accessible for families... Don't forget that if you have Merlin Passes you get 20% off in the shop when you show it at the till.
Is there anywhere to eat there?
We went to the Adventurers Grill café in the entrance before we started our journey through the park, as it was lunch time and Kyd could smell the food and so we couldn't put it off any longer. The prices were very reasonable and the selection of food to pick from was very good for an attraction like this. There were healthy and not so healthy options, for people with small or large appetites, as well as a children's menu too. We had the special, not on the menu on the website, which came with a selected freshly made sandwich, chips and a drink of your choice (*note* Hot Drinks is refillable during your meal). I was overwhelmed by how much was on the plate when it arrived, such a good portion size for the price.
Kyd had an adult portion so he could just share it with Rocky and the lovely lady behind the till realised this and gave him a set of Sealife Centre Top Trumps (they usually come with the children's option) for being a good brother, this really did make his day, he loves Top Trumps and the attention of the staff was again fantastic and she really engaged him before we had even started. I can not fault the staff at this attraction.
There is a little eatery called Crabby's in Adventure Island too, this is snack food and refreshment based and can be accessed in the summer months only.
Also areas around the park for you to eat pre packed food... but please use the bins provided, there is nothing worse than litter in these places.
*Don't forget you get 20% off with your Merlin Passes in the restaurants on site too, just wave them at the till.
When is it open?
The Sealife Adventure Park is open all year round but please note that at some parts of the year some of the attractions are closed, for obvious reasons the rides are not open in the winter.
Opening Times -
From 15/02/14 - 02/11/14 the centre is open from 10am - 5pm
(During the winter months the park is open 11am - 4pm)
£18 on the door (adult or child)
£13 online (adult or child)
under 3's FREE
Rainy Day Guarantee - If there's an hour or more of rain you can revisit for free. Read details.
Every ticket bought from the website (and all Merlin passes) also include entrance to the Sealife Tower on the seafront (check opening times whilst at the centre and allow 30mins to walk/getting around the one way traffic) for up to 2 weeks after you buy them (which is great if you're in Weymouth for a holiday or live nearby).
*TIP* check for vouchers online before you go to cut the cost down, the website have a pre-booking discount, so it pays to be organised, plus you jump the queues.
They do offer season tickets too which make it much cheaper for regular visitors and there are lots of offers you can find online for discounts on the price of the passes too, just google 'season ticket discount for Sealife Centre Weymouth' for the most up to date offers.
Annual Merlin Passes are another option, depending on how often you plan on visiting any of the 31 attractions across the country this can save you £100's in the first few visits. There are also discounts on these passes too at certain times of the year so make sure you keep your eye out for the offers on www.merlinannualpass.co.uk
Disabled Access and Baby Facilities
Both the Adventure Park and Tower are fully accessible for disabled guests. They don't offer separate disabled tickets, but you are welcome to bring a helper/carer for free. You'll need to take documentary proof like a blue badge/DLA letter. If you use a wheelchair/mobility scooter please bear in mind that some areas of the Park are harder to navigate than others, but all areas are accessible.
They have toilets and baby changing areas throughout the Adventure Park just ask a member of staff for your nearest one. Both attractions are fully accessible for pushchairs, but you'll need to leave them outside of certain rides and attractions. Don't worry, this is clearly sign-posted and a limited number of spaces are available for this.
*Please Note* There are no toilets or changing facilities in the Sealife Tower
As a family we really enjoyed our day at Sealife Adventure Park in Weymouth, although I think to make the most of your ticket you should go in the summer months where everything is open and ready to go. The staff were probably amongst the best I have come across in any Merlin park so far and I really want to say a big well done to them, as I know sometimes this type of service can go unnoticed. Altogether, we learnt some new facts about some of our favourite species and had a really fun day as a family and that is exactly what we set out to do.
I was not paid or compensated for this review... I just liked the place and thought I'd write an honest review of it. Enjoy xxx