Octopus Hideout is a brand new underwater attraction that will mesmerise visitors at Birmingham’s National Sea Life Centre. It features Beverley the giant pacific octopus named after local singing sensation, Beverley Knight! She is a true master of disguise who can blend into her surroundings with her camouflage skills and squeeze into spaces as small as the head of the needle. In fact, she did hide so well that we couldn’t see her and her friends! Did you know that octopus have three hearts and blue blood? There are a lot of interesting facts that we learnt by visiting on this occasion.
This was not our first time visiting the Sea Life centre and each time, they always amaze us with their exhibitions of over 2000 creatures including sharks, penguins and their giant green sea turtle Mo, who lives in the 360 degree ocean tunnel! It’s a great place to learn and get close with them.
It was three years ago when the Penguin Ice Adventure opened its doors. These cheeky penguins continue to keep my children amazed with the way they swim and jump back up onto the ledge from the water. These fantastic multiple-view platforms offers a real insight into the lives and quirky habits of these cheeky birds; whether it’s hearing the unmistakable trumpeting call as the colony communicates to one another, watching them dive in the icy water up to 450 times a day or seeing them playfully move rocks around their home. There are also designated areas within the attraction for guests wanting to do their best imitations of the waddling birds.
These are followed by getting close with starfishes and many other sea creatures. If you are brave enough, you can even touch them the starfish. At the beginning of our journey, each child received an activity booklet to collect nine stamps. This kept them keen and excited to continue our route through the centre.
Later, we all joined Captain Barnacles and crew in the 4D animated Octonauts show. The film is about 15 minutes long where everyone dons the 3D glasses. The cinema room is a good size with a lot of seating which are big and comfortable. The show is ideal for young children but some children might find it difficult to watch especially with all the effects like wind, bubbles, water splashes and having the seats vibrate. We all enjoyed the whole experience. I do find it quite difficult to make our way out of the cinema as many families crowd in the narrow corridor just outside the exit.
Then we made our way down to the last station where we managed to catch a last peek of the penguins and other sea creatures. You can either take a lift or walk down by stairs. If you are not with younger children or using wheelchair, it is best to take the four flights of stairs to the bottom level. Just before you enter their shop, there is a small soft play area for young children.
We all enjoyed our day out and would definitely go back again. Both of my children had fun looking at the different creatures. They managed to go around all the stations to complete their mission and get 9 stamps. After we completed it, they went to the shop to get their reward – a medal! For further information or to pre-book tickets online before your visit, please go to www.SEALIFE.co.uk/birmingham. Reduced prices are available for tickets booked in advance.
There is no restaurant/cafe facilities at the Sea Life Centre which means that you have to find somewhere to eat elsewhere. Luckily, it is well situated in Brindley Place and close to many family friendly places like Handmade Burger Co and Pizza Express. If you want to re-enter again, they will stamp your hand to allow you back in, until closing time.
Disclosure: We received family tickets to visit Sea Life Centre for the purposes of writing this review, however all thoughts and opinions remain our own.