In the past year we have visited over twenty fun family destinations in Ireland as part of our Adventure of Eire series. Next stop was The National SEA LIFE Centre on the seafront in Bray. It’s an aquatic Zoo with numerous rocky displays, home to thousands of creatures including: Black Tip Reef Sharks, Starfish, Octopus, Seahorses, Stingrays and Red-Bellied Piranha.
Greeted by the chirpiest of staff we were through the big blue doors within minutes of arrival. We didn’t have to print off our online tickets, we just had to show the cashier our confirmation email and booking card, dead handy.
Set up in a dimly lit cave-like passageway the kids were given a trail quiz type thing along with stickers to complete it. Throughout the journey through the narrow walkway they have to find particular items, it kept the eldest excited and engaged looking for everything she need to fill out her map.
There’s a really cool interactive rock pool that both kids really enjoyed, adults too mind you. I can’t remember the guys name but it was obvious he was passionate about the creatures in his care. The enthusiasm from him was incredible and he was great with all the kids. It was very educational focusing mainly on Irish sea creatures. The kids got to touch a starfish and a crab which in my opinion was the highlight of the visit for them. Kayla walked away with a bundle of information on starfish and crabs, and still to this day talks about her experience.
There are lots of weird and wonderful creatures throughout the aquarium from deadly pufferfish, nemo’s, moon jelly fish and sharks just to name a few. There’s also a huge tank full of sting rays, they swim right up to the window and one little bugger kept splashing us.
On the hour every hour there are feeds and talks. We managed to catch the end of one and the kids got to feed some fish. There was a buggy jam and I was stuck around a little corner with Kadie who was out cold so I can’t really comment on their experience at this one.
There’s also a little section towards the very end where kids get to dig for fossils, the boy loved getting all mucky and Kayla was rewarded a shark tooth for finding them. At the end of the tour, there is a ‘play area’, the smallest of ball pits with a colouring section and coin operated machines, the smaller kids will appreciate it.
The passageway in the Aquarium was quite narrow for our double buggy, if I had of known I would have brought the sling for convenience. Also at the end of your journey there is a set of stairs so we walked back through the aquarium and back through the entrance.
Overall the kids enjoyed it, however at the end Kayla did say ‘is that all, is it really over already?’. Cost wise I think it’s expensive our time in the venue lasted no more than an hour costing us nearly thirty quid (and we didn’t have to pay for Frankie). However it was extremely educational for big and small and the staff are really helpful and clearly love their job.
If your planning a visit I’d recommend booking online (you’ll receive €2.50 off per person), and off-peak tickets too. Make sure you research feeding and talk times to get more value for your money. I should add there is no time limit on your visit and you can get your receipt stamped to return on the same day, something we didn’t do.
For more information check out the Sea Life Bray.