Almost a year ago, we begun a whirlwind of first birthday parties with our NCT friends and decided amongst us that a trip to Sea Life Centre would be a lovely way to celebrate. It’s a great idea to get everyone together but not feel nervous about having to restrain the kids in a little cafe, or worse someone’s house! So off to the aquarium we went, with no idea that a year later we would be celebrating in the same way – Sea Life Centre is now our birthday tradition.
After our visit last year, I wrote a little review on how Emma loved being around water and watching the fishies swim back and forth. But as she wasn’t yet walking confidently, I had to hold her up by the fishtank and it was generally quite a tiring visit! So this time it was a different story altogether – she could roam around as she wanted and loved sitting on a little window ledge watching the water. I took a few pictures from behind and couldn’t help wondering what she was thinking, as she looked so thoughtful.
For small toddlers, Sea Life Centre is a dream. As you walk in, there is a huge atrium with lots of space to move around without bumping into each other. There are so many different types of fish too that the kids were so intrigued. The Mummies tried to keep chatting as we walked in but inevitably the toddlers had a mind of their own with what they wanted to see, and we had no choice but to split up! At one point I decided to coax Emma into rejoining the group who were sitting on a raised seating area, looking into where the tortoises are but she objected, shouting “doe doe” (also known as NO!). So we returned to a crescent shaped set of steps that she was particularly fixated on.
The best part of the aquarium is something I completely missed last time we visited – the glass bottom boat. You’ll find it right at the back of the aquarium, which is maybe why we didn’t see it but it is incredible. You can see the sharks, turtles and tropical fish through the boat – such good fun. Because of this extra, I really felt that it was great value for money and we could easily spend the whole morning there.
So what was different one year on? Last year was a little back-breaking but this year we came up against the tantrum hurdle. Inevitably tiredness hits and is coupled with frustration that giving into sleep would ruin all the fun. This didn’t seem to happen so much when Emma was one year’s old and almost every time we go out it comes up now. But that’s all part of the fun hey! On the positive side, I did feel that this year she really took it all in a little more than last year – she was watching all the fish and was intrigued at what a tortoise is and why he moves so slow.
It was such a lovely morning with our NCT pals and it reminded me of how far we’ve come. I’ve known these girls since Emma was -2 months old and they have been a lifeline to feeling sane in those early months to feeling less like the world’s worst cook when Emma just won’t eat her dinner (so every day then haha). What started as a lifeline for the mums is now a friendship group for our little toddlers too, who see each other at nursery every week. Let’s see if next year we’ll return to celebrate their birthdays at Sea Life Centre again!
Admission to Sea Life Brighton costs £10.50 for a parent and toddler ticket if bought online, and £18.50 on the door. Children under 5 are free of charge.