I’ve been promising my three-year-old a trip to the Sea Life London Aquarium for ages, but then I never seemed to find the right time to go. A few things were putting me off:
- The cost.
- The thought of the crowds.
- Working out the logistics of taking the baby along too, when for longer than I care to remember sleep has been strictly limited to a maximum of two and a half hour blocks, leading to that feeling. You know the one – fuzzy, confused, where you can just about cope if you’re doing things you’ve done before, but there’s a danger you might burst into tears if you face any additional, unexpected challenge.
Enough of that. Last night, I booked some tickets for us to visit this morning, while the baby was otherwise occupied. And here are some things that it might be useful for you to know if you’re thinking of visiting yourself.
First, it’s worth saying I’d been pretty sure that my little girl would love it, and she absolutely did, so that was lovely. This blog often touches upon the many demands that toddlers make, but I hope we also find plenty of space to talk about what great companions they make, including today. Because they can really be brilliant people to go places with, and I was reminded of that when we stepped into the Sea Life London Aquarium.
Once you’ve shown your ticket, you walk down a dark corridor that has a glass section of floor and, when you look down, you see sharks swimming below you. As a jaded adult, you probably wouldn’t think twice about striding over it barely pausing to glance downwards. But a toddler is different. I saw mine stop dead in her tracks when she saw the sharks and it was like the glass wasn’t there. I think she thought we were about to get our feet wet…
She wasn’t scared, but surprised, and it was clear this was much more of an adventure for her, because she wasn’t nearly as sure as I was that we were a safe distance from all the creatures we were seeing.
Not having been to the Sea Life London Aquarium for a long, long time, I didn’t make any promises as to what we’d see (except sharks), and that meant we had lots of surprises.
Huge sea turtles. Rays. A massive tank of Nemos. Beautiful seahorses (So sweet, Mummy). Oh and there’s Hank. Plus a gigantic crocodile. And then…
The way the tank is designed means you can see them waddle along, then watch them transformed as they sweep through the water elegantly, then jump up back onto the side.
Our visit probably took about an hour and a half, and it flew by. We could have stayed longer, but a toddler’s attention span is short, and I prefer to quit while spirits are high. We went first thing in the morning, outside of school holidays, and there were no queues or crowds. It was well worth the early start.
Afterwards, we popped to the little park by the London Eye – Jubilee Gardens is a good spot for a snack or a picnic, plus a play before heading home. As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re only starting out on visiting the sights of London, so we also managed a look a Big Ben and the London Eye (I wanted it to go faster, Mummy).
I’m now looking forward to more adventures in good company.
What? Sea Life London Aquarium.
Where? County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB. It’s easily accessible from Waterloo or Westminster tube (More information here).
When? Opening times here – on weekends you can visit from 9.30am
How much? Details of the prices are here, but under threes are free, and it’s worth buying tickets online in advance as they’re cheaper (by which I mean less expensive)
Facilities and access There are lifts at both Westminster and Waterloo. I didn’t have a buggy with me (hurrah!) but there seemed to be lifts at the aquarium.