Monday, 24 February 2014

London Sealife Centre

TAKING the kids on a journey to dive the world’s oceans is a non starter for most families. Despite being beautiful, fascinating and being home to some of the most amazing creatures on earth, they are not places where you can easily take small children.
Which is where the London Aquarium comes into its own.
Based on the South Bank next to the London Eye in the former County Hall, it is home to one of Europe's largest collections of global marine life all housed in a very pushchair and wheelchair friendly environment.
Although not cheap, it’s packed with 2 million litres of water housing 500 species of interesting sea creatures from sharks to seahorses, rays to rockpools, turtles to crocs and frogs in 14 themed areas over three floors.
It is also full of interesting facts and figures courtesy of information panels and videos not to mention advice about how people can support its conservation work.
As well as all this in the last couple of years it has been expanding its operation to include a section on the rainforest with a fierce looking caimen crocodile, piranhas, red tailed catfish and the Poison Arrow Frog, and the Antarctica exhibition which features the beautiful Gentoo Penguins.
Its latest exhibit, Claws, is no less of a crowd pleaser and as its name suggests, features some stunning species of crustaceans.
Although it’s only a small part of the overall experience it is pretty impressive and the gigantic Japanese Spider crab is undoubtedly its star billing.
These incredible and quite beautiful looking crabs live at the bottom of the ocean and can grow to an amazing 12ft long. They move very slowly and have very long legs.
It also features the blue lobster, pink shrimps and some slightly smaller crab species which visitors can see in giant tanks and through a tunnel display so they can be seen from every angle.
In common with other areas of the Aquarium there are plenty of displays detailing pertinent information about those in the tanks plus a giant mechanical claw which shows the inner workings of a crab’s claw.
Elsewhere, interactive features give visitors the chance to feel the hardness of the crabs’ shells and the sharpness of the serrations on their claws.
It’s a fascinating exhibition and added to the rest of the Aquarium experience will keep kids of all ages enthralled for hours.

The Sea Life London Aquarium is open seven days a week. Tickets are £21.60 for adults, £15.90 for children. Family tickets and special behind-the-scenes packages also available. Visit for more information.

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