Review: SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth

(AD Gifted) If you are heading to Great Yarmouth on a cold day out of the peak Summer Season you just might need to find somewhere to warm up for a little while and the sea life centre is a great option. In a building next to the seafront on Marine Parade and open all year round (except Christmas week) SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth is one of the popular attractions from Merlin Entertainment where you can see 1000s of fishes and sea creatures.

3 children watching a tank of small jelly fish at the sea life centre in great yarmouth

What is There To See and Do at SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth?

SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth isn’t huge and if your children like to rush from one tank to the next you could be in and out very quickly, but for families like ours that can happily gaze at fish and penguins for ages it is an enjoyable way to pass time. Easily my favourite part of my visits is watching Noah the majestic, 11 year old, Green Sea Turtle swimming around. Green Sea Turtles amaze me with their size and grace.  It’s a handy thing that there are seats next to the ocean tank where you can just sit and watch. If you want to feel like you are in the ocean yourself then you can walk the Ocean tunnel so you are surrounded by the 250,000 litres of seawater. Luckily the glass is pretty thick and having been through similar since I was a child I no longer worry I’m about to get wet.

A large sea water tank at the sea life centre with a large green sea turtle
Noah the 11 year old Green Sea Turtle and friends

two children watching fish in an under water tunnel
Looking at the sea creatures in the Ocean Tunnel

SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth has lots of tanks in a series of rooms with a variety of sea creatures you can learn about. The tanks are all different shapes and sizes which makes it interesting for little ones. Sometimes they will be looking up, sometimes down and other times at eye level. Popular animals to spot for children (largely thanks to Disney) are always: the penguins, Nemos (clownfish) and Doreys (Blue Tang). There are beautiful jelly fish and prehistoric looking African Dwarf Crocodiles to spot as well as lot and lots of types of fish.

There is normally some sort of activity sheet for children to do on the way round and our visit this time included ticking animals off a checklist as they were spotted. There are also activity points as you go round where you can learn about the creatures in the tanks. 

At the end of the visit, before you reach the shop, there is a new Rock Pool Explorer Experience where after washing  your hands you can touch or hold a couple of creatures. On our visit there were sea anemones and starfish in the rock pools here and my children learnt lots from this hands on exhibit. 

3 children looking at an activity in the penguin area of the SEA LIFE centre
Learning about Antarctic sounds with hands on activities

A child looking at a worksheet in SEA LIFE aquarium Great Yarmouth
There are activity sheets to keep children engaged on the way round SEA LIFE

3 humboldt penguins
Humboldt penguins

children looking in a tank of fish at SEA LIFE great yarmouth
Plenty of fish to see and learn about 

Useful Information For Visiting SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth

They are currently asking all visitors to wear face masks if possible. Most of the aquarium is a one way system and time slots mean visitor numbers are reduced. 

Inside the SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth building, but outside of the paid entry area there is a large shop full of every fish, mermaid and sea creature items you could think of including soft toys, magnets and cups. This is a great place to buy gifts for aquatic creature lovers.

Urchins cafe serves hot and cold drinks and food and there is a reasonable amount of seating. There is also a free soft play which at time of visiting was still closed. Hopefully it will open again sometime in 2022 as my children love it in there. Around the back of the soft play there are toilets and changing facilities.

view in to the SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth shop
The SEA LIFE centre Great Yarmouth shop is full of sea creature related gifts

view into the soft play area at Great Yarmouth Sea life centre which is currently closed
The soft play remains closed currently

Buying Tickets for SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth

In busy periods it is recommended you book in advance to guarantee entry at the time you want, but you should be able to book a slot on the day at less busy times. They are currently asking all visitors to buy tickets and book timed slots online and by booking in advance you can save up to 20%. You will need to book a time slot even if you are an annual pass or Merlin pass holder. You can also currently buy a combined ticket to go on the Giant Wheel which is located just outside the aquarium offering great views of the sea and Great Yarmouth.

Check the website for the latest information about booking tickets.

Address of SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth:

Marine Parade
Great Yarmouth
NR30 3AH

Car Parking

The nearest car park is Jetty South Car Park, but this is quite small and can be expensive. There is some free street parking and plenty of car parks around Great Yarmouth though.

    SEA LIFE is a great place to visit with families, especially on cold days

SEA LIFE Conservation 

SEA LIFE centres aren’t the cheapest places to visit, but I think the work they do in relation to conservation is hugely important. Children need to understand the importance of our oceans and looking after sea life rather than just seeing the sea as somewhere to paddle. I want them to know that dropping a plastic bag on the beach and seeing it blow off into the sea could choke a sea turtle (because it looks like their favourite food, jelly fish). I want them to know that pollution, and changes to sea water can kill coral reefs, home of clown fish and countless other animals. They have a charity, the SEA LIFE Trust which are supported by the centres and provide practical care through their sanctuaries, fund conservation projects and deliver campaigns.

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