Welcome to our new feature - Great Days Out and it with huge pleasure that I open it with Hunstanton Sea Life Centre and a competition to boot. Many moons ago (15 years to be precise) I worked at Hunstanton Sea Life Centre whilst in the Upper 6th as an Aquarist (one of the staff that looks after the tanks, feed the fish, create displays in the centre as well as look after the seal rescue side of things) so to return now with J and T was brilliant especially as it was spring-board to a career that I loved working with marine animal.
Where is Hunstanton Sea Life Centre
Hunstanton is one of the many sea-side towns in East Anglia found on the Wash in North Norfolk, it is one of the few places on the East Coast that faces West. The Sea Life Sanctuary is on the Southern Promenade - there is a pay and display car park behind the centre and you can then walk through the fun fair to the sanctuary getting a glimpse of the beach and sea as you go.
What is there to do at Hunstanton Sea Life Centre
The Sanctuary is fulled to the brim of all sorts of wild and wonderful creatures. High lights for us were the amazing seals (including Sally who was one of the seals that I looked after when I worked there and is still going strong) and pups in the seal hospital and pool, the penguins and otters which all reside in the outside area of the Sanctuary. Inside there are too many fish to mention but of course there is a Nemo to find, the jelly fish are beautiful illuminated so that they almost seem to glow. There are sea horses, sharks with a bonnet head which a close relative of the hammer-head sharks, rays and even 3 crocodiles. Outside there is a pirate ship with seating around it and sited in a huge sand pit picnics can be taken here and it gives the children a chance to climb and explore the ship. There is also a shop and a very reasonably priced pirate themed cafe which had an excellent scone and coffee as well as amazingly helpful staff.
For some hands on fun there is a rock pool display (which I helped build when I worked there - feeling very proud of that as it's still standing and hasn't leaked once) where there is a great talk and you can have a hands on session with the crabs and other common rock pool animals. There is a LARGE tank where you can feed the fish which is great fun as the tank isn't the only thing that is large the fish in it are HUGE.
There are 2 activities for children to complete when they go around the centre - there are boards up on the wall and you are given a scratch card at the start and complete the questions scratching off the seal to reveal whether you are right or wrong (the questions are split into 2 categories for 3 - 6 year olds and for older children). The 2nd activity is a sticker activity, you are given a question card at the start and need to explore the displays to find the answers then when you know an answer you find a member of staff, tell them the answer and receive a sticker. Once you have collected all 4 stickers from the staff (there was at least 4 members of staff that we saw on a quiet day at the centre) you can return to the reception and get your medal.
Highlight of our visit to Hunstanton Sea Life Centre
For J the highlight had to be coming face to face with a Crocodile (and I mean face to face - luckily through a sheet of glass) although he loved the shark tunnel and the pirate ship. My highlight was the talks - coming from a marine biology background the talks that I listened to were really good, they captured the imagination of the children and informed them about the biology, conservation and life of the animals in the centre.
The Competition - NOW CLOSED
So what is the prize - we have a family ticket (that is 2 adults and 2 children - under 3's are free) for any Sea Life Centre in the UK to give away. Yes a family ticket to visit one of these amazing attractions a list of the sanctuary's and centre's can be found at theSea Life website.
To enter this amazing competition you need to:
- Leave a comment below
- For an extra entry like our facebook page and leave a comment below to say that you have liked
- Tweet I want to visit the sea life with @rainydaymum for an extra entry and leave a comment below
Competition will close at 9pm on Friday 7th October with the winner notified by email and announced on the blog, facebook page and twitter.
If you are inspired by this then please share with us your rainy day crafts with a sea theme you can upload them to the facebook page or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to seeing your creations and giving away the family ticket for the sea life centre.
The competition was won by Kelly (see comment below for her entry)