All 3 of the boys love fish, and can spend ages just sitting there totally entranced with them. So, when we went to Scarborough on a recent camping holiday visiting the Sea Life Centre was a total must! Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary is on the promenade of North Bay beach in Scarborough. It was really easy to navigate too, in fact, it was less than 5 minutes from our camping site. The Sea Life Sanctuary opens at 10 am and we arrived at 11. The queue was crazy! We totally did not expect to have to wait to queue outside!
Scarborough Sea Life Sanctuary
Although it can get really busy, and we didn’t see these queues die down until afternoon, you are not waiting any more than 20 minutes to be seen. It sounds like a long time but once inside there are information boards etc to look at that will help pass the time. The staff at the welcome desk were really friendly, despite being a tad rushed. They happily gave us all the information we needed to have a great family day out. Such as octanaught visits and feeding times as well as handy guide to keep.
You are also given a Dive log book which is a great way to keep the children entertained as you look around. There are dive stations located throughout the zones which you use to stamp your log book. Be aware a couple are a little awkward so make sure you press down. There are 9 stamps to collect and at the end, you are awarded a badge!
The Nitty Gritty
Okay, so parking isn’t free. It is about £7 I *think* for all day parking. Not only is there Scarborough Sealife Sanctuary but also Pirate Adventure Mini Golf and North Bay Beach too. We took our own lunch with us to save money. You can leave and enter as many times as you like but don’t be a fool like us and queue back up. We found out after waiting another 15 minutes that we could have just gone through the exit to re-enter. There are no signs saying this though. If you book online https://www.visitsealife.com/scarborough/tickets/it is cheaper and you can the mini golf for £2 each (normally £4.50 each). We couldn’t find the prices to the photo pass but you can prepay for all for £15. I kind of wish we did this as it looks to be a pretty awesome souvenir.
One thing you notice when you go through the entrance into the actual sanctuary is the photo booth they have set up. I think they tend to want everybody to have their photos taken. You are asked to do 3 different poses which at the time probably makes you look quite funny but the photos produced are actually quite sweet. We didn’t want to purchase any as there were no costs displayed, and as we had a bit of a tight budget I didn’t want the awkwardness of turning them down. The photo display and pay area are on the upper floor at the end of the tour.
Once you pass the photos you are then at the beginning of the tour. Scarborough Sealife Sanctuary has each section leading into another and it can be quite difficult to navigate in some areas. IF you have a wheelchair/pushchair then I did see plenty of little entrances/exits which you can use so you skip the stairs.
Each section is split into creature zones and both indoor and outdoor. We were quite familiar with the sort of setup that Scarborough Sealife Sanctuary had as it was familiar to the one we have closer to home; Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary. So, we passed some of the busier bits to return later. Our favourite zone were these;
We were really excited to get to the Penguins! Especially as Scarborough has a Penguin walkthrough which we were really eager to try.
It just so happens that the day we visited the walkthrough was closed. A baby penguin was a little poorly so to keep it calm they shut it off. Something I thought was lovely, the care they have for their animals was lovely to see. We arrived at Penguin Island just in time for lunch! The lady looking after the penguins knew each of the penguins and was happily sharing their personalities with us.
The other zone we were really excited to see was the Octopus Hideout! Since watching Finding Dory the boys have a fascination with Hank. It was great to be able to get so close to such amazing creatures! As you walk around the zone there is lots of information too!
Another zone we were really excited to see was the turtles. Those that know Oliver know that he is a little obsessed with his turtles. We looked everywhere for the zone and couldn’t find it. It wasn’t until we went upstairs to photograph the restaurant did we notice that there it was. There wasn’t any signage showing where it was, and if there was we certainly didn’t see it. Anyways we were glad we saw it and Oliver was in his element! They have a specific feeding time too which is 12.30pm which we sadly missed.
The turtle exhibit was lovely and a lot larger than I expected. In the centre is a massive tank of water (the same tank that is above the walkthrough) and in there is a turtle that is really big! The boys were really excited to see him swim around.
Another zone the boys loved was the hands-on experience with the rock pools. They loved getting their hands wet and touching some of the bits. The lady who was there was more than happy to talk about the different creatures and you could tell she knew her stuff. The rock pool was split into 3 different sections, all next to each other.
Scarborough Sealife Sanctuary is the only Seal Hospital in Yorkshire. It is a great way to see what goes on when rescuing, rehabilitate and releasing Seals back into local coastal waters. When we visited each room housed an injured seal. It was slightly depressing reading their stories and seeing them lay there. It is great knowing that they are being looked after and treated but still also depressing the same.
There is literally so much to see and do this post would go and on. Here are a few photos from various other parts of Scarborough Sealife Sanctuary
Pirate Adventure Mini Golf
For an extra £2 on pre-booked admission tickets for the sealife sanctuary, you can add on a game of mini golf. Pirate Adventure Mini Golf is a 12 hole mini golf course which uses a mix of skill and obstacles to overcome.
The boys love mini golf and we couldn’t wait to give it ago. We first went in the morning and the queue was a bit too long for Arthur to have handled so we decided to have lunch and go back early afternoon. We turned up and showed our receipt which had the mini golf added on. We each received golf clubs and a ball as well as a scorecard. The scorecard states that you have 6 attempts per hole, this is to keep it fair and everyone moving. People obviously didn’t read it and it wasn’t enforced either. It was really hot and was still rather busy. The boys didn’t complain though and they loved it!
Arthur was in his element and attempted each hole! as did Jack and Oliver too! We didn’t tally up the scores to try and keep it fair and to give them a chance in winning! Jack managed to put a ball in 2 swings! Which I think made his day! We also had a few little mishaps that meant we had to retrieve the ball from the water. Personally, i think the boys were doing it on purpose so they could have go!
When the round of mini golf is complete you can buy a medal to say you have completed it for £1. There are also other souvenirs you can buy like a super cute teddy!
We had a blast! The boys had so much fun and Mark and I found it interesting to see another sealife sanctuary. It is worth a visit if you ever visit Scarborough and once your day is complete the beach is a stones throw away!