Sealife Weymouth is situated somewhat unusually, in the heart of in the stunning Lodmoor Country Park, not far from the dramatic Dorset coast. It is one of the top marine centres in the UK, having gained a reputation as a leading family attraction since opening in 1984. It’s a hugely enjoyable family day out with outdoor and indoor features that the weather cannot put a dampener on, all in seven acres of lovely parkland. A ticket to Sealife Weymouth allows visitors to encounter British marine creatures from curious grey seals to captivating otters. From outside the UK’s shores, Sealife Weymouth has an oceanic world of exotic species, from starfish and mantis shrimps, to horseshoe crabs, octopus, sharks and rays.
The family attraction is home to the National Seahorse Breeding and Conservation Centre, which was unveiled in mid-2003, though its breeding and research programme dates back to 1995. Other features of the family attraction are a Penguin refuge that has a number of rare Humboldt penguins, their tailor-made pool having underwater viewing windows to allow ticket holders a glimpse into their world. Natural born entertainers, they skitter about on dry land, glide through the water and always put on a show during feeding at one of Sealife Weymouth sessions. Their activities are a highlight of a family day out to Sealife Weymouth and for many are worth the price of the ticket alone!
The Otter sanctuary is another scene of merriment, with the Asian Short-Clawed Otters on display, while the Seal section looks after puppies that are cannot be returned to the wild. A new feature of the Sanctuary at Sealife Weymouth is the Turtle enclosure, which has an ocean tank with walkthrough underwater tunnel, giving ticket holders a grand view of six green sea turtles that reside there. An adjoining rescue and rehabilitation centre for freshwater terrapins also provides an opportunity to get up close and personal with the dainty creatures, and Splash’n'Crab allows interaction with many types of sea creature, including crabs and starfish.
For those who want a little more excitement on their family day out to Sealife Weymouth, there are some of the planet’s most venomous sea animals housed in Venom, with sea snakes, lionfish, porcupine puffer fish (which can grow to over twice their size if threatened!) and moon jellyfish – just the ticket. Besides all that, there’s the unique Tropical Shark Lagoon, for tropical sharks that have outgrown their previous homes, among them black-tipped reef, leopard and nurse sharks. They can be seen from inside the hull of a sunken shipwreck.
Equally as enjoyable, though a lot less dangerous, the Splash Pool offers kids the chance to splash about to their heart’s content in a water fun park with a water slide, splash pool and water jets – a family day out sure to make a splash. Then, after drying off, there’s mini golf with a marine theme. The Pirate Adventure Mini Golf gives landlubbers the chance to play 18 holes with unique challenges, including treasure chests, gunpowder barrels and a pirate ship, all based in landscaped parkland. Sealife Weymouth’s course has Astro-turf greens and is rated as the best mini range in Europe. Kids can even learn about the world’s most infamous pirates as they play – ahoy there you sea dogs!
What’s more, the family attractions has a Quiz Trail and AmaZone, which brings to life the majesty of the rainforest, with sound recordings, interactive exhibits, a river floor, forest canopy, mist and flowing water. There are also ongoing entertainment talks, feeding sessions and, when you want one of your own, there’s a café which can be pre-booked for special occasions, with birthday packages providing quiz sheets, hats and balloons.
Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 7SX
Tel: 01305 761070
Times: 10.00 – various, dependent on season