Last weekend we decided spur of the moment to take a trip to the National SEA LIFE Centre Bray Wicklow. After browsing online for ticket information and I discovered it is cheaper to purchase online rather than at the centre itself. We paid €10.25 per adult and Ava was free as she is under 3.
On arriving in Bray we parked just up the road from the National SEA LIFE Centre and it was free. It turns out parking along the seafront is free on the weekends which was a pleasant surprise.
The National SEA LIFE Centre Bray
After we showed our ticket confirmation email to the staff member we were on our way through the blue doors. We arrived just after 11:00 and there was approx 20-30 people at the centre. It was lovely to walk around with no major crowds.
The aquarium itself is laid out on a walkway. It has small tanks/ponds/areas with fish, stingrays, turtles along this walkway. Some displays are on the wall, some are on the floor. The walk area is quite tight, I’m not too sure a double buggy would fit. Just something to keep in mind if you are visiting with a large stroller. Although, I did see people leaving their strollers at the reception desk. That’s always an option if your kids can walk.
Suitable for a Toddler?
Ava is 2 in March. She really enjoyed running around and looking in the larger tanks with stingrays, sharks and exotic fish. Some of the fish were in smaller/higher areas and these didn’t hold her attention. There are lots of opportunities to put her hands in the water which she loves to do. However, I feel Ava is too young to appreciate anything that is happening. Maybe if we visited again in 6-12 months she may be more interested in the exhibits.
Robert and I enjoyed strolling along after Ava and looking at each small area. I would have loved if the information signs were a little larger as it’s quite dark and I found it tough to read. Maybe I need to wear my glasses……..
Fish Talk & Feeding Time
Whilst walking around an employee asked us whether we would like to touch a starfish. While we agreed, Ava was more interested in playing with the water, but that’s to be expected for her age. Around 12 pm an employee approached us and advised she would be doing a small talk and feeding the Nemo and Dory fish. We made our way to the area but everyone that was currently touring the centre was attending the talk and there wasn’t much room. It would be great for kids a little older as I’ve heard they get to feed the fish too.
On this particular day, the play area at the end was closed as it’s been refurbished. It is a pity as Ava loves to play in those areas. There was a small sign at the reception explaining this, I’m glad I noticed this when checking in.
We spent 40-45 minutes at the National SEA LIFE Centre Bray, Wicklow and if I’m being honest I thought it was extremely pricey for the experience. Both Robert and I were left underwhelmed with the offerings. Furthermore, I feel if Ava was older and more interested in the fish and sea creatures, it would have been a different experience.
On exiting SEA LIFE we decided to take a stroll along the seafront. As it seemed to be the only day this January that wasn’t cold and windy we took the opportunity to bring Ava to the beach. It was her first time and she loved it.
She really enjoyed playing the sand, picking up rocks and getting close to the water. She would have wandered into the water had we let her. I really enjoyed watching her learn and explore her surrondings.
We spent around 30 minutes playing on the beach and Ava was sad to leave. We will need to ensure a trip to the beach is on our summer bucket list this year.
Thanks for viewing.
Until next time,