FOR MANY people a trip to the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the many wonderful marine creatures you could only dream of seeing if you went diving off sea shores around the world.
But it is more than that, writes Observer editor Chris Willmott.
Yes, it’s a fantastic place to see a beautiful turtle swimming around you in the underground tunnel tank, a place to see sharks swimming just inches away from you, a place to see starfish up close and personal (especially gratifying after two weeks of daily searching without success for them on holiday in Devon), a place to see seahorses and rays and last but definitely by no means least, a place to see penguins – the show stealers at every wildlife venue we have ever taken our daughter too.
But it is definitely more than that.
The Sea Life Centre here in Birmingham – and at the company’s numerous other venues around the world – is a key player in the world of marine conservation, caring for animals, fighting their causes, undertaking successful breeding schemes and, without people even realising it, nurturing a passion for all the creatures in every person that comes through their centre’s doors.
It’s mission statement reads: “Here at Sea Life we care deeply about our oceans, the creatures that live above and beneath the surface and those we are lucky enough to have in our care.
“We are experts in husbandry and will only keep creatures that we know will thrive in the displays we create for them.
“We are campaigners and activists, doing all we can to preserve the precious life that dwells in our oceans.
“As well as the practical breeding, homing, rescue and rehabilitation of ocean dwelling creatures we also petition governments, host conferences and help raise awareness of all kinds of important marine issues. ”
I could detail my family’s day out to the Sea Life centre, as enjoyable and rewarding as it was – but full details of everything it has to offer are available on the website – www.visitsealife.com/birmingham/
Instead I would simply urge anyone reading this to pay a visit and not only give yourself a great day out – but to help support the vital work the organisation does in protecting marine wildlife across the globe.