Updated: Jun 8
Name: Sea Life Great Yarmouth
Type: Tourist Attraction / Conservation
City/Town/Village: Great Yarmouth
Opening times: See website
Entry fee: See website
Parking available: Yes
Parking fee: Varies/Free between Oct - March
Address: Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 3AH
On Friday, 27th December 2019 I visited my first tourist attraction as part of my #roadtrip4charity project.
Having spent the first 28 years of my existence in Durban, South Africa I've always had a passion for the sea and the life it contains. As a surfer, I had heard many stories of shark attacks along the Kwazulu Natal coastline and my fascination with sharks and marine life began.
So it was with great excitement that I visited Sea Life Great Yarmouth on invitation by the Operations Manager, Kieran.
I'm not a fan of captivity however, I do understand the need for conservation and Sea Life Great Yarmouth undertake several causes, more of which are listed below.
Being the 27th December, winter, Great Yarmouth was pretty deserted. I've only been to Great Yarmouth during the summer and it is absolutely ridiculously packed! So if you are not a fan of crowds, and can tolerate the colder weathers, visiting in the winter should be considered.
Given this general quietness, the centre itself was also very quiet visitor wise. This may not have been ideal for the centre themselves, however from a selfish point of view, did let me explore the centre without too much interference from photobombers.
The centre itself is not massive however what it lacks in size is certainly made up for with very friendly staff and a great variety of sea life on show.
Zones at the centre include Penguins, Under the Ray-Dar, Jelly Invaders, Pirate Reef, Crocodile Enclosure, Tropical Ocean Display, Rockpool, Ocean Tunnel and Breed Rescue Protect.
I arrived just in time to see the Humboldt penguins feeding and talk. Unfortunately no happy feet in sight however I did spot a pickpocket on the scene. The chap in the above image standing next to the container of fish! He/She kept knicking the fish from the container and throwing them into the water.
Humboldt penguins are an endangered species and were absolutely fascinating to watch. Spend a while just watching these lovelies and you'll see many personalities!
Another of my personal favs that I could sit and watch forever!
Moon jellyfish are simply fascinating to watch as they elegantly move through the water. Also one of the most difficult things to photograph in an aquarium setting due to their translucent nature.
The Jack Russell's of the reefs!
I used to have a 10ft x 3ft x 3ft aquarium in my home some years ago. I used to sit for hours and just watch the relationship between my clownfish and the anemones in the tank.
I introduced the anemones before the clownfish and was, therefore, able to watch as the clownfish would bring the anemone food at every feeding time. How initially the clownfish was not able to enter the tentacles of the anemone but over a period of a week or two the symbiotic relationship was formed and the anemone provided protection to the clownfish in exchange for nutrients provided by the clownfish.
Having established this relationship, and with the assurance of a 'safe hideout', the clownfish were soon off being nuisances to other fish in the tank, quickly retreating back to their anemone should any of the other fish square up!
Whilst the centre is small, it does provide a great educational experience for anyone interested in sea life. With a good selection of fish and animals to keep both youngsters and adults occupied for a few hours.
For the best experience, I'd certainly recommend you plan your visit to incorporate as many of the talks and feeds as possible.
The centre and tanks were very clean and well maintained.
The staff were very friendly and happy to answer any questions posed to them.
There is a soft play area in the attached restaurant as well as the hands-on experience at the rockpool where kids and adults alike have the opportunity to touch a starfish or anemone.
Allow for 2 - 3 hours to truly appreciate, learn from and interact with what is on offer.
Conservation projects at Sea Life Great Yarmouth
Sea Life Great Yarmouth cares deeply about the oceans and what can be done to protect the creatures that live above and beneath the surface. As an award-winning centre for education Sea Life Great Yarmouth continues to raise awareness of plastic litter and how to reduce it.
With that in mind, the Sea Life Centre pledged to commit to at least one beach or river clean per month throughout 2019. Hundreds of members of the public gave up their time to volunteer for our beach cleans or river cleans, clearing hundreds of kilograms of rubbish from Breydon Water and the North beach of Great Yarmouth. They helped collect old fishing equipment, rope, and bottles as well as other items of debris on our beach, which prevented it from ending up in the sea where it can become a serious hazard for marine life!
Our stats so far:
Beach cleans carried out: 10
River Cleans: 2
Total number of volunteers over the 12 cleans: Over 400
Total weight of rubbish removed: 1016.12 kg (2240.16 lbs)
To give you some idea of how much that is, a fully grown black rhino weighs 1,100 kg (2425.085lbs) so that’s a lot of rubbish!
In 2019, SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth took part in two river cleans in partnership with the Broads Authority. Volunteers joined SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth staff, and rangers from the Broads authority to clear stretches of Breydon Water. And with their help, we have pulled all sorts of things from the mud of Breydon water! From the expected such as bottles and of course shopping trolleys to the unexpected, like a motorbike! You never know what you will find.
Friends of Horsey Seals
SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth has recently started working with Friends of Horsey Seals to raise awareness for their Flying Ring Campaign. This campaign aims to educate the public about the dangers seals face as a result of abandoned or lost flying rings, with many being badly injured each year.
Friends of Horsey Seals have received over 30 reports this year of seals with plastic items around their necks. To some that may not sound like a lot but remember this is only one small area of the UK so only represents a tiny part of the problem.
To help raise awareness, SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth will soon be displaying a new video in our under the raydar area. You will also be able to find leaflets about the project and a collection box, should you wish to donate to this good cause. Our under the raydar talk will also soon include a message about the impact plastic rings are having on our seals. This project also links in nicely with our beach cleans, so we will be reporting any found rings in future beach cleans to Friends of Horsey Seals.
And this is just the beginning! We don’t just want to raise awareness with the public! We want to work with local business owners to encourage them to stop selling flying rings or at least raise awareness of the project if they do.
If you would like to find out more about the project, visit the Friends of Horsey Seals website. https://www.friendsofhorseyseals.co.uk/flying-rings-campaign-update/
And of course, soon you will be able to find out more at the SEA LIFE Centre!
Norfolk County Council Sky lantern and Balloon Release Charter
In November 2019, SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth signed Norfolk County Council’s sky lanterns and balloon release charter. This means that we will not allow balloon or sky lantern releases from our premises. We felt it was important to pledge our support as helium balloons and sky lanterns have a big impact on marine life.
Norfolk County Council is leading the way on these bans which we hope will encourage other councils to follow suit. Balloons and sky lanterns can cause injury and even death to marine wildlife!
There are lots of alternatives to balloon or sky lantern releases, find out more: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/litter/balloon-and-sky-lantern-alternatives?fbclid=IwAR3LsDsEbDPo4om3_fXGHwb2iJUXWcGix9ePV812JE6rBFay4XxBx6J2G2U
To find out more about the charter: https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/what-we-do-and-how-we-work/policy-performance-and-partnerships/policies-and-strategies/natural-environment-policies/sky-lanterns-and-balloons
To find out more about the negative impacts balloons and sky lanterns have on marine wildlife, check out Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Don’t let go’ campaign: https://www.mcsuk.org/campaigns/dont-let-go?fbclid=IwAR1IgtAszpBqv8baRbOtGwRZ09nzsJBO9F2eWbx520Q6tSvIK4rJu5VuuW4
To find out which councils have banned balloon and/or sky lantern releases: https://www.mcsuk.org/campaigns/dont-let-go-councils?fbclid=IwAR0uY2pyrTwJuJi0ix1Ty1hQxacqUOe0_vxTqZiSb8KZKwmdRb8Lp597H0w
If your council is not on this list, perhaps contact them to encourage them to do so!
SEA LIFE TRUST
What is the SEA LIFE Trust
The SEA LIFE Trust is a registered charity (no. 1175859) working globally to protect the world’s oceans and the amazing marine life that lives within them.
Our vision is of a world where our oceans are healthy, properly protected and full of diverse life.
We champion the need for plastic-free oceans, sustainable fishing, effective Marine Protected Areas and an end to over-exploitation of marine life through our global projects and campaigns, as well as at our marine animal sanctuaries in the UK and Iceland.
What they do
Work to reduce plastic pollution
Help protect Sea Turtles
Fight to increase marine protection
BELUGA WHALE Sanctuary
Puffin Rescue Centre
Fund Raising for SEA LIFE TRUST
Visit this website to make a donation: https://www.sealifetrust.org/en/how-to-help/make-a-donation/
The SEA LIFE Trust funds marine conservation projects around the world, campaigns for long-lasting change, and educates and inspires people to protect our beautiful oceans and marine habitats. As a charity, we receive no government funding and rely on the generosity of the public to carry out our work.
For suggestions on alternative ways to help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are based in the UK you may prefer to use Text: To donate £5, text SEA 5 to 70085. Texts cost £5 plus your mobile phone provider's standard network rate.
Alternatively, you can opt to give any whole amount of up to £20. Thank you for your support!
Remember, if you purchase any image taken at Sea Life Great Yarmouth from my stock site, I donate 20% of this to the above Sea Life Trust! So why not see if there are any images you like for your blog post, your website or indeed to print to canvas and display in your office or home?
Like my photography? Would you like to book a photoshoot with me? Perhaps you'd like to be a sponsor of the project? Want to support the project in a small way? Have a look at this post and get in touch!