National Sea Life Centre (Birmingham)
The entrance and side of the National Sea Life Centre building
The National Sea Life Centre (grid reference SP059867) is an aquarium with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life in Brindleyplace, Birmingham, England. Its one-million-litre ocean tank houses giant green sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks and tropical reef fish, with a fully transparent underwater tunnel. The building was designed by Sir Norman Foster. However, Foster has effectively "buried" this project in his portfolio, and is reportedly embarrassed by the final building.
It is located alongside the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line Canal by Old Turn Junction and opposite the National Indoor Arena. It opened in spring 1996. In the Victorian era, the site was the location of two canal basins in Oozells Street Wharf.
The National Sea Life Centre has an extensive seahorse breeding programme, with many species of newly reared seahorses in tanks viewable by visitors.
In Easter 2009, the Centre announced as its newest attraction a "Sensorama 4-D Cinema". So-called because in addition to 3-D viewing, the audience can be subjected to sensations such as wind, salt spray, and the smell the seaweed, or other sensations depending on the (sea-themed) film. Over Christmas the cinema showed the Polar Express in 4D and in 2011 the film was based on Happy Feet (2006 film)
By Easter 2010, Hammerhead Sharks made resident in the ocean tank.
- Matthew Carmona (2001). The Value of Urban Design: A Research Project Commissioned by CABE and DETR to Examine the Value Added by Good Urban Design. Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-2981-0.
- 'Birmingham - Warwickshire: 013/08', Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 - Epoch 1 (1890). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55193&sheetid=10089&ox=4418&oy=1662&zm=1&czm=1&x=144&y=346. Date accessed: 20 May 2008.