Weymouth Sea Life Tower
The Weymouth Sea Life Tower is an observational tower in Weymouth, Dorset, England. It is situated next to Weymouth Harbour and the Weymouth Pavilion, where it overlooks Weymouth town, Weymouth Beach, the Nothe Fort and Portland Harbour, including the Breakwater. It first opened on 22 June 2012.
The tower stands 53 metres high (174 ft) and is able to turn a full 360 degrees as it rises during operation. The clear-fronted passenger gondola of the tower can accommodate 69 passengers at a time, whilst each tower session lasts approximately 15 minutes. A total of 1100 tons of concrete was used during building, whilst the tower itself weighs 140 tons.
The tower, designed as a tourist attraction, was built at a cost of £3.5 million. The construction of the tower and observation pod took eight months, from the start of foundation works (the foundations go 18 metres into the sea bed) in October 2011, to the completion of the ground-level reception building at Festival Pier in June 2012, in time for the Olympic events. It was designed in Germany, built in Hungary and France, before being shipped in sections to be assembled on site. The tower was funded by private money and was the latest in the 90-strong worldwide attraction network operated by the Poole-based Merlin Entertainments, who also owns Weymouth Sea Life Park and the Pirate Adventure Golf at Lodmoor Country Park.
In a February 2012 article for the Dorset Echo, it was stated that Rob Swinerd and his team from contractors TG Cruse had laid the base of the tower. Swinerd was quoted "It's an exciting time at the minute and a great project to be working on. The next stage is the steel reinforcement around the base, and two-and-a-half metres of concrete to hold it all in place. After that it's just onwards and upwards."
The tower was completed a week ahead of schedule and an early running of the tower was enjoyed by a host of VIP guests, including borough mayor Margaret Leicester, and local councillors and business community representatives.
In a June 2012 article for the Dorset Echo, manager Craig Dunkerley had stated "The idea for the tower came about two or three years ago, we looked at other sites across Europe but decided to build it here in Weymouth because it's a beautiful area, close to our existing attraction Sea Life Park. We didn't build it for the Olympics, obviously when you embark on a £3.5million project it's here for a lot longer than that, but we decided to press ahead so it could be here in time for the Olympics. It's a great opportunity for us to sell the town during the Olympics and to have a new attraction in the town is only going to be good for the local area. This is a landmark for the town and it's all paid for by private money."
In an April 2012 article by The Sun, the tower was speculated to be able to carry more than 2,000 passengers in one day at its busiest.
The Disabled Holidayer gave a positive review of the tower.
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- "Read Reviews". The Disabled Holidayer. Retrieved 2012-12-02.