National Sea Life Centre (Birmingham)

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The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham is home to over 2,000 creatures from around the world. The Centre also houses the UK's only 360 degree ocean tunnel.

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 the UK's only fully transparent 360 degree underwater tunnel. The building was designed by Sir Norman Foster.[1]


It is located alongside the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line Canal by Old Turn Junction and opposite the Barclaycard Arena (Once known as the National Indoor Arena). It opened on 5 July 1996 and in 2016 celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

In the Victorian era, the site was the location of two canal basins in Oozells Street Wharf.[2]


The gentoo penguin colony at the National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham.

The National SEA LIFE Centre 'transports visitors into an underwater world of discovery' and houses over 2,000 creatures from around the world. Moreover, the Centre works hard towards their 'Breed, Rescue and Protect[3]' conservation projects and has an extensive seahorse breeding programme, with many species of newly reared seahorses in tanks viewable by visitors.

In other displays, it has a giant Pacific octopus, as well as horseshoe crabs, green sea turtles, lobsters, sharks, sting rays, and otters.

In 2009, the Centre announced as its newest attraction a "Sensorama 4-D Cinema". 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.[citation needed]

In 2014 the centre opened a £2,000,000 'Penguin Ice Adventure' habitat that became home to a colony of cheeky gentoo penguins.[4]

In the Press[edit]

Zebra Shark Baby hatches at The National SEA LIFE Centre and filmed exclusively for an exclusive BBC One Documentary entitled: Shark[5]

The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham is a popular destination for documentaries, including for an appearance on the BBC's 'Penguins on a plane: Great animal moves'[6]

Other media stories include:

  • Penguins delight at Christmas crackers in 2015[7]
  • Psychic Penguins predict the FA Cup Final in 2015[8]
  • Psychic penguins predict the general election in 2015[9]
  • Sir David Attenborough visits the attraction in 2010[10]
  • A baby Zebra Shark hatches on the BBC's Documentary called: Shark which aired in 2015.[11]

Accolades and Awards[edit]

The National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham is one of the West Midland's most popular tourist attractions and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It was voted Aquarium of the Year and Warwickshire Family Attraction of the Year (despite not being in the current administrative county of Warwickshire) by the Good Britain Guide 2004.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "Map of Birmingham and its Environs (Southampton, 1884-1891)". British History Online. 
  3. ^ "*Official* SEA LIFE Birmingham - Protect our Seas". Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Young, Gary. "Penguin Ice Adventure set to be Sea Life Centre's new hot attraction". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Shark - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Penguins on a Plane: Great Animal Moves - BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Penguins delighted with their gift of Christmas crackers". Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Psychic penguins have made their pick for Arsenal vs Aston Villa in". The Independent. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "General election results predicted by Birmingham penguins". ITV News. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Sir David Attenborough and the spider crab". Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Shark - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 

External links[edit]