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. Including the cheeky colony of Gentoo Penguins and a shimmering array of sharks... 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 5th July 1996 and in 2016 celebrates it's 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, frolicking about in their new home!

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 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)

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 and incredible press stories, most notably for the appearance on the BBC's 'Penguins on a plane: Great animal moves'[6]

Other 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.

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. ^ 'Birmingham - Warwickshire: 013/08', Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 - Epoch 1 (1890). URL: Date accessed: 20 May 2008.
  3. ^ "*Official* SEA LIFE Birmingham - Protect our Seas". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  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 2016-01-10. 
  6. ^ "Penguins on a Plane: Great Animal Moves - BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  7. ^ "Penguins delighted with their gift of Christmas crackers". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  8. ^ "Psychic penguins have made their pick for Arsenal vs Aston Villa in". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  9. ^ "General election results predicted by Birmingham penguins". ITV News. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  10. ^ "Sir David Attenborough and the spider crab | Discover Wildlife". Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Shark - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 

External links[edit]