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“Dated design poor layout large queue through carpark to get in”

Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary
Ranked #15 of 87 things to do in Scarborough
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Walk with Penguins on Penguin Island and visit this years seal pup patients in Yorkshire's only Seal Hospital! There are over 1,000 creatures in over 50 amazing displays!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Stairs / elevator, Stroller parking, Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access
Reviewed August 15, 2013

Firstly if your going, be prepared to wait outside a long time in the car park (parking is rather poor too, as people are standing in the car park the parking is hard to get into and more than a few cars were abandoned rather than parked.

Next be aware that you'll pay a huge premium to go in or go with a %off ticket from a local car park etc. tickets are expensive, adult single ticket is £16.20 full fare

The place needs a bit of tlc, I went as a child and much of it looked to be the same layout etc, the place just felt old and in need of rejuvenation

However some of the displays and aquatic life were very interesting, and the LCD screens told you the names and a snipit of information about the species, it would have been good to have a bit more info on the different species, having gone to the centre for an informative trip, it felt more like a cheap tourist activity, which at £16.20 each it shouldn't

Lastly was the lack of staffing at a number of points, if you have signs saying ask the staff, staff need to be present some of the time, especially in areas like the seal sanctuary so that questions and better understanding of the seals and their needs can be ascertained, a sign telling us to donate more money because each seal costs £2000 to rehabilitate is fine, but someone who can explain how that is used and what is done to return the animals to the wild would be great

All in all it was an ok day, given poor due to cost and queue issues, I know other places (say chester zoo) charge more, but they also have more to do, and have much more info on the animals

Thank David B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarborough S, Guest Relations Manager at Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2013

Thank you for your review.

We are sorry you felt your experience did not represent good value. We monitor guest perception on this issue very closely and happily the vast majority believe they get excellent value for money. We also take into consideration the prices charged by competitors, both in the aquarium sector and in other leisure attractions, and are confident our pricing, given the quality of our offering, is extremely competitive.

The popularity of our centre inevitably results in being busy at peak times and especially during school holidays, and this can also lead inevitably to queues. We process every admission as quickly as possible and will even provide queue entertainment whenever practical, but our advice to anyone wishing to avoid queues is to time your visit to avoid peak periods and/or school holidays.

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1,966 - 1,970 of 2,372 reviews

Reviewed August 15, 2013

I am bemused by several of the complaints by people on here.

Firstly, the parking. We went this Tuesday, it was very busy, but parking wasn't a problem. It only takes a few bad parkers to mess it up for everyone, that's not really the centre's fault is it?

Second, it being dark. Well, the majority of the animals on display live in the sea. Despite the sea looking all lovely and blue, it is dark deeper than the first few metres. It is dark for them, think about it!

Finally, it being expensive and over too quickly. To be honest, at full price, I think it is overpriced. We had half price tickets from cereal packets, and for that I thought it was very good value for money. I think £10/£12 for adults would be about right, but I don't have the balance sheet, and I would imagine the costs for housing all these creatures is far from insignificant. As for it being over quickly, well yes, you could comfortably walk around it in 10 minutes, but we spent over two hours looking at the animals, and occasionally only moved on as a courtesy to others wanting to see.

My only criticisms are that I would have a few more staff around the centre. The ones I came across were well informed and helpful, but a little too sparse. There was also too long a queue to get in. I think this is in part down to the "photo opportunity" as you go in, which I didn't like at all. I'd be tempted to leave that as entirely optional, or offer a way to walk past it. I was also not too keen on the eating area, rather costly, and nothing much in the way of healthy eating except one salad, which was mostly lettuce. Might I suggest an Asda type 5/7 small items for £2/£3 for the kids, which would be quite easy to set up? Finally, there weren't enough panning for gold tins, we waited a good while but there were people queuing.

Other than that, it is a great place to visit. The stamp collecting idea for the younger kids is great, and I thought the array of animals, the lighting, the interactive sections, the atmospheric music, were all fantastic. If you want to see a few penguins, don't bother, but if you want to see a huge array of animals in captivity that you probably won't ever see in the wild, take the time to absorb it and enjoy yourself. Please don't give these creatures a fleeting glace and say "oh look, a thingy", read about it (especially the figures on how many are being lost through habitat loss and poaching), and if you think I'm being a bit pompous by saying that and you're not really interested in reading about them, then perhaps you shouldn't be visiting a sea life sanctuary! Our almost 3 year old with a normal concentration span of 2/3 minutes was amazed by the whole visit, think about how you might have felt about the place at that age before you start saying it's boring.

Visited with two teenagers, and a two year old. We all thought it was an excellent place to visit. Many thanks.

1  Thank Howard W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarborough S, Guest Relations Manager at Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 23, 2013

Thank you for your review.

I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed taking the time to really explore our centre and the many creatures we home here. We encourage all of our visitors to do just that and it certainly seems like your visit was enhanced by absorbing the exhibits in their entirity from the creatures to the lighting and background music.

It's also great to hear that you all thought our centre was an excellent place to visit.

We do increase our staff levels throughout the school holidays and I am sorry to hear that you felt their presence was too sparse. It is however, wonderful to hear that the team members you did meet were well informed and helpful.

The photo opportunity section is optional but perhaps there is something we can implement to ensure guests are aware that they don't have to have their photograph taken should they not wish to.

We appreciate all feedback and thank you for sharing your experience with us and other travellers.

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Reviewed August 14, 2013

we thought this would be about local sealife, the only thing really was the seals they had rescued, was quite good, but lost interest fairly quick, not worth the money!

Thank LiverpoolShazza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarborough S, Guest Relations Manager at Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2013

Thank you for your review.

I am sorry to hear that you felt your visit to us was not as you expected and that you felt your experience did not represent good value for money. We monitor guest perception on this issue very closely and happily the vast majority believe they get excellent value for money. We also take into consideration the prices charged by competitors, both in the aquarium sector and in other leisure attractions, and are confident our pricing, given the quality of our offering, is extremely competitive. One factor which may have a bearing is the time taken to investigate each of our displays. Sea creatures seldom line up to be admired of course, and those who derive most from a visit to Sea Life are invariably those who linger at each display and make sure they see everything, if necessary asking one of our friendly staff to help point out the more elusive creatures and explain some of their fascinating features.

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Reviewed August 14, 2013

We came here with our 5 month old in a pram at the weekend. There is not much room for pushchairs/ prams in the indoor sections, the exhibits are not all visible from the level of a child in a pushchair so she missed quite a lot of things which was a disappointment as she loved her visit to The Deep in Hull where she was fascinated by all the fish.
The worst part was that to get to the turtle area and restaurant we had to leave the pushchair downstairs and carry her upstairs. We did not have anything from the restaurant as, without her chair, we had nowhere to sit our baby. There is a chairlift for disabled people but this is situated on the same staircase as used by everyone else, I don't think a lot of wheelchair users would appreciate having to stop everyone else in their tracks while they are the centre of attention being lifted up the stairs! There would also be very little room for a wheelchair in the indoor areas.
Make sure you go with a voucher, as others have said, it would be an expensive day out otherwise. Also, you are asked if you want a souvenier photo as you enter, avoid this if you don't want your kids pestering you for the finished article at the end-it was £8 for a single photo and £20 for a set (we didn't buy!!).
I attempted to fill out the computerised survey at the exit to point out accessibility issues, but half of the letters on the key pad didn't work so I couldn't even do that!
They are doing good work here, but I would rather give to a charity collection for them than be pressurised into the high costs of things here.

Thank Carol7774
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarborough S, Guest Relations Manager at Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2013

Thank you for your review.

I am sorry to hear that you experienced difficulties with access throughout the centre using a pushchair.

Although our access lift cannot be used for pushchairs, our friendly team members are happy to assist with lifing prams upstairs so they can be used for the remainder of the attraction exhibits.

I am sorry to hear that you experienced diffifculties leaving feedback on our machine and will look into the sensitivity on the keypad to avoid this happening in future.

We value all feedback and thank you for your comments.

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Reviewed August 13, 2013

We visited Sea Life Scarborough whilst on holiday in the town. We had a great time! There is so much to see. The displays/exhibits are very interesting and informative, there are some which are hands on but not many! There is not much to keep young children entertained as there is quite a bit of reading required, but they will love looking at all of the different creatures, especially the jellyfish!!!

As well as touring the attraction we visited the cafe/restaurant. The food was great value and very nice. We also got two drinks free as we had bought a guide book and it had a special ticket on it!! However, the cafe was seriously understaffed!! The staff that were working were EXCELLENT and were doing a super job even though it was so busy! The girl on the till, Catt, was wonderful, she had to take orders and make drinks all at the same time, which meant that the queue was quite long. It would have made much more sense to have one person on the till and another making drinks! The staff in the kitchen also did a great job but they were so busy that there was a long wait for food, however the food seemed to be freshly made which was good.

Overall we would return in the future but would take lunch with us.

Thank nhdut15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarborough S, Guest Relations Manager at Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2013

Thank you for your review.

It's fantastic to hear that you had a great time on your recent visit to our attraction and that you felt there was plenty to see.

Thank you also for your feedback about our restaurant. We are pleased that you found the quality of food good and offered value for money. Your comments will be passed to Catt who served you.

We look forward to welcoming you again in the future.

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