As local annual pass members, Weymouth SeaLife Centre is normally a regular day out for us throughout the year, so when we heard they were re-opening their doors we were keen to visit.
The first thing to note, is that pre-booking tickets is now essential, you cannot just turn up and hope to get in as they are strictly limiting the number of visitors and this costs money, even for season pass holders (£1 per ticket).
When we arrived, our temperatures were taken with a non-contact thermometer whilst we waited in the queue to enter. Luckily, as everyone has pre-booked tickets the queue moved nice and fast and we were soon inside the park.
If you have not been to Weymouth SeaLife Centre before, it is a lovely day out, with plenty of outdoor areas to enjoy, but the majority of displays are inside buildings. On our visit face masks were not compulsory, however, as of Saturday 8th August, in line with updated government guidelines, all guests aged 11 and over will be required to wear a face covering whilst visiting the indoor spaces, including all the indoor aquariums.
Visiting yesterday did feel very different to previous visits. There are 2m markers and anti-bac points outside each building and we had to queue to enter each one, whereas we normally just stroll around at our leisure.
The queue then moves around each display window, making sure you give each other space. As you can imagine, you then move at the pace of the people in front of you.
The kids enjoyed seeing all the displays, but I did find they got bored waiting in the queues as they got frustrated by the time it took for people to move forward.
One of their favourites is the rockpool area where they normally get to touch crabs and starfish, but sadly it is now strictly look and don’t touch, which was disappointing.
Most of the added safety measures are clearly visible to you from the moment you arrive at the SeaLife Centre, whereas others require consideration from other guests and at certain points it really did feel uncomfortable.
For us, the new Night and Day tunnel should have been a fabulous addition, however, it was clearly a bottleneck for visitors as you have to queue to get through it. We followed the distancing markers on the floor, however the people behind us didn’t, which made us feel very uncomfortable.
Thankfully it eased once we were past the Night and Day section and we got to enjoy the tunnel.
It took us a good 2 hours to get through the displays, before the kids to enjoy the Caribbean Cove Adventure Park.
This is manned by staff supervising to ensure that there are no more than 40 children enjoying the equipment at all times. You also have a 30 minute window to remain in the park, to ensure that everyone else gets a turn.
The equipment is also closed at regular intervals during the day for cleaning, which is reassuring. The times are clearly displayed at the entrance, so it is worth checking before you head inside as some younger children were quite upset that they could not play.
In the summer, the kids highlight of the SeaLife Centre is their paddling pool and splash park and we were relieved to find this open, although like the adventure park, this is also closed at regular intervals for cleaning.
All-in-all the measures taken by the park felt adequate but do add time to your visit and be prepared to move on if other guests make you feel uncomfortable.
We will be back, but after the summer holiday rush!