London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
What better way to get ready for our imminent Seychelles trip than an educational festive day out with London Aquarium Christmas?
The aquariums debate could get long but even for advanced divers like us and lovers of wild sealife, it’s still undeniable that a well-run, ethically minded aquarium helps positively impact marine conservation and education.
SEA LIFE London Aquarium invites experiencing ad learning about the ocean’s hidden marvels and conservation for kids as little as 2 years old. Children afraid of sharks will leave some hours later misconceptions gone, aware of the threats that face sharks, and determined to help with their conservation.
We are very lucky and grateful that our kids have seen most of these marvels in the wild, but still a place like Sea Life London Aquarium inspires and educates so much. We talked about the rays we loved observing in Maldives but seen them so much closer and in more detail; we talked about the hawksbill turtles we swum with in Nevis; about the giant green turtles we were so lucky to witness at Ras Al Jinz in Oman; about the baby sharks we loved observing by our atoll shores in Maldives.
London aquarium at Christmas has few very cool one-off experiences that kids loved. From the Penguin Present Pursuit and trail cards; to a Penguin Post where kids can send their letters via a new snowy South Pole, connecting directly to Father Christmases North Pole; to ‘Fishmas’ carols, penguin bubbles and ice sculptures.
It’s festive but it’s so educational, the kids just soak in, get to love, understand and hopefully act on. There’s tones about sustainable fishing – making informed decisions about the fish we eat making a huge difference in protecting our oceans for generations to come. There’s the Breed, Rescue and Protect project which goes from rays conservation, to coral propagation and to educating home aquarium owners how to buy fish responsibly. And there’s The Sea Life Trust, London Aquarium registered charity dedicated to the conservation of marine wildlife and the environment, with its key messages about plastic pollution, and improved protection for sharks, seahorses, turtles and marine mammals. Last year London Aquarium raised over £300,000 globally to support the Trust’s projects and partner organisations and working in plenty of projects, including the first Beluga Sanctuary worldwide in Iceland.
There are also sensory treats and especially relevant for kids with special requirements, there are opportunities to stroke a real sea turtle shell confiscated at UK customs in a topical combat for wildlife trafficking; inspect an alligator’s teeth and discover what real shark skin feels like.
As an advanced Padi diver that loves swimming, snorkelling or diving with sharks or turtles, this will be the only occasion I will let the kids touch them – great educational environment where the conservation messages are crystal clear and instigate an urge to love the wildlife.
And as divers, it is easy to forget that most people will never experience the marine environment the way we do. They won’t have the opportunity to see creatures like sharks and rays in the wild. For them, a visit to an aquarium is the most affordable and will be sometimes their only way to see marine animals.
Jacque Cousteau quote often rings in my head : ‘ The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever’. Or to quote Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum : ‘In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.’ Thank you Sea Life London Aquarium! And Merry ‘Fishmas’ All!
PS: We have been invited to London Aquarium Christmas to experience the Penguin Present Pursuit. Curious kids and excited impressions entirely ours, of course we had to buy the Premium Package book & pictures, £30 going partially to that great causes we talked above.