The first SEA LIFE centre opened its doors on the banks of picturesque Loch Creran in Scotland in 1979. Back then, most dealt exclusively with tropical fish, invariably housed in small oblong tanks either side of gloomy, oblong rooms, like a tropical fish shop.As the SEA LIFE network spread its tentacles across Europe the company behind the enterprise concentrated initially on opening a window to our native seas, providing a dramatic glimpse of a watery world which exceeded the wildest imaginings of most visitors.
SEA LIFE's senior marine biologist Rob Hicks explained that the Sea Life centre's provide views on a world hitherto seen only by experianced scuba divers. Even fishermen who are aware of the huge range of creatures could only guess at what the habitat really looks like. Sealife displays aim to reproduce these natural surroundings as faithfully as possible. The environments range from the tidal rock pools, beds of eel grass, dark rocky caves, the icy deep to the sandy shallows.
To keep all the creatures healthy and comfortable hi tech filtration systems keep the water in tip top condition. Theses filtration systems are carefully maintained and monitored throught the whole year. It is now possible to purchase discount vouchers for admission to the Sea Life Centre and other Blackpool Attractions at a discounted rate.
Discount Blackpool Sealife Tickets are available to purchase online.
Visitors will be stunned to discover that creatures like the slender pipefish, relative of the seahorse are abundant in European seas and that the colourful cuckoo wrasse can undergo a sex-change. You will be amazed to see the varieties of rays populating our own marine world, from the sharp-spined thornback to the intricately patterned undulate ray. As well as the wonderouse sights visitors can learn a huge amount - the fact that a starfish can shed a leg and then grow another. Visitors will be greeted with frank disbelief the information that an octopus can change colour and grow spikes in the blink of an eye, and that its blue blood is pumped around its body by no fewer than three hearts.
If there is one activity above all others that sets SEA LIFE apart from the rest of the aquarium industry, however, it is perhaps its work on the breeding of seahorses. Seahorses have provided one of SEA LIFE's biggest success stories of recent years.The Weymouth-based seahorse breeding programme begun in 1995 is the most successful in the world. Its advice on husbandry and diet is sought by other aquaria worldwide."By helping others to breed their own seahorses, even providing them with stock, we also reduce the temptation for them to source stock from the wild," said Rob Hicks."Our own seahorse exhibitions across Europe also discourage home-aquarium enthusiasts from trying to obtain seahorses by stressing the near impossibility of providing adequate care in a home environment." The ten species successfully bred and reared in Weymouth include some other notable firsts, amongst them the Indonesian zebra-snouted seahorse Hippocampus barbouri. Other species like the Australian big-bellied seahorse, the slender seahorse from the Caribbean and the yellow seahorse from the Pacific, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, have also bred prolifically. So successful has the programme been, that Weymouth opened the National Seahorse Breeding and Conservation unit in 2003. So many baby seahorses have already been reared there that satellite breeding facilities have now been set up at the National SEA LIFE centre, Birmingham, the Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary in Oban, and the SEA LIFE centres in Great Yarmouth, Blankenberge, Konigswinter, Oberhausen, Nurnberg and Scheveningen.
This display area is dedicated to the Amazon and its underwater life.
Step through the sunken galleon and discover Pirates: The Legend of Blackbeard. Be surrounded by the beautiful Caribbean Reef and see the tropical sharks and shoaling fish that have made their home in the ghostly wreck. Stay around long enough and you're sure to hear the tale of how Blackbeard's ship came to rest from an old shipmate.
For the SEA LIFE team, merely raising awareness of our rich and diverse native marine world was no longer enough. Gradually, the network extended its activities into the fields of conservation and research.SEA LIFE has funded vital field projects and hosted exhibitions, fund-raising events and press conferences to help wildlife charities draw attention to particular marine conservation issues. Its environmental arm SOS (Save Our Seas) has been responsible for a series of high profile petitions delivered to the EU urging protective legislation for sea turtles, sharks, whales and dolphins and commercial fish stocks.
SOS has recently launched a fundraising appeal to try and help finance a much-needed turtle rescue facility on the Greek island of Zakynthos, and raised a petition calling for long-line fisheries to employ a new kind of hook which doesn't catch turtles.