During the visit to the Sea Life Centre on Thursday night, I totally and utterly turned into a child. At one point I became so excited by the experience that I felt like I was going to burst and I just wanted to run up and down through the corridors to expel some of the adrenaline. I couldn’t keep still, couldn’t stop smiling and couldn’t keep myself from falling in love with Larry, the non conformist Cownose Ray.
I was really impressed with the turnout and we all piled into Shark Bait Reef like a rabble of rowdy teenagers after stopping for a photo opportunity. Lucy Handel had arranged for us to visit late during closing time for the rest of Alton Towers and we literally got the aquarium to ourselves. We were able to wander around the attractions, with Lucy answering our questions about all of the different creatures.
Shark Bait reef is much bigger than I expected and I was pleasantly surprised by how many unusual and fantastic marine species the aquarium homes. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see sea horses; showing off to all of those that walked past. And Razor fish! Who would have thought that there would have been razor fish? And Cownose rays! And Japanese Spider crabs! These were particularly impressive, with their long legs and beady eyes.
There was much to be enjoyed in the touch pools too and we all came away with much cleaner nails thanks to the shrimp manicures. Lucy introduced us to Zena, the Zebra Shark, Larry the Cownose Ray, Dave the female clown fish and many more species who we were all completely endeared to by the end of the tour.
We arranged this tour to coincide with European Shark Week and Project AWARE’s Big Shark Shout Out, which was last week. Thank you everyone for your generosity and for joining me for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We gave sharks a really BIG SHOUT OUT!
I would really like to thank Lucy on behalf of everyone who attended last night. She gave up her free time to talk to us about Sea Life, conservation and marine creatures. She was incredibly helpful, very informative and her enthusiasm and passion shone through.