I’m always asked for recommendations on school tours around the country so I was delighted to be invited to on a tour of Sealife in Bray. I had only been once before and thought it was really brilliant. Myself and my partner arrived down early Saturday morning to meet with Dave our tour guide and I can honestly say it was an incredible tour and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing about and seeing the different sea creatures.
I want to firstly mention the staff in Sealife Bray as I think the staff are so important when you are bringing a class on a school tour. Firstly the girl on the reception was super friendly and helpful. Dave our tour guide was so knowledgable and answered our questions (we had hundreds) with ease and interest. He told lots of stories and took us on a trip around the world as we saw creatures from different areas from the Amazon to the Atlantic Ocean.
While there, it was feeding time at the shark tank so we joined the group of children and parents who delighted in seeing how the rays and sharks were fed. One member of staff gave us lots of interesting information while another fed the animals using a long pole and attached the food to the end. It was incredible to see the different levels and watch the animals feeding and beginning to understand how they could all live in harmony together.
I watched carefully as children and adults asked questions and every single member of staff was really interested, engaged and delighted to help!
The building is really well laid out with ramps throughout leading to each area. Dave was clearly experienced in working with children and large school groups so he showed me where exactly the children would stop and how some children would be encouraged to kneel down in front while others stood behind them so everyone would have the chance to see. I thought this was so important and shows just how much time and effort has been spent by the staff in Sealife to ensure that the tours are designed with children in mind.
Tours can be tailored for a variety of age groups from Pre-School/Montessori groups to primary aged pupils and also second and third level.
The tanks are very large so the children will be able to gather around and see different things in different places which will keep them interested and engaged throughout the tour.
There are fact posters on the walls throughout the tour area so the children will also have the opportunity to do some of their own research and find out more information about the creatures they are most interested in.
We learned about how some of the animals ended up in Sealife – how they were bought as pets and people had no idea what size they would grow to and then suddenly they were massive and couldn’t be looked after in peoples homes. Some of the creatures are on loan from different aquariums around the world for breeding purposes.
We learned about the roles that different animals play in the oceans and rivers around the world. Dave spoke about how some of these animals are often portrayed but that this wouldn’t be a true respresenataion of them in the real world. I thought this was really interesting and would be fascinating for the children to learn more about too.
Dave also spoke about conservation and the importance of looking after the environment which again ties into so many different curricular areas.
Why I would recommend the tour
- Designed with children in mind – clearly thought out in terms of keeping the children interested, engaged and safe
- Fascinating for the children to see all the different animals and creatures
- Link with a variety of curricular areas (S.E.S.E – all around the world, creatures around the world, the environment, climate, Ireland Literacy – report writing on different animals, maths – capacity etc.
- The Staff are TOP CLASS – they were so fantastic with the children who were exploring the aquarium from 2/3 year olds to 9/10 year olds, teens and adults alike.
Location is right on Bray seafront so there are tons of amenities available for example.
- Seafront – stony beach
- Playground – large playground less than 5 minutes walk from Sealife
- Toilets – huge amount of toilets just behind Sealife and further up the seafront too
- Lunch – lots of benches, green areas and down on the beach
- Ice cream shops – really nice treat for the kids
- Lots of places for teachers to get tea/coffee
- Places for the buses to park close by
For more information on school tours at SeaLife and to book please visit their website here.
*Please note this is a paid collaboration with SeaLife Bray.