A Brighton Diary: Old Wonders

Note: This is the fifth part in an on-going series chronicling my study abroad trip in Brighton, England. I am joined on this trip by my classmates and friends Cassie JenkinsClaire RobertsonVy NguyenJhocelyn AlvaradoMorgan CollierAbigail Pennington and Susan Salvo, led by director of student publications, Andy Coughlan.

Day 4 — June 15

I haven’t been to an aquarium in at least a decade. For no particular reason than the fact that I never think of them. Something about aquariums, though, remind me of my childhood.

The amazement and never-ending curiosity is a mindset I wish I could visit more often.

If I had to rate every aquarium I’ve ever visited, I know which one would take the top slot.

Sea Life Brighton is the world’s oldest working aquarium, having opened in 1872. It is now a part of Sea Life Centres, a chain company and while it has the brand all over it, this aquarium stands out.

Its Victorian architecture is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in an aquarium. There’s a rich history there, and you notice it as soon as you walk into the main entryway.

The aquarium — like a lot of Brighton and Hove — is big on environmental conservation education.

Sections of the aquarium are dedicated to the dangers of plastic on our beaches and in our oceans, and their overall impact on sea life.

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Familiar? I’m sure we’ve all been on beaches where it seems like there’s more trash than people. Photo by Olivia Malick

I will say, one odd thing about this aquarium is that there aren’t informational plaques next to the tanks. It’s kind of difficult to find out what you’re looking at. Luckily for me, I just wanted to look at interesting sea creatures, I didn’t really care what I was looking at.

The aquarium offers your standard array of fish, starfish, jellyfish, turtles, sharks, etc. The coolest feature of this aquarium is definitely its “hallway under the ocean.” I don’t know if that’s what it’s really called, but that’s the best way for me to describe it.

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The super-strength plastic tunnel offers visitors a chance to feel as if they too live in the ocean. Photo by Olivia Malick

There’s a lot of things to look at here. Half the fun of my trip was watching all of the kids with their parents experiencing sea life maybe for the first time.

The aquarium is not only aquatic, but there’s also a rainforest exhibit which features an anaconda, lizards and multi-colored frogs.

Know before you go: When you first walk into the aquarium after purchasing tickets, a picture is taken of you (or your group) in front of a green screen which you can purchase later. It might be a money-grab, but I don’t regret buying a keepsake that I’ll cherish forever.

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We look like we’ve just escaped a cult, but I love this.

If you ever find yourself in Brighton, consider checking out Sea Life Brighton, especially if you have children. The aquarium may be geared towards a younger generation, but you can enjoy the ocean and its beautiful creatures at any age.

Additional photos by Olivia Malick

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Admission information can be found here.

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