Okay the glass used to build the tanks must be able to withstand the weight of several tons of water, but somehow the idea that the only thing between you and the nine foot of shark circling below your feet
is a pane of glass is still pretty disturbing. This is of course once you have negotiated the scrum of families engaged in the post-cold war arms race to see who has the largest SUV sized pushchair at the cashdesk of London’s Sea Life Centre on the south bank. The Shark Reef Encounter tank
rises through all three floors of the London Sea Life Centre and is home to sixteen rather large sharks. Funny thing is viewed from below, the notion that the huge quantity of water pressing against the enormous tank’s side weighs far more than you do never enters your mind, as you watch the sharks with their beady little eyes,
and mouths full of sharp teeth sweeping through the water. The sharks share their environment with a number of other creatures including the guitar fish,
which with its flattened shape is somewhere betweeen a shark and a ray.
As we explored the Sea Life Centre we encountered the denizens of the Atlantic,
the tropical reefs,
the rain forest
and the River Thames itself. There is even an Antarctic penguin environment.
Smaller visitors can meet some of the Sea Life Centre’s denizens in touch pools, but touching is very much out-of-order for others.
Aside from the hordes of OPKs (Other People’s Kids) who’s only objective seemed to be getting under our feet in their frantic search for Nemo, I enjoyed my visit to the London Sea Life Centre, but at £20.70 to get in it is actually more expensive than a visit to London Zoo, which if you only have limited time in the capital has an excellent aquarium as well of lots of other animals.