A visit to the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham on Saturday was a real treat for the Podlings and a special reward for filling their marble jar. We award the Podlings marbles for kind and helpful behaviour and take them away for unkind behaviour and disobedience. Their collective good behaviour fills the jar, so when the jar is full we agree on a special treat that the whole family can enjoy. A trip to somewhere like this (i.e. somewhere expensive!) is very rare for us and therefore even more special. The day was much anticipated by the Podlings and we had some excited little people in the car at the start of the journey!
They were a little more subdued by the time we had driven the hour to Birmingham and navigated the city to find the car park Mark had sought out beforehand. We tend to avoid cities and the Podlings were fascinated by the tall buildings and the general business of the place. Fascinated, and I am pleased to say, slightly horrified! We are definitely happier in the countryside! The aquarium was absolutely heaving when we arrived, which Tom found hard to cope with. With hindsight, we should have chosen a quieter time to arrive, but not knowing how long it would take us to go around the aquarium and given how much it cost we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time. We will know for next time, although given how expensive it was I am not sure when that will be!
Gradually the crowds spread out and we all started to relax and enjoy what we came to see...the fish! We had a lovely visit and we all particularly loved the walkthrough tunnel at the end where the fish (including sharks!) swim all around you. Alex still talks about the fish swimming "under our toes". I loved watching Alex taking it all in and the older Podlings all delighted in showing him everything and lifting him up so he could see better. Lily, Emma and Alex had a play in the small soft play area at the end of the aquarium before we went to the gift shop where they were allowed to choose a souvenir. The final part of the treat was KFC for tea, which all four of the Podlings absolutely love.
We loved our special day out, though I think we all agree we would prefer to visit at a quieter time. Emma was crying at the end of the day because she had had such a nice day and was so sad that the day was over. I hope it will be one of those pleasant 'Do you remember...?' days we will all look fondly back on in future years. It was such a lovely day.
Excited Podlings at the start of the journey (yes, I did adjust Alex's shoulder straps before we set off, in case anyone was worried!)
They loved that the fish swam underneath them