During a trip to Mooloolaba late last year, on the one day of our trip that it rained, we decided to take the kiddies to Underwater World SEA LIFE thinking we could while away the hours looking at wet things instead of being wet.
Underwater World is touted as one of THE places to go on the Sunshine Coast, and has a fancy, shiny website to promote the attraction. Being a water baby at heart, but unable to scuba dive on the break I thought it would be good to show our girls why I like to go diving, hoping that one day they will be as hooked on the real underwater world as I am.
Boy was I disappointed. It should be call Underwhelming Underwater World.
There was construction work in progress on our visit, which usually isn’t a problem – I’m all for progress, but when a number of sections of an attraction are closed off as a result of ongoing works it should be reflected in the entrance price. Instead, we were given a discount voucher towards our next visit, which is of little use to most people like us on a short break, I would wager.
The exhibits were unkempt and sad looking, with much of the marine life kept in compartments that seem too small to be comfortable. It reminds me of some shoddy zoos I’ve visited, some of which I’ve vowed never to return to.
I hope a large portion of the money they charge goes to improving the entire attraction, including the animals’ living quarters, not just to build new enticing sections.
Or maybe I’m too spoiled by travel and have had the luxury of visiting some wonderfully-run marine attractions in my time. I may not always agree with what goes on within them, but I do recognise their role in conservation.
The Ocean Walk Through experience is a great opportunity to see marine life up close and personal if diving isn’t your thing, but it was a bit too scary for my four- and two-year-old daughters. The touch-tank and the Finding Nemo section, where the fish species that appear in the movie of the same name are displayed, held their attention for about five minutes, but they seemed to be more interested in running up and down the long ramps between floors!
Maybe when the revamp of the centre is finished and the kids are a little older it might be worth a return visit, but I’m not convinced.
Still, I did manage to capture the lovely image above of two cownose rays gliding around the tank, and came away planning my next dive trip… with rays. Exciting!
Details: Underwater World SEA LIFE, Mooloolaba, Queensland
Price: $104 for a family of four. Book online for a 20% discount (which we should have done!)