Finding activities that a two year old, and eleven year old and a Spanish speaking Grandad can do together is always somewhat of a challenge. And that’s never more true than at Christmas.. especially when you put Autism into the mix. It’s cold outside, busy inside and unpredictability abounds.
So when the Sealife Centre at Scarborough invited us to sample their Seal Breakfast I jumped at the chance.
So What Did We Love About It?
Getting to really interact with their seals, is something I won’t forget for a long time. I also really loved watching the little man throw the fish to them with great gusto. He loves feeding animals, and although he is timid around people he is fearless around them.
The adventure starts at nine, and the centre didn’t open to the public until eleven, this meant it was really quiet and there were no crowds to contend with.
The staff were lovely, friendly and helpful. Despite two members of staff being off sick and someone else taking on the last minute job of looking after us they did a fantastic job.
Having such a fantastic tour guide meant that we found out lots of interesting facts that we wouldn’t have known otherwise…. for instance that their Humboldt penguins are tolerant of all weathers but really don’t like snow.
How About From An Autism Point Of View?
The fact that the centre is empty as you walk around is fantastic, as it meant that there were no crowds to deal with. Though interestingly and well worth noting the staff told us that the centre is usually very quiet at this time of day, with only 30 visitors in total the previous day despite between 2000 – 3000 visitors per day in the peak of summer. So even without the experience it’s a great time of year to visit.
The guided nature of the tour round the centre, did mean some struggles with transitions for us, as the children are used to wandering at their own pace around. But the guide was kind and helpful throughout.
I realised the importance of preparing the children for good days as well as bad ones. Sometimes we get so carried away with excitement that we forget to prep as well as we should for those days we think will go well… definitely a timely reminder for this time of year.
What Would We Change?
Probably, my own planning more than anything. It’s always difficult the first time you do something new to prepare the children for what to expect. But the staff were so helpful, and I would definitely recommend giving them a call to find out their itinerary for the day in advance so that it’s easier for the children to follow the plan on the day.
Who Would We Recommend It To?
It’s a great day out for families of any age. For those who love seals – and who don’t mind raw fish – or for those with a passion for animals in general, it’s a trip that can’t help but be enjoyed.