We travelled by train, and our first stop was the Sea Life Centre, which has recently re-opened after being refurbished. For me there are two things which really set this Sea Life Centre apart from the others in the chain that I've visited. The first is the stunning, historical building, which has been an aquarium since 1872 and which I used to visit as a child when it was a dolphinarium (the dolphins are long gone now!). The second is that, because it is so old, some of the creatures have clearly been there for a long time and have grown accordingly. There are some truly enormous eels, fish and crabs!
Then we walked underneath the pier and visited the Penny Arcade Museum, a free museum with a collection of penny machines that you can use by inserting old pennies. Also somewhere that I used to visit when I was little with my Grandma, although as she had her own collection of old pennies we didn't need to buy them! I bought 10 for £1.20 and managed to win some more, so we had enough for a good go. They were mainly pinball style games to play, and Harry was able to operate them too.
|Holding on tight in the wind!|
Then we walked up on to the Palace Pier. It was very windy and yet I was amazed to see people actually swimming in the sea! We went into the amusement arcade and I changed some money so that Harry could have a go on the 2p sliding machines. He loved it, and he won a few times so that pleased him (although of course all the money that you win goes straight back in!)
We walked back through the town and past the Pavillion. I was hoping that he might remember it from watching The Snowman but he didn't seem to, hopefully next time he watches the film he will remember actually seeing it! We had a sit down in the park outside, or at least I did, while I encouraged him to burn off some energy by running about chasing seagulls and pigeons.
|Run free, and chase those pigeons|
I decided that then it was time for me to be a bit selfish so I took him to the Brighton Bead Shop, which is wonderful. I parked him in a corner with a box of raisins (it wasn't very pushchair friendly) and I had a quick run round, sorting out differently priced beads into little plastic bags. I only spent £2 and managed to acquire a nice selection of pretty beads. I have something in mind for them so watch this space!
Our final planned activity of the day was a hike up the hill to the Brighton Toy and Model Museum, which is located underneath the station. It was £4 for me and Harry was free. It may seem expensive for a small museum, but it was well worth it, and we spent longer there than at the Sea Life Centre. There are hundreds of toys and models to see, with an emphasis on trains but also other vehicles, various construction kits and other toys like puppets and toy kitchens. There were two working train layouts, one ran continously and the other was operated by a button. Harry loved just standing on a chair and waiting for the trains to go past over and over again, and he was also delighted by the rest of the museum. (Look Mummy, a car! Look Mummy, a tractor! This tractor has a trailer! and so on).
|In his favourite place of the day, the Toy and Model Museum|
I thought that this was the end of our day, seeing as though we were now back up at the station, but Harry announced that he didn't want to go home yet, so I found us a cafe for a sit down, a hot chocolate and a brownie. Then it was back to the station, with a very tired little boy!
|Unfortunately I had to finish most of the brownie...|