SEA LIFE Brighton, the world’s oldest operating aquarium, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

The attraction was opened formally to the public on the 10th August 1872, by Brighton’s mayor Cordy Burrows. The aquarium was imagined and invented by Eugenius Birch, the famous pier engineer and designer of Brighton’s West Pier. The iconic Italianate building cost £133,000 and extended for 700 feet along the base of the city’s clifftop, with a large entrance hall that led into the main corridor of the aquarium, which was a staggering 224 feet long and lined with large tanks.

To commemorate the iconic milestone, SEA LIFE is focusing on a year-long of events and occasions to pay tribute to both the history and evolution of the aquarium since it first landed 150 years ago.

Throughout the year on selected dates SEA LIFE Brighton will be offering historical and behind the scenes tours of the aquarium. Guests will be able to look back at the history of the attraction, whilst learning about the amazing sea creatures that now call it home as they get an insight into the day-to-day tasks of the staff who work there.

Neil Harris, SEA LIFE Brighton’s General Manager said: “Here at SEA LIFE Brighton, we’re proud and honoured to hold the title of the world’s oldest operating aquarium. With this being our 150th anniversary, we wanted to host a range of activities throughout the year for guests of all ages to enjoy, so we can showcase the amazing history behind our attraction.

“We also would love to see guests who have visited the attraction throughout the decades to share their memories, photos and any other content they have with us, so we can display the many years of wonderful memories that have been created in this building.”

Since operating as a SEA LIFE centre, the 150-year-old building has received an investment of over £10 million in the last 20 years, to ensure the historical architectural building remains intact and prominent within Brighton’s community.

Father and son look very happy whilst exploring the jellyfish in the aquarium at SEA LIFE Brighton.

It often feels like you are underwater with the fish, but there is always time to stop and pose for the cameras!

Fun attractions throughout, including light up spots as you jump in a simulated rain storm. There are also VR headsets for children 5 and over, plus those big kids too.

Other activities provide photo opportunities, be they do it yourself or the lovely green screen helpers at the front of SEA LIFE as you enter.

It’s easy to get lost in thought while attempting to spy on every different underwater creature.

SEA LIFE Brighton has lots of tanks at all heights.

But some fish are harder to spot than others.

Everyone loves the underwater tunnels though. SEA LIFE Brighton has a small Clownfish one, where you can find many Nemos, but they also have a spectacular larger tunnel where three fabulous turtles live. A must-do experience to feel one with the ocean.

To be involved in SEA LIFE Brighton’s celebratory events throughout the year, make sure to follow the attraction’s social channels and monitor its website. To book a visit to the world’s oldest operating aquarium, please see details below.

SEA LIFE Brighton
Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1TB
01273 647707