Looking back at the photos, I am not sure, even for my Moshi Monster Mad kids, that having Moshi Monsters at the Sea Life centre, was the main attraction. Beforehand my husband and I debated, over a cup of tea, about how to ‘pitch’ the day to them. Was it about Moshis or was it about sea life?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Moshi Monsters, I videoed some children recently talking about their favourite toys and I was really amazed by the way they suddenly came alive on camera when talking about their Moshi Monsters. They were so verbal and full of their own stories about the characters, so full of play ideas. I think they are a great toy for encouraging imagination to develop.
There’s a Moshi swap shop where your kids can swop figures, there’s a Moshi trail where you can hunt the Moshis in the tanks and there are Moshi characters available for photo opportunities. You can also have a photo taken against a Moshi green screen. If you’ve been before its a new way of looking at the exhibitions and a great chance to swap a Moshi figure too.
My 7yo had a good crack at finding Moshi Monsters at the Sea life Centre, there are six hidden in tanks around the centre and diligently filled in her quiz questions too. She learnt a few things from answering the questions, we now know what mermaid’s purse is and what it contains for example and how many seahorses babies are born each time.
My 7yo completed this quiz, but lost interest when she realised the prize was a Moshi token for the online game, as did I, as we have been trying to avoid paying out for it, maybe I should, what do you think, is it worth it?
My 5yo was happy to forgo the Moshi hunt on paper and just steam round looking at the tanks. My daughter had eagle eyes and spotted all six.
I think they were more interested in the sea life at the end of the day, and whenever museums have quizzes I sometimes think they encourage kids to rush rather than just take things in. Although, it is lovely to see my 7yo take charge and own a new space like a museum full of confidence and ready to tackle the clues, it slowed her down too, so we could take in more.
Last time we went there weren’t any Gentoo penguins. I was in two minds about this. It was an utterly incredible privilege to watch, Gentoos are the fastest swimmers of all penguins – Mr A was awestruck by the way they leap out of the water a spilt second from the edge, I loved watching the way the penguins interacted with the keepers and the children, watching them is fascinating, they are clearly very cheeky and curious. They are from Antarctica and it is easy to replicate their climate in a tank. But I just kept seeing that scene in Happy Feet…
Then the 3D film was a ten minute version of Happy Feet, with its message about working together to make the world better for sea life. Sea Life centres are involved in conservation and in education, they definitely got us thinking about important messages like dwindling penguin colonies, conservation, recycling, picking up rubbish at the sea side. Ultimately the penguins looked happy and healthy and protected from harm of predators, rubbish and losing their land to humans. I would love to see them have more room though.
I have been looking up more facts about where all the sea life in the centre comes from, I know The Gentoos were bred bred together at Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Centre in Auckland. Over 150 turtles and seals were rescued by Sea Life in the last month. I found an article explaining one of the turtles in a centre was rescued from a meat factory with horrible conditions, to go from this to having your own tank must be incredible. I discovered the penguins are part of the Breed, Rescue, Protect programme, they are also studied by PhD students. The centres also breed enough seahorses not to take them out of the wild and discourage visitors from doing so.
My kids were really enthused by what they saw, getting so close to nature and wildlife is a real privilege and an inspiration.
Moshi Monsters at the Sea Life Centre, Birmingham until 31st August 2014.