SOUTHEND’S new and improved Sea Life Adventure is set to be otter-ly brilliant!

Following a £680,000 revamp, the popular attraction will open its doors to the public from Saturday.

It has almost doubled in size and now features lots of new animal attractions - including otters, penguins, meerkats and a Royal Python.

The centre has been closed for five weeks while the work was carried out.

Sea Life Adventure director Lucy Hodge said: “It’s been a massive redevelopment, allowing us to include some major additions to the aquarium.

“These included installing a huge new tank to house some real, monsters of the sea that we have rescued mainly from individuals who buy them as babies and don’t realise how large they get!”

Amongst the new additions are two Asian short clawed otters who have come to Southend from Newquay Zoo, in Cornwall.

The family of three meerkats were originally kept at Dundee’s Camperdown Wildlife Centre. The penguins are Essex birds, having made the relatively short hop down to Southend from Colchester Zoo.

All of the new creatures are either rescued or captive born but overcrowded in their present homes.

Lucy added: “These new developments and additions to Sea Life take us to a whole new level.

“With more exhibits and exciting animals than ever before, we have been able to create a vast array of brand new interactive experiences, such as a Tropical rockpool, so you’ll now be able to hold the crabs and starfish as well as some exciting new reptile and bug encounters!”

“By doing all of this, we aim to engage far more deeply in promoting and raising public awareness of environmental conservation and protecting animals that are constantly threatened by the modern world. As part of this development, Sea Life Adventure has joined the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and we are looking forward to working with them to promote conservation awareness. We’d also like to thank Matt Ford, from Specialist Wildlife Services, for his help with the development. ”

Marc Miller, managing director of the Stockvale Group, Sea Life Adventure’s parent company, believes the £680,000 development of the iconic seafront landmark will have broader benefits. He said: “Our policy of regularly re-investing in and enhancing our portfolio of attractions has a positive impact on Southend.”

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