Our parental caffeine gathering/toddler energy burning quest in Torquay quickly brought us to the Living Coasts; a bit of an impulse as it was only noticed in the guidebook in the car when looking for a parking lot. I’m really glad my caffeine craving brain sent us to what the guidebook described as worth it even if just for the views from the cafe.
There are walk through penguins (mostly Macaroni and African ones for those of you who like your penguins), thankfully less smelly than your average zoo and with added puffins. Other awesome stuff included a crawl through fish tank tunnel, a giant bubble into the seal tank, random round cushions to throw around, an odd animatronic great white shark plus all your standards: rays, fish, etc. The pirate themed crafts area at the end was an added bonus, although the toddlers were knackered by the time we got to it and I was a little confused by the knitted fish.
Food: the cafe is ok, the views and the convenience is the best part. Thoughtfully they do a couple of toddler meals, smaller than the kids meals and for only £2. Make sure you stress the toddler bit, they tried to charge us for a bigger meal she wouldn’t eat anyways. Mac & cheese with garlic bread is pretty well targeted, but of course all she wanted was all the ham off my ploughmans.
Changing: unisex, next to the toilets in the cafe. We didn’t require them this visit, but there were a little smelly from passing by.
Parking: pay and display right underneath
Verdict: More wildlife than you can shake a stick at, relatively empty even on a bank holiday weekend and right on the seafront – definitely worth a visit.