Merlin Entertainments and marine conservation charity SEA LIFE TRUST today announce a partnership with Yoto, the award-winning company behind the critically acclaimed screen-free audio players for kids, Yoto Player and Yoto Mini. The collaboration allows children to bring home the wonder and education of their aquatic experiences at Merlin’s SEA LIFE aquariums and the SEA LIFE TRUST’s Sanctuaries through a brand-new card in the BrainBots series, called “BrainBots: Sea Defenders”. Each Yoto card represents an individual story allowing children to self-select and insert into their Yoto Player, allowing them to listen to story in an inspirational and age-appropriate way.
BrainBots: Sea Defenders is an audio adventure for kids that teaches them all about how to care for our oceans. Inspired by Merlin Entertainments’ own SEA LIFE ‘Sea Defender Teacher Resources’ (a range of materials and resources to help educate students about protecting the world’s oceans), the teams at both SEA LIFE aquariums (the largest global aquarium chain) and the SEA LIFE TRUST charity team worked closely with the Yoto Originals team on the content of the audio adventure.
The story features the BrainBots – Nellie, Buzz and Gibbs who go off on an adventure, undertaking training to earn their Sea Defenders upgrade. The trio explore the world’s oceans and learn what we can do to protect them. The tale features real SEA LIFE animals including Dougie the Sea Turtle in Costa Rica, Jazz the Seahorse in England and Wilma the Zebra Shark in Australia. The audio card takes children on a hilarious fact-filled adventure to learn all about our oceans and how to become a ‘Sea Defender’ themselves. There’s even a quiz at the end to see how many BrainBank facts they can remember.
Merlin x Yoto’s BrainBots: Sea Defenders card will launch on 28th July 2023 on www.yotoplay.com and initially in SEA LIFE aquariums across the UK. Priced at £7.99, 20% of profits will go to the SEA LIFE TRUST, the charity working globally to protect the world's oceans and the marine life that lives within them.
“We believe in the huge power that little adventurers have to help chart a positive course for the future of our planet – a vision that we share with our good friends at SEA LIFE and Merlin Entertainments. Through their network of aquariums, SEA LIFE and their charity the SEA LIFE TRUST make an enormous impact on our oceans and the marine life that call them home, championing the need for plastic-free oceans and an end to over-exploitation of marine life. That’s exactly why we teamed up with them to bring you the latest BrainBots title, Sea Defenders. But it’s not just about pointing kids in the right direction when it comes to taking care of the world around us though. We’re thrilled to be donating 20% of profits directly to the SEA LIFE TRUST to fund their crucial mission too.”Ben Drury, CEO of Yoto
“As the world’s biggest network of aquariums, our mission is to create engaging and immersive marine experiences that inspire our visitors to be future ambassadors of preserving the world’s waters. This first iteration of our partnership with Yoto and our SEA LIFE TRUST charity to develop the BrainBots: Sea Defenders card, helps to continue that educational journey for families and children after they’ve said goodbye to our expert curators and diverse creatures in person. At our 50+ SEA LIFE aquariums, we take care of hundreds of thousands of animals – with a specific focus on animal rehabilitation and conservation. Yoto’s brilliant creative team worked closely with our knowledgeable animal care teams and curators to build the Sea Defenders story which features unique creatures like Sharks and Green Sea Turtles, both of which are on the UN Red List of wild animals which are either endangered or vulnerable and can be admired up close at a SEA LIFE aquarium. At Merlin are passionate and confident that, in leveraging Yoto’s audio platform, we can reach a wider audience of children who will become the next generation of the world’s waters ambassadors.”Scott O'Neil, CEO of Merlin Entertainments
“Inspiring younger generations about the world around us and how to conserve it for the future is absolutely vital. By working on initiatives such as this one with Yoto and Merlin Entertainments, we're helping our young people learn from an early age how important conserving our natural marine environments is, helping to ensure our oceans have a strong and healthy future. It's also about building key values: to inspire, create amazing discoveries, and share knowledge. We look forward to seeing how this journey together progresses, and a huge thank you to the Yoto team for their valued support for SEA LIFE TRUST in this exciting new collaboration.”Graham McGrath, Head of SEA LIFE TRUST
Across the globe, SEA LIFE aquariums work together with the SEA LIFE TRUST to make a difference and raise awareness through both global campaigns such as the Global Beach Clean, as well as through support in their regional communities with local conservation and animal rescue projects. A wide variety of projects are in action around the world, including the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of a range of animals including seals and sea turtles. The recent SEA LIFE TRUST and SEA LIFE joint 24 hour Beach Clean saw 1,643 team members collect almost 3,000kg of litter.
The very first Yoto Player launched on Kickstarter, then promptly sold out in 2019. The second generation Yoto Player was designed with renowned design agency, Pentagram, and launched in early 2020. Sales of the device shot through the roof during the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020, with parents snapping up hundreds of thousands of devices. Yoto Mini — the portable audio player — launched in late 2021.
Now available worldwide with major markets in the UK, France and North America, Yoto launched Yoto Player 3rd Generation on 15th June 2023, retailing at £99.99. The new-and-improved model of Yoto’s award-winning audio player retains all the features that families love, but now boasts improved stereo sound, an extended battery life, an in-built room temperature reader and so much more. There’s not another kids’ speaker out there like it.
Yoto Player (3rd Generation) opens kids’ creative play to a whole new world of potential. Immersive stereo sound, all-day battery life and more, come together in a device that’s built for the adventure of childhood.
About Merlin Entertainments
Merlin Entertainments is a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As Europe's Number 1 and the world's second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin operates over 140 attractions, 23 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 24 countries and across 4 continents. Merlin’s purpose is to deliver memorable experiences to its millions of guests around the world, through its iconic brands and multiple attraction formats, and the commitment and passion of its employees.
About SEA LIFE and the SEA LIFE TRUST
SEA LIFE is the world’s largest family of aquariums, proudly delivering amazing discoveries around the world. From breath-taking underwater tunnels to incredible up-close encounters, guests can dive into the ocean world without getting wet.
Welcoming more than 20 million guests each year to 50 aquariums and six sanctuaries, SEA LIFE cares for over 180,000 creatures living in incredible themed habitats. SEA LIFE has a vision of oceans that are healthy, protected, and full of diverse, wonderful animals and works together with its partner charity, the SEA LIFE TRUST. Their joint focus is to protect these oceans and the amazing marine life within them.
The SEA LIFE TRUST owns and operates marine wildlife sanctuaries (including the world’s first Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland), runs inspiring conservation campaigns and funds projects and education programmes that champion the need to protect our oceans.
Through its global BREED, RESCUE, PROTECT programme and dedicated Conservation, Welfare and Engagement team, SEA LIFE’s team of expert marine biologists pioneer global breeding projects which may one day provide a lifeline to the ocean’s endangered species, as well as nursing sick creatures back to health and returning them to the wild. If they can’t survive in the wild, they are given a safe home for life.