It is no secret I am a big fan of fish. (The living ones anyways… I’m not so enthusiastic about the kind covered in batter, and smothered in salt & vinegar)! So when I was invited along to a sneak preview of the new Manchester Sealife Centre, I was more than a little bit excited!
Sealife Manchester is located in the Barton Square area of the Trafford Centre, so has LOTS of free parking! The outside of the Manchester Sea Life Centre looks like this…
(Big thanks to Emma at Mum Mum Heart for the cheesey photo)!
Inside Sealife Manchester
Once you go through the doors, you’re greeted by a bright, exciting colour scheme. This is continuous throughout the entire Sea Life Centre. In the foyer area, there’s a huge fish tank to keep the kids entertained, while parents pay the entrance fee. Once you have paid, you enter the first “Zone”.
I don’t want to give away everything, as you’ll have no surprises when you visit for yourself, so I will share a few of my favourite parts:
The School Room inside Sealife Manchester
The School Room is a futuristic, hologram based “lesson” on Turtles. The Dads will love this bit. I was immediately reminded of Holly from Red Dwarf when I saw the hologram of the baby turtles scuttling over the beach. One thing to bare in mind: it is dark! There is plenty to see, but the room itself is very dark, so watch out for other people’s toes (or ankles – if you’re pushing a pram, like I was)!
The Rocky Hideout, Shark Shipwreck and Coral Reef areas kind of blurred into one. These were my favourite part of the experience. The attention to detail in these areas was amazing. The “scenery” was almost as impressive as the fish – who all seemed very healthy and very happy! I could have stood there forever, watching.
The Underwater Ocean Tunnel is the thing most people go to the Sealife Centre for. It was good, but I felt obliged to hurry through, as people behind were trying to get past me. I couldn’t go back through again with my pram, as I was going “against the current”.
I was hoping my toddler would get a lot out of SeaLife Manchester, but he slept through it all. My 11 Month old enjoyed parts of it, but she was a bit young really.
Here are some photos from our day at Sealife Manchester.
There were screens dotted around to educate you on the types of creatures in each tank. The older kids seemed to really enjoy them. (I couldn’t have a look at them all, as my baby was cranky and crying every time the pram stopped moving). The few I saw were informative and educational, and fun for kids too.
A few of the areas weren’t open, so I didn’t see the Jellyfish Seas, Behind The Scenes or Conservation Cove. The Sub Aqua Play area wasn’t open either, but based on the limited view I got, it did look very good.
One thing which is worth noting is the lack of a cafe in SeaLife Manchester. This said to me that The Sea Life Centre is a great place to spend a rainy afternoon, but not somewhere to spend all day. You have got Legoland Discovery Centre right next to it though. So you can buy a combined ticket to visit both attractions on the same day, if you like. If you do this, I would visit the sealife centre first, and then Legoland. There is a cafe, soft play and lots of things to keep the kids happy in Legoland, which would lengthen your day in my opinion, and get you maximum value for money.
The thing I was looking forward to the most was Sea Trek – this gives you the chance to put on a wetsuit, and an astronaut stylee helmet, and walk among the fish! Your hair and make up won’t even get wet!
Manchester Sea Life Centre is the first place in Europe offering this experience! It
costs £60pp and that includes entry to the Sea Life Centre.
The experience lasts for 1 hour, but 50 minutes of that is safety training. You get 10 minutes in the water with the fish! Persons over the age of 8 are allowed to join in. All you have to take with you is your swimwear and a towel – everything else is provided!
I would love to do a Sea Trek. I am definitely going to be asking hubby for this experience as a gift ASAP!
Getting back to the Sea Life Centre experience as a whole… Did I enjoy it? YES! Would I go again? YES! Would I go again while the kids are still in pushchairs? NO!
My 11 month daughter was quite bored at times. I think children aged 3+ definitely get a lot more out of The Sea Life Centre than babies or toddlers do. As a parent, I had a nice time, but I would have spent longer in each area if my baby hadn’t been so bored.
Conclusion: Sea Life Centre Manchester gets two thumbs up from us, as a great place to spend a few hours on a rainy day. There’s lots of amazing displays, lots to learn and plenty to keep children entertained. It was a lot more accessible than the Blackpool Sealife centre, and a wheelchair user would have no problems.
This is not a sponsored post. We were given free entry for the purposes of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.
ONE FINAL NOTE: Since this post was written, we’ve visited Sealife Manchester a lot. Read my other posts here.