A Trip To Sea Life Manchester

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We have been able to have a few days out this week as my gorgeous OH has been off school for half term. Today we took a trip to Sea Life Manchester. Here is what we thought.



A Trip to Sea Life Manchester

A Trip To Sea Life Manchester

Sea Life Manchester is located at Barton Square, which is right next to the Trafford Centre in Manchester. Easily accessed by train and bus links, we chose to drive from Leeds by car.

The Trafford centre is about an hour away with good traffic. Just off the M60, there is ample parking. We arrived just after Sea Life opened at 10 am, and it is open until 6pm, though last admission is 5pm.

You can buy tickets online for a discount and there are lots of deals. Walk up ticket price at time of writing is £19.95 per adult. Children are £15.95, but Elizabeth was free as she is under 3. Be aware, there may be queues if you haven’t bought tickets online. But because we got there as soon as it opened there were none.

The journey around the centre starts like a lot of attractions do these days. You are let through in groups of about 20 or so into an initial holding section, where they have some screens telling you what you may see on your visit.

You can choose whether or not to have a group photo taken (so they can then sell you these photos later on the tour!). Actually the family behind us declined to have a group shot, and it wasn’t a problem. When the father of the group was asked by one of the children why they couldn’t have a photo he stated that he was a vampire and couldn’t have his photo taken. Nice one Dad! (Stored for future use.)

Then your group is taken into the next holding section where they did a very clever hologram projection piece on how turtles hatch and find their way around the oceans. It was really well done, and even kept Elizabeth’s toddler attention span.

The Attraction

The reason for both holding sections is that you are then released into the attraction proper, and by keeping each release to 20 people or so every 5 minutes it prevents too many bottlenecks and too many people cramming to see each tank.

The tanks are really beautiful, and there are lots of nooks and crannies for little people to almost get inside the tanks. In fact, there are several proper mini tunnels where children can get under and see the tank from the inside.

A Trip to Sea Life Manchester

The exhibits are really amazing. We saw

  • Sharks
  • Turtles
  • Seahorses (the largest that I have ever seen)
  • Stingrays
  • Jellyfish

and so many more. There was a larger tunnel to walk through, where the sharks and turtles drifted just above you, smaller tanks with clown fish (Nemo fish) and even a touching pool where we got to stroke a starfish.

One of the fish made me chuckle. Not the prettiest of fish, but it has the best name. I’m definitely adding that to my list of go-to insults this week!.

A Trip to Sea Life Manchester

Finally the last tank in the exhibit is the giant spider crabs. These are massive crabs that really do look like spiders with incredibly long legs. Anyone who has ever seen ‘Starship Troopers’ would be pretty afraid of these!

And, you go through a gate into the gift shop. As responsible parents of a 3 year old, we picked up our daughter at this point before she attached herself to any stuffed toy. It’s harsh but it keeps our child from adding to the ever increasing mound of fake animals.

How long did we spend there?

All in all it took us about 70 minutes to walk around the centre. Though we didn’t spend any time in the soft play area in the middle of the tour, as that was quite busy.

We also rushed through the special events that were going on for Halloween. They have a Sea Witch Treasure Hunt as a special attraction at the moment. You have to look for 5 things in the tanks that the sea witch needs. Elizabeth didn’t want to meet the Sea Witch (although she looked very friendly to be fair!) and a helper got her some treasure for doing the hunt. There were also some singing pumpkins (very akin to the singing busts of Disney’s Haunted Mansion). Elizabeth declared that she now doesn’t like pumpkins! Good job there isn’t a big holiday coming up that features pumpkins heavily….oh damn!

Our Verdict

We actually thought that almost £20 each as an adult admission is a bit steep for spending just over an hour. But in fairness there is a lot to see, and Elizabeth just isn’t old enough to spend time reading. I am sure that you could spend a lot more time with an older child really discussing each tank.

The centre is actually a really lovely place, and there is a lot of scope for learning and interaction. The tanks are all very clear. There is a lot of brilliant conservation information. And although there was a queue and it was half term, it wasn’t too busy.

Parking is free, and you are right next door to the Trafford Centre and other attractions. We may have taken advantage of the offer to upgrade to see Legoland Discovery Centre which is right next door, but Elizabeth isn’t really into Lego just yet. We went into the Trafford Centre for lunch and shopping instead. Hey, something for Mum too!

So, thinking of A Trip to Sea Life Manchester, or their other locations around the globe? We would definitely recommend a visit. But maybe try and get an online deal before you go.

We weren’t paid or given free entry for this review, this is our honest opinion of the attraction.

And yes, I bought the photos!

Enjoyed this? Why not read about the fact that You Only Get 18 Summers – whats on your wishlist?

or read about how you cope When a Toddler has a Broken Leg!



Cup of Toast
I was featured on Blogger Showcase
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50 Replies to “A Trip To Sea Life Manchester”

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Elizabeth wanted to go again today, I think fish might be in this week. And definitely no pumpkins!x

      Reply
  1. Anne says:

    I have to agree that Sea Life Centres are a bit pricey. I always look out for vouchers and special offers. I’ve not been to Manchester Sea Life but I’ve been to a few others and the kids love them. Our one in Birmingham has some fantastic penguins that you can view both on land, and through a window swimming in the water. I love the name of that fish 🙂
    #blogcrush

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I think if you have to go when children are older then you definitely need to go online and get discounts. Thank you for commenting!

      Reply
  2. Altynay Smith says:

    We love going to sea life centres. There’s a good one in Hull. Manchester is a bit far for us, but it sounds lovely #blogstravaganza

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      My OH has been to the deep recently and he says it is better than Manchester. And much bigger.

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It’s in such a great spot! Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  3. Chloe Chats says:

    I’ve been to the Sea Life Centre a few times in Birmingham – it’s really fun to look around, there’s so many exotic fish that you wouldn’t usually see! My favourite thing about the one in Birmingham is the penguins, they are very cute. I usually get the tickets online as the deals are a lot better than getting them there! Great post!

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

    Reply
  4. Briony says:

    I love a good sea life centre but only ever visit when we have a discount voucher as we never manage to spend more than an hour at any of the ones we’ve visited and full price is just too much #blogstravaganza

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      That was exactly what we thought too! Thank you for reading!

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It really is a great place. Lots more things on the area to do too! Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  5. Jo - Cup of Toast says:

    The Birmingham Sealife Centre is our closest. We always look for offers too although the boys love it so we do spend a good amount of time there now they’re a bit older. Thanks for sharing your day out with #Blogstravaganza 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I agree, when they are a little older they take a bit more time to look at each exhibit. Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  6. Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs says:

    I think most attractions like these are a little over-priced, so always best to get some deals online prior to going. I haven’t been to Manchester Sea Life but Birmingham is fab.

    Thanks for sharing with #MMBC. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Jayne. Lots of great feedback for the Birmingham site!

      Reply
  7. Coombe Mill - Fiona says:

    It looks a great visit, educational and enjoyable. I’ve not been to a sealife centre in years though we do have a good one in Plymouth. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I hadn’t been to one since 2002! Sometimes its good to have a child to get to do these things again!

      Reply
  8. Nige says:

    Looks a fab place to visit never been got to make the effort Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It really is good. But definitely best to go online and get discounts!

      Reply
  9. Tracey Bowden says:

    Just popping back again from #KCACOLS. We have actually planned to visit again in November with my youngest niece and nephew who love things like this! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

    Reply
  10. Lana says:

    This is a little far for me since I am in the US. LOL. 🙂 But it sounds amazing and the pictures are beautiful. I wish we had something like this closer to where we live but the closest aquarium is about 5 hours away. 🙁 Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      That’s such a shame. We are so blessed in this country, but cramped sometimes!

      Reply
  11. Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au says:

    We have a place like this in our capital city and we paid for our kids and ourselves (4 adults) to go and take our little 2yr old granddaughter as her birthday present. The ticket price was pretty steep for us too but it was a lovely experience and something none of the adults would have gone to if it wasn’t for the excuse of taking a toddler and watching her reactions.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Their reactions are priceless. And it was worth the ticket price for us to to hear her tell her nana and grandma all about ‘the giant crab spider’

      Reply
  12. Carol Cameleon says:

    We’ve been to a Sealife a couple of times and without the discounts, I’ve always thought it’s quite pricey. They don’t do these holding areas either, which I think is a good idea for the reasons you point out. #kcacols

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      We certainly felt that the holding areas helped us to get to see everything really well. But yes, I’d definitely look for discounts next time.

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you! Sadly I’ve not had a reason to use it as an insult yet!

      Reply
  13. Daydreams of a Mum says:

    Small girl adores this place , unfortunately her mum has a horrid fish phobia so I stay well away. That’s definitely a daddy activity !! #blogcrush

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Sometimes its good that only Daddy has to go, then he can pay!

      Reply
  14. Debbie says:

    Hi Jo, the entry price does seem a little steep for the length of time you are in Sea World, but then again how much does it cost to run an aquarium like that? Walking through a tunnel where the sea creatures swim above you must be surreal and fascinating… I almost feel sorry for that poor lumpsucker, not only was it not blessed with the prettiest of looks, but its name does it no justice too.

    Thank you for linking up with #keepingitreal.

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…The Keeping It Real Link Up #38My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Oh I agree Debbie, it must be a very expensive place to run. And it was immaculate! Definitely worth a visit regardless of the price. But I never sniff at an online discount!

      Reply
  15. Madeline (This Glorious Life) says:

    I’ve still never been to a sea life centre like this, and I really want to go! This sounds like a good place to visit with the children, but it does seem quite expensive to me for how long you actually spend there. x #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      We possibly could have spent a bit longer. It really is a lovely place though!

      Reply
  16. Becka @ Becka's Bubble says:

    We nearly went here last Monday but we wanted to do LegoLand too and the timings didn’t fit in so we went to The Deep instead. My kids love an aquarium! #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      The Deep sounds like a great place to visit too. Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  17. Colette says:

    I agree – I do think the price is hefty for the amount of time you spend there. We’ve visited a few times and find it a little small and claustrohphobic. We often feel rushed around the attractions by the people behind us and you can’t really get back to see things again. It’s definitely not my favourite aquarium.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I think that it was reasonably quiet because we went early, but if it gets much busier I’m sure it’s not as easy to see things!

      Reply
  18. Ali Duke says:

    We have a Sealife centre not too far from us, we have been there a few times. It has a few outdoor attractions too so you can spend quite a lot of the day there.
    #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      They don’t have an outdoor bit in Manchester, possibly because space is at a premium, but I can see how that would be a great bonus. Thank you for reading!

      Reply

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