We were recently invited to Sea Life Manchester, located at Barton Square, intu Trafford Centre to meet a couple of its new residents which includes the Giant Japanese Spider Crabs and a Giant Pacific Octopus as well as crawl amongst the fluorescent world of 100 floating moon jellyfish. Our kids were so excited when they knew we were heading there as we have never visited Sea Life before and this has been on their must see places for a very long time. Do read on to find out more about our family review of the place, to see more photos and to watch a short video about the place. Sea Life is a great place to head to for a fun family day our if you are around Manchester.
Sea Life is located at Barton Square at intu Trafford Centre, we would totally recommend parking at the mall and just walking over to Barton Square which can be easily accessed from the mall on the first floor. There are plenty of signages around so its easy to get there. We could not wait to visit the aquarium and to see the 5,000 amazing sealife living there.
Sea Life is also located close to Legoland Manchester and if you are spending a whole day there, we would totally recommend you to get a Combi ticket to Legoland and Sea Life as its cheaper. We did just that as we headed to Legoland in the morning, had lunch then visited Sea Life afterwards. We had plenty of time and would recommend getting the combi tickets anytime. If you are heading there on a Sunday, do note that although the mall is not open untill 11 am, Sea Life is open from 10am, so it nice and quiet if you want to head there early and get a great parking spot.
Registration was quick and easy as the staff at the Reception Desk were very helpful. There was a lovely Aquarium there to keep our kids entertained while we waited and a sign board on the wall to let us know what was happening on the day. For example, There was Talks on Ocean, Outraygeous Rays, Turtle Sea Time, Jawsome Sharks, Meet the Rangers as well as Feeding Times. This meant we could keep tab on the time as we went around looking at the amazing fishes and sea life there.
Walking in, it was really dark (so mind the photos as no flash was allowed). We started our visit by stepping into an interactive 3D Turtle Beach experience where a ranger talked to us about the life of a sea turtle with visual projections as well as sound accompaniment. We learnt about these incredible creatures through their life cycle from the egg to the sea. The kids found this totally magical and stayed really quiet through the whole process.
Here’s a short photo and HD video of our visit to Sea Life Manchester, as you can see it was just simply amazing and hypnotising to watch the northern sea nettle jelly fish, giant turtles, sharks and other sea life, we (adults) enjoyed the visit as much as the kids, there was so much to see and experience and learn as well. Do watch a short clip of the rangers talking to our kids about the animals too, we found it very educational, interactive and very hands on. Our kids had the opportunity to also talk to the ranger and touch the chocolate chip star fish as well as a snake.
Next, we were greated with lots of fishes and this was amazing, both our kids were totally bewildered and loved being in a huge giant tank with all sorts of colourful fish and sealife. My daughter immediately decided that she wanted a seahorse as her pet. Here’s a photo of the Lionfish. Details about the each fish, its habitat, its food and threats is clearly stated on a board next to the fish, so kids could easily read it and understand more about each species.
Here’s the much anticipated new feature Lair of the Giant Crabs. Which are two Giant Japanese Spider Crabs, measuring a breath-taking three metres from claw-to-claw, we were told that they are about 50 years old and can grow up to double the size when they reach 100 years old.
Here’s another photo of the Giant Crabs, the best thing about the aquarium is that its lighted in the inside (so you can see the crabs clearly) and also the glass is somewhat similar to a magnifying glass so it helps enlarge your view to see the sealife a lot bigger than it actually is. Totally loved this aspect as some of the fishes were really small and we wanted to have a good look at it. By the way, did you know that although Japanese spider crabs can live for up to 100 years, their limbs can be very weak – to escape danger, juvenile crabs can camouflage their shell using debris from the sea floor.
We continued our tour and enjoyed looking at a variety of fishes, it felt we were inside the aquarium at times.
Here is one example of how interactive Sea Life is. There are lots of activities that the kids can participate in, including the one below which is a photo of our daughter warming the turtle egg to see if it was a boy or girl turtle.
There were lots of fabulous sea corals in the aquarium. We loved the fact that Sea Life Manchester allows us to experience the ocean’s hidden marvels, and there were also lots of staff around at hand who were happily answering our questions. Sea Life is big on breeding, rescuing and protecting sea life and they have developed a system of care thanks to their marine biologists.
Here is another interactive game for the kids to stop and play which they just loved doing as they got so involved in it.
There was also a photo booth to get your photo taken by a professional and you could later view it and purchase it as a sourvenir to bring back home.
Here’s our son crawling amongst the fluorescent world of 100 floating moon jellyfish in a brand new 360-degree doughnut tank with over 100 Snipefish. He just loved it. By the way, did you know that Moon jellyfish are carnivorous animals, and their menu includes minute plankton, fish eggs, and larval crabs and shrimp?
Another thing which is great about Sealife Manchester is that there are a lot of places where kids can just stop and chill out for a while. This includes tables for them to do some colouring as well as an indoor play area which was a hit with our kids. Its not a big play area but good enough for a 10 to 15 minutes break from looking at the fishes. There are lots of benches around as well for adults so we had lots of opportunity to just sit down and admire the fishes that were swimming around us.
As you can see, big smiles at the play area, they loved it.
Here’s a photo of Sea Life’s lovely souvenir shop with lots of fish and sea animal themed gifts if you would like to bring home a momento.
Things to note:
- You are welcomed to take photos but do note that flash is not allowed
- If you would like guaranteed entry and to skip waiting, remember to book your tickets online
- If you are thinking of visiting both Sea Life Mancester and Legoland Manchester (which is located just next to each other) then a Combi ticket would be recommended. Also check their websites or cereal packets for Buy 1 Free 1 Discount coupons
- There is disable /pram access, speak to staff about this if you need one
- Remember to find out the times of any talks, demonstrations and feeds that is taking on the day so you don’t miss out on any of it
Where is Sea Life Manchester Located?
Sea Life Manchester
The Trafford Centre
What are their Opening Hours for Sea Life?
Monday to Sunday – 10am until 6pm (except Christmas Day). Shortened time on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
How much is the entrance fee for Sea Life?
The entrance fee for Sea Life may seem expensive on its own but if you get family tickets or combi tickets to Legoland Manchester then it will seem be cheaper. Also do look out for BUY one FREE one discount tickets usually found on serial boxes or their website. For full rates, head to their website here.
* We were provided with free entry passes to visit Sea Life Manchester in return for a review. All opinions are our own.