16 July to 11 September 2016
Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam
To celebrate the release of Disney Pixar Finding Dory, the SEA LIFE centre have put on a special interactive trail. Where you can learn all about blue tangs (Dory) and clownfish (Nemo). On the trail you can discover real life facts about your favourite Disney Pixar characters. If you complete the trail you receive a reward (the event runs throughout the Summer until 11 September 2016).
I was delighted to be offered the chance to experience this new event with my two children aged 6 and 2½ along with my husband. Although we live approximately 5 minutes drive from SEA LIFE Manchester (situated in the intu Trafford Centre), we have never visited. I have been hoping to take them this summer, so jumped at the chance.
We arrived for the event at 9am to be greeted by a friendly member of staff, who gave us our trail book and crayon and explained that we needed to find to letters that had been hidden around the centre in the tanks.
Armed with our trail books and crayons we set about finding the keys to unlock the rewards we would receive if we cracked the code. My children were extremely excited as soon as we entered the centre. We began our experience with a family photo, which we could view on our exit. We entered the aquarium to be greeted with a dark cave like interior, my son was initially a little scared but he soon came out of his shell when he saw the beautiful fish on show. As we moved around, my children became more captivated by ever tank, from sharks to clown fish to eels. They seemed to love every minute of it. My 6 year old daughter, especially enjoyed the trail. She was so excited every time we came to a new letter.
Around half way into the aquarium is a small soft play area. We stopped here for drinks from the vending machine and to let the little ones let off some steam while we had a rest. It is a great bonus having this extra facility to pack out the experience. The aquarium is quite small so having that little extra entertainment was very refreshing. There are also colouring stations for children to sit at but my children were too excited what was in store for them next.
Their favourite part was up next. Just before the exit there is a petting station, where you can learn about starfish, shrimp and crabs and actually get to touch them! Both of my children experienced this and loved it! It is a real confidence booster for children who may be afraid to touch small creatures. Another thing they liked was the tunnel that went under the clown fish. my son refused to come out of this for quite a while…
Upon leaving we looked at out trail book to rearrange the letters we had found amongst the fish. I am not very good at this so we did cheat and use the internet to help us. We left via the gift shop where they sell soft toys and other sea life related gifts. When we handed our completed book in we were given our surprise gift. My children were very happy and have not stopped talking about their day since.
Overall we had a fantastic Saturday morning out at SEA LIFE Manchester. I would definitely go again very soon and would recommend it to friends with young children.
Ticket prices start from £10.95 per person online and £17.95 per person on the day. Under 3’s can visit the attraction for free. Alternatively why not purchase a Merlin Annual Pass for access to all Merlin’s 32 attractions throughout the UK for 12 months – for more details visit www.merlinannualpass.co.uk.
For more information about SEA LIFE Manchester or to book tickets online (saving up to 40% off on the door prices) visit www.visitsealife.com/manchester.
SEA LIFE Manchester, Barton Square, intu Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AS
0871 221 2483