Manchester finally has a Sealife centre! Yey! I love these places, and so does Grace, so we were chuffed to pieces to get invited to have a sneaky peak before it opens (and a big Thank you to Laura from Tired Mummy of Two for that!)
The Manchester Sealife Centre is at the Trafford centre – we set the sat nav for the Trafford Centre, then followed the signs for Barton Square and LegoLand as we’d been given the heads-up that it was right next door to that. Really easy to find and free parking. All good so far. Gibby’s child minder had even made her a little board of things to find and tick off. (She loved this by the way – a great idea of you end up going.)
And it got better! We started our little tour round with a very kid-friendly talk about giant turtles, which involved a mock-up beach and 3D light show to explain how the turtles nest and hatch. Gibby loved it when the very engaging lady giving the talk encouraged all the kids to cheer the baby turtles on to find the sea.
The centre itself was brilliant. I particularly liked that it wasn’t too big, as other Sealife centres we’ve visited in the past seem to take an age to get around. This was the perfect size. Here are some of the things we liked best:
- The range of marine life and how they were displayed. From circular rooms of blue with only white fish to really vibrant, colourful tanks, portholes, tunnels, and tiny tiddlers en-mass to giant turtles, rays and sharks.
- Education – lots of interactive displays, engaging videos and things for little hands to investigate.
- The emphasis on rescue and conservation. The giant turtle they have is a rescued, which I always like to hear, and lots of information is displayed as you go around.
- The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to provide the chance when appropriate to let the kids get hands on with the creatures. Gibby was very brave and tickled a crab! (The highlight as far as she was concerned and still hasn’t stopped talking about it. . . see photo above.)
- We loved the fact that there is a soft play area in there too. Perfect if your little one is small enough to get a bit fed up of fish quickly, or needs to let of a bit of steam.
- There were lots of sharks. Always a good thing!
My only criticism would be that we were a little rushed round and we didn’t get any information to let readers know about prices/opening times etc. We also didn’t get to nosy at the shop. But I was still very grateful for the preview given that they were working to a tight deadline and still had some finishing touches to do. These are things however that I am sure won’t be applicable to the paying public once it is open, and more information can be found on their website.
I can say with all honesty that I’d really recommend the Manchester Sealife Centre – we’ll definitely be revisiting!