Sea Life Manchester, at the Trafford Centre

Manchester has got a reputation for being wet. Well now you can go to the famous Trafford Centre and literally walk under water at the new Sea Life Manchester.  

Sea Life Centre, Trafford Centre, Manchester

Brand new for Summer 2013 is the Manchester’s very own Sea Life, in the Trafford Centre right next to the Legoland Discovery Centre.

Being in the shopping centre it’s not the biggest of the Sea Life centres, but it has a lot of new features – plus you can get a joint ticket to LEGO Land next door.

What’s Sea Life Manchester like?

As soon as you enter you’re taking into a talk about turtles. This uses special effects to bring a turtle to life in front of you (our youngest kept asking “Is it real?”).

After the talk you’re into a room that’s surrounded by fish swimming around you.

Activities for kids around Sea Life Manchester
As you walk around there are extra things for children to do.

Tip: Each child should be given a little booklet that they can stamp as they make their way around. Unfortunately not everyone was given one (we weren’t but made do with some paper we had). So ask at the ticket desk to make sure they give you one as lots of kids liked collecting the stamps as they went around.

The fish tanks were very impressive, with lots of colourful fish.

On the jellyfish tank your kids can change the colour of the lighting, changing the jelly fish from deep blue, to bright red, to alien looking green!

A Ray swimming over the Sea Life tunnel
You have a tunnel through the big tank, which is now a common feature at large aquariums. Bear in mind that this is not a massive Sea Life and so the tunnel is not that long and the sharks are smaller than at some other places.  It’s still a good tunnel though and expect to get stuck in a queue if it is busy.

There’s also a hands on area where your children can touch a crab or star fish.

Here’s some more photos taken at Sea Life Manchester.


We found that there wasn’t toilets until towards the end. If you’re stuck in a long queue this may become a problem (but you can get in a shorter queue if you buy your tickets in advance.

There’s also no picnic area, nor café, but there is a soft play area for small children towards the end.

Sea Trek at Sea Life Manchester

Sea Trek at Sea Life in the Trafford Centre at Manchester

Lots of aquariums are doing the ‘swimming with sharks’, Sea Life Manchester has a slightly different take on this with their Sea Trek.

You don’t have to wear heavy scuba gear and learn how to use it properly. Instead your given a diving helmet that you can breathe normally in, and just walk on the bottom of the massive fish tank (yes, the one with Sharks and the Giant Green Turtle). The minimum age for this is 8 years old.

You get about ten minutes actually in the water.

This is not something we tried this time, but it looks really good fun. The people we watched doing it had big grins on their faces.

At the time of writing this, a Sea TREK ticket was £60 (which included entry into Sea Life).

Here’s a video from Sea Life Manchester.

Sea Life Manchester Tickets

Sea Life Manchester is already a very popular attraction, and had a very long entrance queue.

Fortunately if you have bought your tickets on-line before hand you can go to the much quicker priority queue.

There’s also an online discount if you take in both the Sea Life and Legoland Discovery Centre together.

Here’s the ticket prices at the time of writing this (June 2013). Please check on the Sea Life website for latest ticket prices.

Ticket Sea Life Manchester Online Sea Life & LEGO Land Online
Under 3 Years Free Free Free Free
Individual £16.20 £16.20 £32.40 £22.68
Family Member £14.10 £14.10 £28.20 £19.74
Family of 3 £42.30 £42.30 £84.60 £59.22

Alternative Sea Life Attraction Tickets

You can also buy Sea Life tickets in advance from other places

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Opening Times for Sea Life in the Trafford Centre

Sea Life Manchester is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 10am to 7pm, with last admission being at 5pm.

Expect to spend one to two hours there if just passing through.  You’ll get more from the visit if you listen to the talks and get involved in the hands on display.

There’s also a soft play area for small children.

Here’s the talk times from when we visited.  Sea Life Manchester may change these and put on different talks, so please check their website for the latest. As you can see, there’s something on nearly every half an hour.

 Time Talk or Feeding
10:30 am Shipwreck – Octopus and Clown Fish talk
11:00 am Turtle World – Learn about Ernie, the giant Green Sea Turtle that lives at Sea Life Manchester
11:30 am Ocean Talk – Learn about Sharks, Rays, Turtle, and Tropical Fish
12:00 pm Sea Trek and Breed, Rescue, and Protect  project at Sea Life Manchester
12:30 pm Ray Talk – there are 3 species of Ray at Sea Life Manchester
1:00 pm Turtle Tea Time – Ernie gets fed
2:00 pm Shipwreck – Learn about the life of a Clown Fish and the abilities of an Octopus
2:30 pm Ocean Talk – Discover facts about the Sharks, Rays, and Turtle that live in the big tank
3:00 pm Ray Talk – They have Blue Spotted Stingrays as well as 2 other species
4:00 pm Turtle Tea Time – Ernie gets fed again. Lettuce and sprouts – yum yum!
4:30 pm Ocean Talk – around the big tank
5:00 pm Sea Trek and Bread, Rescue and Protect project
5:30 pm Turtle Wold – Learn about Ernie
6:00 pm (only Tue, Fri, Sat) Shark Talk and Feed – watch the sharks being fed!

Getting in Touch with Sea Life Manchester

Here's how you can get in contact with Sea Life Manchester.

Sea Life Manchester Website


Sea Life Manchester Facebook Page

0871 221 2483

Where to find Sea Life Manchester

Sat Nav Postcode: M17 8AS

Latitude: 53.4680748, Longitude: -2.3403025

Click here for directions

The SatNav may not get you to the Barton Square car park, which is away from the main Trafford Centre shopper's car parks. As you approach the Trafford Centre, keep your eye out for 'Barton Square'. The car park is free.

SEA LIFE Manchester, Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AS.

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Other Places Nearby


With thanks to SEA Life Manchester for enabling us to review their attraction.

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Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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