It's not just shops at the Trafford Centre. You can find sea life there too at the SeaLife centre.
***Manchester has got a reputation for being wet. Well, now you can go to the famous Trafford Centre and literally walk underwater at the new Sea Life Manchester. ***
Manchester has its 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.
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 jellyfish from deep blue, to bright red, to alien-looking green!
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. 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 starfish.
Here are some more photos we took at Sea Life Manchester.
We found that there weren'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
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, you're 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 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.
On The Map
AddressSeaLife, Trafford Centre, Manchester
SeaLife, Trafford Centre
The Trafford Centre