Visiting Sea Life Trafford Centre, Manchester

Best start with the introductions as you’ll notice we are guest writers. We are Huw, Amanda and Esmé and we’ve been to Sea Life in Manchester.

This isn’t our first visit here and it’s always an enjoyable day out with easy access from the M60 and an abundance of free parking. I’m told there are some good shops nearby too but that doesn’t really interest any of us 😊

Esmé was looking forward to seeing all the fishes, she doesn’t really understand the differences with fish (except Nemo, Dory and Sharks) but she does like turtles and crabs. As a first-time parent, I’m not sure if this is normal I thought children like dogs and cats!

Onto the day and it was the usual slick entrance into Sea Life after the obligatory photo pose and turtle talk it was onto the various exhibits. There’s plenty of opportunities for small children to get into the middle of the tanks and be surrounded by fish. You can probably manage it as an adult but I wasn’t feeling that brave.

There are various points where children can collect stamps on a card issued at reception with plenty of information boards (some of these are interactive) which can keep the older children informed and involved. Also great when your 3-year-old asks what fish it is and you don’t know!

The ocean tunnel exploration is a great opportunity again to be in with the fishes, sharks and giant turtles. It’s a tunnel and you are underneath the fish (and the human who I think must live in the tank!)

Halfway round your treated to the site of a small soft play, drinks machine and bathroom facilities. Baby change is available in both the Male and Female toilets. After you’ve managed to extract your children from the soft play you get the chance to review your pictures from the way in (sometimes this in the gift shop) and then on towards the Sea Horses and the Stingrays.

We were offered the chance to touch a snail and star fish by the staff but Esmé “Didn’t want to scare them”

Then you come to last exhibit and the new attraction for 2018. The Lair of the Giant Crab. Now I’m going to be honest given the size of a normal crab I was expecting maybe 5ft at most. I wasn’t quite expecting Colin and Sir Pinchalot to be quite as big as they are!

As they are a new exhibit there is staff to keep a close eye on them and talk to you about them There’s a plan to measure Sir Pinchalot as they suspect at over 10FT (nope I’m not joking) he’s the largest known Spider Crab. They explained that measuring might involve lifting him out the water in a harness and stretching his legs out. I suggested they video it, personally, I’d watch that!

Esmé wasn’t at all phased by the sizes and was quite happy to sit and look and listen to a member of staff as she chatted away about them. There were more but they didn’t seem to have names (and were much smaller than Pinchy). Fascinating to see though. We’ve been to various Zoo’s and Aquarium’s both in the UK and overseas but never seen anything like these guys before.

Then come the gift shop and the usual purchase of a memento. This is getting harder for us as we nearly have a full zoo in the house already!

If you haven’t been before it’s a great trip and experience. If your children happen to like Lego you can combine it with a trip to Lego Discovery next door and benefit from discounted tickets for both venues when you buy for 1.

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