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We had heard great things about the Sealife Centre in Manchester and were lucky enough to be given 4 tickets at Christmas – so have been looking forward to going along to see everything that they have to offer.

Today the weather was awful; high wind and horrible rain. The queue to get into the carpark at the Trafford Centre was long. Our car contained four people who were very excited to be there!

Barton Square, where the Sealife Centre is situated, is easy to find. But if you discover that the carpark is full and you’re forced to park further away, panic not! Everywhere is clearly signposted and with lifts and escalators, access is a dream.

When we arrived, we were greeted by super friendly staff. Everything was explained to us and our boys were given ‘diving masks’ and a book to collect stamps in as we went round. We were then shown into a waiting area and shown an informative video whilst having our photo taken.

After a few short minutes, a young man called Matt arrived and took us through to a darkened room. He told us all about sea turtles – and the special effects were magical. You could almost believe baby turtles were making their way across the beach.

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Once the talk ended, Matt let us through into the main part of the tour and we went round at our own pace. There is plenty to see and our youngest (who is 4) loved being inside a ‘bubble’ to watch the fish.

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At each ‘dive station’ our children answered questions and collected their stamps. This was such a great idea as it really engaged them in what we were seeing.

The jellyfish were amazing. There was a control box at the side of the tank that allows you to change the colour of the lights and therefore see the jellyfish differently.

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Something my husband commented on was how thoughtfully lit each tank was and how the music was really calming which added to the entire experience, something that is lacking in other similar attractions we’ve been to. The viewing area of the tanks was also really large and we didn’t feel that we were jostling for space.PicMonkey Collage4

Another huge positive for us was the large soft play area as the children were beginning to get a little restless. Once they had burned off some energy we went back to finish the tour.

As we came out of the soft play, we noticed some people diving with the sharks. This is something that you can pay to do, totally amazing!

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We moved on to see the turtles – an interesting aside, they have a possible breeding pair of fly river turtles – the sea turtle and the terrapins then beautiful, tiny seahorses.

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The room I was most looking forward to seeing was the interactive room but I felt a little let down here. My boys had heard that you could touch a crab and when we arrived at the rock pool a member of staff lifted a crab out and let a couple of children next to us touch it. Then he put it back in the water and moved away, despite my boys’ obvious interest.

We made our way into the gift shop, purchased our photos that were taken when we first arrived, browsed the shop and treated ourselves the boys to a few soft toys.

Did we enjoy our visit? Most definitely! Would we go again? Without a shadow of a doubt! Would we recommend it to anyone else? For sure!