Sea Life at Intu Trafford Centre, Manchester

I took my number 1 baby pal (my niece) out to the Sea Life in Manchester this weekend after kindly being given complimentary tickets for the day. After taking her to the Natural History Museum the other week, I realised that babies aren’t really in to a load of boring colours and that, despite what adults (for example: me, without a baby) think. The Sea Life Centre seemed like the the perfect place to take her, as I remember from previous trips it being full of colour and movement – the kind of sensory jazz that tiny ones like. Despite being only 4 months old, she’s developing at such an incredible rate and already getting her wriggle and wanting to touch, feel, smell, see EVERYTHING and for someone so small she’s certainly been doing a lot of fun stuff! She’s just started attending Puddle Ducks classes which she absolutely loves. I think she’s definitely found her water wings!
We got to the Sea Life Centre at around 11.30am after stopping for a quick coffee when we first got there. There was no queue so we went straight in to Turtle Bay for an introductory talk from one of the members of staff. Straight away the baby was captivated by the light display, which  consisted of buildings, the sea, the moon and a few turtles for good measure. After a few minutes we were then able to have a stroll at our own pace around the rest of the Sea Life Centre.

The first thing we discovered were the jelly fish, who not only looked beautiful swimming around the tank, but you could press a button which changed the colour of the lighting. Once again, this was a great little feature for my niece to be in awe of! She loves anything with water, bubbles and bright colours and so far the Sea Life was working out to be a great place for her.
It was quite hard to take any amazing pictures because we weren’t permitted to use flash, which is understandable as we didn’t want to scare any of the fish! Within Sea Life at the Trafford Centre there are apparently over 5,000+ creatures including Sharks, Seahorses, Octopus, Jellyfish and Rays. Although I think the Octopus was on holiday, as we didn’t get to see him. There was still plenty of other things to look at though, including a little walkway for children where they could crawl (or walk, depending how little they are) through and look at some clown fish!

One creature which did take me by surprise was the giant Sea Turtle called Ernie! We spotted him as we walked under the concave of fishies about half way through the centre. He was huuuuugeeeee!! I do like a good turtle, so to see such a large one so close was a great experience. However, I was left a little disappointed at the 1pm turtle feeding time, which took place in the shipwreck area. We rushed across feeling a little confused, as this was a different place to where the turtle’s ‘lived’… Only to discover when we got there is was a tiny screen which was smaller than my TV at home. Booo. But I suppose it would have been a little awkward to try and showcase this anywhere else in the centre.
As well as the fish and sea creatures, there is also a soft play area for the kiddies to run around in about 3/4 of the way through. This area also had a small space to have a sit down, which was great because by this time the baby had gotten a little niggly and warm. Probably through all the carrying around and posing I made her do hehe. Of course, I’m not going to share too many pictures of her here on my blog, as well, she’s not my baby. Sorry!
The final thing she enjoyed before having her afternoon nap was the rock pool, which had some crabs and starfish in it. I did feel a little sorry for the little scamps having their shells and that poked from every angle by little fingers, but this is kind of a good activity to teach kids how to handle sea life with care, as there was a member of staff on hand to share knowledge and look after the creatures.

It was a lovely little trip, although it was a lot smaller than I imagined it to be. I think this is because it’s not a *real* Sea Life Centre and kind of a side line by the Trafford Centre to keep the children occupied between shopping (which of course, we did a bit of too, whoops!)

You can find more information on what the Sea Life Centre in Manchester has online here, including ticket prices and directions.

Now we just need to plan our next adventure…. If anyone has an suggestions please let me know! This baby’s day out thing is all a bit new to me.