Tag Archives: Merlin

Review: Christmas at SEA LIFE Manchester

Over the weekend we popped to the Trafford Centre to run a few pre-Christmas family errands. I sent my husband in to do battle with the hordes of shoppers and I took the small boy for a look around SEA LIFE Manchester, a calm oasis in a sea of Christmas chaos.

We arrived very early and we were the first people through the door. We had our Merlin passes scanned and we headed off to explore. We are regulars at SEA LIFE Manchester, and we always enjoy our visits. The boy loved being first in and it seemed like we had the place to ourselves (we didn’t, other people were a couple of minutes behind us).

Review: Christmas at SEA LIFE Manchester

We quickly sought out some of our favourite sea creatures. I love the jellyfish and we spent some time changing the coloured lights in their tank and seeing how different they looked in the different lights. I also love the stingrays, they glide so gracefully through the water, they’re really calming to watch. 

Review: Christmas at SEA LIFE Manchester

The boy is a big fan of the turtles, so we watched them swim in their tanks and learning more about them. He’s also very keen on seahorses and “Nemo fish”. Although he’s not keen on touching, we did spend quite a lot of time in the rockpool area. The staff were very helpful and told us all about the sea creatures which live in the tank. Some of which we might find in a rockpool in the UK.

Review: Christmas at SEA LIFE Manchester

We had a lovely explore of SEA LIFE Manchester, it felt so peaceful and it’s the perfect antidote to the busyness of Christmas. We’d spent an hour or so peacefully chatting about all of the creatures. We learned a little more about them and wondered what they’d be having for their Christmas dinner.

Review: Christmas at SEA LIFE Manchester

I can absolutely recommend SEA LIFE Manchester if you want to do something with your family this Christmas that isn’t full of flashing lights and fake snow. It was an absolutely delightful way to spend the morning.

What’s on at SEA LIFE Manchester this Christmas?

This Christmas at SEA LIFE Manchester, guests can take part in a festive fish hunt. Come face to fin with a Snow Flake Eel, Humbug Fish, Angel Fish, Star Fish and even a Turkey Fish! 

Excitingly, during the evenings of 17th, 18th, 22nd and 23rd December, visitors can see beautiful diving mermaids in the tropical ocean tank. The Mermaids will grace the water in a spectacular dive with the sharks and Ernie, the giant green sea turtle. 

Find out more about what’s on this Christmas on the SEA LIFE Manchester website.

I am a Merlin Annual Pass Blogger Ambassador. I was given a Merlin Annual Pass to do this review with my family.  I was not paid to write this post.

Days Out: Visiting The Blackpool Tower

As a child I spent a lot of time in Blackpool. Living in Manchester it was our nearest bit of seaside and we had family there, so it was a regular haunt. We thought Blackpool was probably the most amazing place on earth. We never really did the Pleasure Beach, but Blackpool Tower, with its beautiful ballroom, circus and million mile views was somewhere we seemed to visit quite a lot.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend we took the small boy to Blackpool. Our first stop was SEA LIFE Blackpool, which was brilliant. After we’d left SEA LIFE he was keen to hit the beach, but I wanted us to have a quick trip up the Blackpool Tower  before we all got covered in sand. 

Blackpool Tower

Although the Blackpool Tower is home to several famous attractions including the Ballroom, the tower circus, the tower dungeon and Jungle Jim’s, what we really wanted to see and do was the tower itself. 

As Merlin Card holders we showed our cards and got into the lift up to the Blackpool Tower Eye. This is a fairly recent addition to the tower. The first stop was the obligatory before attraction photograph. I always say yes to having these taken out of politeness, but we never buy them and they always look awful and/or really unnatural. The people in front of us declined, so we decided to as well and we were just waved through.

We joined a short queue for the 4D cinema experience. There are no seats in this cinema, so be prepared to stand for the short showing. The short film shows you the history of the tower and is a whistle-stop tour/flight around Blackpool complete with wind through your hair and foamy bubbles being blown at you. I found it quite exciting, the small boy wasn’t quite as keen. I think he was a bit nervous about going up the tower.

Blackpool Tower

Nervous faces…

Once you’ve watched the film you join the queue for the lifts up the tower. We had already decided to stay on the glass SkyWalk platform rather than climbing the stairs to the top. Both of my boys are a bit windy about heights and we thought we could go back another day and push it a little bit further with them.

They were very brave and both eventually managed to step out onto the 5cm thick glass. To be fair, the tower is 380ft tall and it is very strange standing on glass and being able to see all the way down.

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

I wonder how they clean the windows

It was a gloriously sunny day, the sky was a beautiful blue and you could see for miles and miles. On a clear day you can apparently see the Lake District, Liverpool and across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man.

Blackpool Tower

We spent quite a bit of time walking around on the SkyWalk platform, admiring Blackpool and beyond from all angles. We talked about going even higher up the tower, but we decided to leave that for another, slightly braver day.

I would have liked to have spent more time exploring the attractions at the tower, but the boys were very keen to get on the beach, but we will be back another day soon for a proper look around. 

For more information visit the Blackpool Tower website.

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Last weekend we got the chance to give our new family pass for LEGOLAND its first outing. We took the small boy and my nephew to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre for the afternoon. We were keen to catch a showing of The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure and explore all that was on offer.

The boys were raring to get in and explore; we started with the Factory Tour, which is quite short and interactive, it involves lots of jumping up and down and being given their own souvenir LEGO brick to keep. They queued calmly for the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, which I’m sure us adults enjoyed more than the kids – we are a competitive bunch!

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Whilst the grown ups enjoyed checking out Miniland – where the great attractions of the UK are recreated in LEGO form; the boys raced off to the LEGO Racers Build & Test track. I’m convinced they would have stayed there all day if they could. After a quick pit stop in the cafe for refreshments, the boys were keen to race their police cars on the LEGO City Forest Pursuit track. There was a bit of a queue for this, but both of the boys didn’t mind waiting.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Once the race was over it was time for a sit down, so we settled down to watch The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure. I was not hopeful that the small boy would enjoy it as he hates the dark and noise of cinemas, but he sat beautifully throughout and was captivated by the story, giggling in all the right places and he even enjoyed being showered with bubbles. The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure is well worth going to see if you’re visiting.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Knowing how much the boys love LEGO City, we went to explore and build, they honestly could have spent hours playing in this area and I think next time we might head straight there so they can spend a bit more time there.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

On the way out we had a quick go on the Ninjago Laser Training Camp, followed by a whirlwind look around the shop. 

We’d planned to spend about 3 or 4 hours there and it wasn’t enough to explore everything in one go. We’ll have to go again at least twice to have a proper play with everything.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

I’m excited to be able to tell you that we are now blogger ambassadors for both LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and Sealife at the Trafford Centre in Manchester, so do keep an eye out for more LEGOLAND and Sealife news and reviews throughout 2016.