Tag Archives: Sea life centre

Create a year to remember with a Merlin Annual Pass

Start your year off as you mean to go on and bag the ultimate bargain – 52 weeks of family fun with a Merlin Annual Pass, from just £109 per person in their New Year sale. A Merlin Annual Pass opens the door to 32 magical adventures across the UK, so wherever you live, a Merlin Annual Pass is the ultimate passport to fun!

Last year our family had a Merlin Annual Pass and we really squeezed a lot of value out of it. With regular visits to our local SEA LIFE Centre and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester, to several days out in Blackpool enjoying the Merlin attractions there, and to various attractions around the country. They really do represent good value for money.

With a Merlin Annual Pass, you can experience the UK’s biggest and best attractions, including the Coca-Cola London Eye, Thorpe Park Resort, Dream Works Tours Shrek’s Adventure! London, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Alton Towers Resort, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, SEA LIFE Centres across the UK and many more. 

Create a year to remember with a Merlin Annual Pass

Watch history come to life in re-enactments at Warwick Castle, come nose to fin with fascinating underwater creatures at SEA LIFE centres across the country, go selfie mad with the Hollywood stars at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool and London, transport to the future on Galactica at Alton Towers Resort or how about gazing over London’s beautiful skyline on the Coca-Cola London Eye?

There are also some amazing new additions coming in 2017. In May, the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort will challenge guests to become Masters of Spinjitzu at the all new LEGO NINJAGO World. In this brand new world, families can join their favourite NINJAGO heroes in a series of training activities before putting their Ninja skills to the ultimate test on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride.

One of the UK’s best-loved children’s characters, The Gruffalo, is set to bring a brand new experience to Chessington World of Adventures Resort in 2017!. Expect excitement, an awesome adventure and lots of fun. Alton Towers Resort will have a new CBeebies Land Hotel, uniquely designed for young families and bursting with music, stories and adventures for little ones to enjoy. Plus, the UK’s only LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester is re-launching with a Ninjago themed area that little ones will love! 

Create a year to remember with a Merlin Annual Pass

Upgrade to a Premium Merlin Annual Pass and get priority entry to all of Merlin Entertainments’ UK attractions, automatic membership to the Merlin Holiday Club (an exclusive club with magical treats for Passholders who stay overnight!), discounted entry for family and friends, invites to exclusive Passholder preview events, complimentary standard parking at Resort Theme Parks and a Privilege Pack containing three £5 off Fastrack vouchers for a single use at selected theme parks and three Share the Fun vouchers where a friend can join holders for just £15 each.   

Create a year to remember with a Merlin Annual Pass

The BIG New Year Sale starts at 10am on Sunday 1st January 2017 and will end at midnight on 13th February.

For more information please visit www.merlinannualpass.co.uk.

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.

My Sunday Photo: Jellyfish

Last weekend we had a furiously busy few days. We were rushed off our feet going Christmas shopping and all kinds of festive prep. It was busy and stressful, as the run up to Christmas so often is.

Whilst my husband did battle with a shopping centre, I took the small boy to the SEA LIFE Centre for an hour. We love it there, it’s usually a lot of fun and an interesting way to spend an afternoon exploring under the sea. But this time we were the first through the door and as we skipped the initial photograph and film, we were a good few minutes in front of everyone else. It was fantastic.

After the chaos and bright lights of the last few weeks, we took our stress levels down a notch or two. Watching the fish swimming in the tanks and the calm undersea lighting worked wonders on our fraught moods.

I have a real thing for jellyfish. I’m terrified of them in the sea, but in the tanks of the SEA LIFE Centre they are shown up as the real things of beauty that they are. I love taking photographs of them and trying to capture some of their alien beauty. Here’s my favourite from our visit. I hope you like it too.

Jellyfish

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.

Review: Our visit to SEA LIFE Blackpool

Over the Bank Holiday weekend we decided to have a trip to SEA LIFE Blackpool. The sun was shining, we fancied some sea air and it’s only an hour away; so off we went. The boy was really excited, he loves SEA LIFE Manchester and we’d heard that SEA LIFE Blackpool was well worth visiting, especially if you’re gripped by Finding Dory fever! 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

When we got there we were offered the chance to go on a behind the scenes tour, it was an extra £3 each but I was really interested in “going backstage” so we booked our places (more of which later).

We were given a map, an activity trail sheet and pencil and a pair of rather fetching paper goggles to wear.

SEA LIFE Blackpool

SEA LIFE Blackpool is divided into lots of different zones, with different kinds of sea life in each area. We were most excited about the stingrays and the seahorses, but we knew there were lots of other things to explore. The zones at SEA LIFE Blackpool include the Rockpool (you can touch some of the creatures here), Atlantic Depths which has sea life including anemones, starfish, crabs, place, lobster and octopus. 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

I was very taken by the various different kinds of anemones, they were all so colourful, beautiful and delicate looking. I could happily spend hours looking at them all. 

Our next stop was the Quayside zone which was home to stingrays, rays, pollock, brill and dogfish. Stingrays are our favourite, so we spent quite a while watching them fly through the tank in the Stingray Adventure zone, it’s a mesmerising sight.

SEA LIFE Blackpool

Our next stop was a visit to our other favourites in the Kingdom of the Seahorse, a zone which is home to lion fish, unicorn fish, clown fish, regal tangs and of course, lots of seahorses (fun fact: my first pet was a pair of seahorses, one of which was called Ankle). Did you know that seahorses prefer to swim in pairs with their tails linked together? 

Moving on to the next zone – the Submarine Explorer to see creatures who usually live in the darker depths of the sea including jellyfish, puffa fish, eels and tangs. We loved the jellyfish. I’ve never really looked at them very closely before, but they had different coloured lights shining in the tanks so you could pick up the detail. They look like beautiful atomic clouds. 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

We passed through the Rainforest Adventure zone quite quickly, it was a busy area with people looking at the turtles, chameleons and frogs and we were starting to worry about missing our slot for the Behind the Scenes Tour. 

The next stop was the Shark Mission and Ocean Tunnel. Every SEA LIFE Centre has a tunnel to walk through and this one was full of sharks including black tip sharks, white tip sharks, bowmouth guitar sharks, shovel nose sharks, nurse sharks, stingrays and lots of other fish. We were lucky enough to have a shark come and have a rest next to us as we looked through the tunnel, The small boy was transfixed!

SEA LIFE Blackpool

The final zone is Jurassic Seas which has ancient creatures such as the nautilus and more beautiful anemones, we would like to have spent more time exploring this zone, but we were almost late for our tour.

We met Robbie who gave us the behind the scenes tour. We visited the breeding area, full of baby fish who are still too tiny to be out fending for themselves in the main tanks. We met some fish which had been donated to the centre because they’d grown too big and some jellyfish (which don’t have brains).

Robbie then showed us some “moults” which are the discarded shells of creatures who shed them as they grow, such as lobsters and crabs. He also showed us some sharks teeth. Sharks can grow new teeth within a day of losing one. 

SEA LIFE Blackpool

We met lots of creatures who were in quarantine, such as a very pretty blue spotted ribbon tail ray who had been donated to the centre. Apparently lots of people get rays for their aquariums at home, but they often sting their owners who then get rid of them, not always responsibly.

One of the most interesting creatures is the peacock mantis shrimp which has beautiful peacock colouring, but has to live in a special acrylic tank because he is so strong he can punch through glass and escape!

SEA LIFE Blackpool

I found the behind the scenes tour really fascinating and well worth the £3 extra, it’s really worth doing if you’re interested in the inner workings of SEA LIFE Blackpool and how they manage the environment in the tanks, as well as the quarantine and breeding programmes. 

Our visit to SEA LIFE Blackpool was incredibly interesting and we really enjoyed exploring the different zones. I am only sorry that we didn’t have longer to explore everywhere more thoroughly, but that is our fault, we should have booked a later tour. We will have to go back again and do it more thoroughly another time.

SEA LIFE Blackpool was fascinating and full of weird, wonderful and often beautiful creatures. I was enchanted by the jellyfish, anemones and all the colourful fish. It’s worth a visit to see those alone. 

For more information about visiting SEA LIFE Blackpool visit their website.

We are SEA LIFE and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Ambassadors and we used our Merlin passes to gain entry.

Fishy Fact Finding at SEA LIFE Manchester

Recently one thousand families were put to the test at SEA LIFE Manchester to see how many of 10 fishy facts they were given during their visit they could remember.

Apparently the average score was only 5 correct questions out of 10,  with mums and dads out-performing their children by a narrow margin of just 2%.

During the summer school holidays, SEA LIFE are hosting Finding Dory trails and events at all their UK SEA LIFE centres. They thought it would be interesting to see how their visitors compare to Dory when it comes to remembering things.

Apparently the results were quite surprising, and seem to suggest that we can all can be a little forgetful from time to time.

Some of the simple facts and statistics that SEA LIFE Manchester visitors struggled to remember were:

  • There are seven species of sea turtle in the world’s oceans                        
  • The Emperor Penguin is the largest penguin
  • The most common octopus in UK waters is the Lesser Octopus

sea life

What is interesting about the survey is that the facts people remembered best were the ones about the harm humans are doing to our oceans and their inhabitants. Most could remember that an estimated 70 million sharks are being killed every year for their fins, or as bycatch for example.

It is encouraging that important conservation messages like this are filtering through and helping to raise awareness and support for marine conservation, something that popular films like Finding Dory will also help to do.

SEA LIFE’s themed event is running at the 12 UK centres until September 11th, and includes a trail inspired by Hank the cantankerous octopus – one of Finding Dory’s central characters.

For further information or to pre-book tickets online before your visit please go to www.visitsealife.com/manchester. Reduced prices are available for tickets booked in advance.

For regular news, updates and competitions, SEA LIFE Manchester is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/SEALIFEManchester and Twitter www.twitter.com/sealifemanc.

Easter at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre & SEA LIFE Manchester

If you’re looking for some Easter fun for all the family this coming half term, families can have the ultimate fun day in Manchester at not one, but two fantastic attractions this Easter! LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and SEA LIFE Manchester have a fun-filled week planned, with lots of exciting activities and a taste of some brand new additions at the attractions to show off.

LEGO fans will soon get a fresh fix of their favourite heroes as this Easter “The LEGO Movie 4D, A New Adventure”, a brand new 4D attraction, re-unites the characters from the original movie at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester from Saturday 12th March.

The riotous, action-packed plot sees Emmet, Wyldstyle, Unikitty, Benny and MetalBeard receive a mysterious invitation leading them to a new theme park, bearing a suspicious resemblance to LEGOLAND. But all is not as it seems as the heroes are once again thrust into the middle of an evil secret plot masterminded by a totally new character, the scheming Risky Business. The larger-than-life experience will sweep the audience right into the action as the gang hurtle through a fast paced adventure featuring some very special theme park attractions, from Unikitty’s cute and colourful ‘Wainbow Wubble World’ to Wyldstyle’s ‘Super Cycle Mega Ride’ and MetalBeard’s ‘Pirate Plunder Danger Cave’. It’s up to Emmet and Wyldstyle, enlisting the Master Builder skills of the audience, to try and save the day.

Easter at Legoland Manchester

Fans will love the chance to immerse themselves in The LEGO Movie world in a totally new way with 4D elements such as wind, water, smoke and special lighting effects bringing the story to life.

Enjoy the most amazing city in the world, the brand new play area, City Builder. Visitors can create cities and buildings in the most unique city that can be imagined. From the creativity of countless budding architects will flourish the most beautiful and imaginative buildings and stories. Girls and boys can meet the heroes of City and the girlfriends of Heart Lake City, and they’ll see everything from huge skyscrapers to cosy family houses all made from LEGO.

Visitors can also lose themselves in 1.5 million LEGO bricks and explore the wonders of MINILAND, have an adventurous ride in LEGO City Forest Pursuit, try dodging the lasers in LEGO Ninjago Laser Training Camp, play in the soft play area at the LEGO Construction Site and much more.

If that wasn’t enough, visitors should prepare to be amazed by the brand new exhibition Octopus Hideout just next door at SEA LIFE Manchester, which gives guests a unique opportunity to come face to sucker with one of the oceans most intelligent creatures.

Meet the star of Octopus Hideout, Hank, the Giant Pacific Octopus that has eight arms, blue blood, three hearts and can grow up to a jaw-dropping five metres in length and weigh up to 50 kilograms! One of the biggest octopus species in the world, Giant Pacific Octopuses can solve mazes, blend into their environment and even open jars.

Easter at Legoland Manchester

Families will also not want to miss the jet-propelled, gas-fuelled prehistoric nautilus, a primitive octopus in a spiral shell, the cuttlefish, a captivating type of mollusc which can change colour to give itself the perfect camouflage against any background, or the teeny tiny Atlantic Long Arm Octopus, a small sea creature with arms longer than its 90 millimetre body! 

SEA LIFE Manchester is also home to an incredible array of sea creatures from all over the planet, including family favourite Ernie, the Giant Green Sea Turtle, captivating seahorses, colourful clownfish, Black Tip Reef Sharks, rays and more.

You can make great savings by purchasing a Combi ticket for entry into both of these fantastic attractions. For more information, visit www.legolanddiscoverycentre.co.uk/manchester or www2.visitsealife.com/manchester.

Half Term Fun at SEA LIFE Manchester

February half term is a tough one, the weather is unrelentingly gloomy, and I have no desire at all to stand shivering in the park afternoon after afternoon watching the boy hit muddy puddles with an equally muddy stick. The sensible thing to do is to plan a week of mainly indoor activities, where they can explore, have fun and maybe learn a little something too. SEA LIFE Manchester have launched a new attraction just in time for half term, so we went along to check out the new Octopus Hideout.

SEA LIFE Manchester

We’ve never been to SEA LIFE Manchester before, the small boy loves an aquarium, so he was very much looking forward to his visit. We were in for a real treat, the layout and design of the centre has been incredibly well thought out, with atmospheric lighting and mood music playing throughout, as well as lots of interactive displays so you don’t just feel like you’re looking at things, you’re getting involved too.

We were wowed by the range of aquatic life they’d managed to fit into the aquarium, with sharks, turtles and rays swimming about, as well as more fish than we dared to count. There were weird and wonderful species of fish, most of which were imaginatively displayed in shaped tanks, some of which you could walk under, peep into through portholes, or just stand in awe at the underwater scene in front of you. 

SEA LIFE Manchester

The Octopus Hideout is a brand new attraction which was launched just in time for this half term, we met up with Dan the curator who was able to tell us more about the creatures in the new Octopus Hideout. Although technically we were looking at more than just octopus, we were looking at cephalopods.

Cephalopods include octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus, they can change colour, texture and body shape to blend into their surroundings, and if threatened they can squirt a cloud of ink as a smokescreen or decoy. Cephalopods have three hearts and blue blood, and they are thought to be among the most intelligent creatures in the ocean.

We met the Nautilus, a slightly weird looking cephalopod with a hard shell. It can alter its buoyancy by filling its chambers with water. They were quite hypnotic to look at, pulsating and bobbing up and down in the water. Nautilus is an ancient creature which has been around for more than 500 million years. We also met the Common Octopus (called Octopus Prime), as well as the tiny Atlantic Long Arm Octopus and Cuttlefish. 

SEA LIFE Manchester

Hank the Giant Pacific Octopus, Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE Manchester

Dan showed us Hank the Giant Pacific Octopus, he explained that octopus were nocturnal and Hank, like me, isn’t great in the mornings. Hank was pretty big, but was fast asleep on a rock, having disguised himself as a rock, so he was grey. Dan told us when they fed him earlier (he enjoys a crab three times a week) he was bright red. Hank was fascinating and we learned a great deal about this mysterious creature.

We took our time looking around everything, paused mid way to let off some steam in the soft play room half way around, had a funny photograph taken, touched a starfish or two and learned all about life under the sea. It beats shivering in the park any day!

To find out more about the Octopus Hideout and to book tickets for this half term and beyond, visit the SEA LIFE Manchester website.

Note: We were invited guests of SEA LIFE Manchester. All opinions are our own.