My daughter turned 3 this week and we wanted to do something special for her, she had a party at a local soft play with her friends the weekend before but her birthday was on the following Tuesday so we wanted to take her for a nice day out. My husband booked the day off work and we headed to Blackpool, Sophia has never been before and I haven’t been for many years but it all still looked exactly the same. I don’t think it’s changed a bit since I went on holiday there over 20 years ago and I still love it.
We parked on the central car park which was just behind the front strip, parking prices were very reasonable as we paid £5.50 for 4 hours. First stop was Coral Island where we had some fun on the 2p machines, we then walked down the front and less than 5 minutes walk away was Sea Life. I have never been to Sea Life Blackpool before, we visited the Manchester one for Sophia’s first birthday and even though she enjoyed it she was too young to take it all in and appreciate it.
On arrival it was quite busy, they have a separate entrance for anyone with Merlin or fast track passes so you can beat the queues. They were checking everyone’s bags which helped to make me feel safe. We had taken Sophia in the pram so after we left the ticket desk we went around the back of it where there is 1 lift located. Once you get out of the lift on the upper floor there are some toilets and a baby change to the right, to the left is a place to leave your prams. I wish that there would have been more information next to the pram park such as telling you than you can easily access it at the end of your visit and to also suggest to you that it would be in your best interest to leave your pram there due to very narrow path ways. I originally left my pram there but as we got further around I kept thinking how am I going to get back to it, so I went back and got it.
Past the pram park you enter through some double doors and there is a photo opportunity set up on the right, you get to view your photos in the gift shop area later. If you don’t want to have your photo taken it is easy to bypass this and go straight into the aquarium. Once in there are lots of different rooms and areas all with different themes and species in. It’s definitely bigger than the Manchester one and there are talks and feedings scheduled for every hour. I like that you can buy your ticket, go around, leave and then come back later in the day and then go around again that’s a real plus point. When we were there a school trip came in and it got very crowded so the opportunity to go around again if you didn’t get to see everything was a real bonus.
I feel that at 3 my daughter was at a great age to take it all in and enjoy it, they have a lot of things at a low height so that children can easily see, they also have lots of pop up bubble windows and secret tunnels which she found fun and it meant that she could get a closer look into the tanks, my favourite one was a treasure chest. All the decor and props were really good with lots of nautical shipwreck items, my favourite themed room was the Rainforest Adventure it was quite dark when entering and the floor felt noticeably different it was quite soft and spongy. Out of all the cool animals Sophia chose the frogs as her favourite in here, she has recently attended a nursery taster day and they had a frog there so she loves them now, in this area they also had turtles and piranhas.
Another of our favourite areas was the Ocean Tunnel which was huge, you got full 360 degree views of all the sharks, one was absolutely humongous and Sophia’s jaw dropped as it swam over our heads, it was definitely an experience to remember. Once we made our way through the ten different areas we entered the gift shop which was surprisingly large. I normally avoid these areas as they are so expensive but when I looked around I saw quite a few things under a £5 so even though it was expensive there was some more affordable merchandise around too. To the right of it was a cafe and a small soft play area, Sophia dived right into the soft play area which gave us a few minutes to sit down and rest our legs. Overall we had a great experience and we would go back. When Sophia was 1 and we visited the Manchester one we were out in about half an hour and didn’t seem worth the money but the fact that the Blackpool one is larger and Sophia is older now to run around and look at everything and enjoy it we were in there about an hour? we could have spent more time in there but it was quite busy, I loved how we had the option to go around again anytime we wanted that day so it definately felt like good value. I also liked how they had 2 lots of toilets in the place so you were never far away from one, this is an essential for families. There were lots of staff about who were all very friendly and helpful, towards the end of our trip I realised that Sophia’s brand new coat that she got for her birthday that day wasn’t on the pram, thankfully the staff were great and someone had handed it in so I didn’t have to worry for long.
The only downside for me was the bad access for prams or the disabled, I would highly recommend that you leave your prams back at the pram park (take all your valuables with you) as inside it does get very narrow but the worst thing was that when you get to the very end you have to go back on yourself about 1/4 of the way back through to access the lift, this was very difficult when the narrow pathway was full of people, a lot of them with prams themselves and you are trying to go back against the flow of the people down a narrow pathway it wasn’t fun. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was quiet but it was quite busy. I was surprised how busy it was as we went on a Tuesday but I guess that most of the school have finished now so it will be busy until September. So my advice is yes go and enjoy it but either leave your pram at the pram park or in your car boot if you can. – Jodie x
Disclaimer: I was provided with free entry in return for a honest review, all thoughts and opinions here are my own.