A £6.5 million project to bring a brand new SEA LIFE aquarium attraction to Manchester’s Trafford Centre continues to make good progress.
Operated by Merlin, the new attraction will be installed into a 36,000 sq ft site in the centre’s Barton Square, next to Merlin’s popular LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre. Set to open in June 2013, the aquarium will be the 14th SEA LIFE attraction in the UK and will feature over 5,000 creatures, 30 spectacular marine displays and an underwater ocean tunnel.
Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council approved a resolution to grant planning permission for the change of use at the Barton Square site in 2012 and once complete, the centre promises to become a celebration of the sea. Visitors to the SEA LIFE attraction will be able to hold a crab or touch a starfish, whilst other creatures at the centre will include rays, seahorses, jellyfish and even sharks!
SEA LIFE is the world’s No 1 aquarium brand with a long history of responsible caring, breeding and conservation of the marine environment. The SEA LIFE network comprises more than 40 aquaria and Sanctuary attractions – including 14 in the UK, as well as others across Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific.
Commenting on the project, Russell Barnes, Divisional Director Midway Developments at Merlin Entertainments, said:
“At SEA LIFE we are passionate about preserving marine habitats and protecting the incredible species that live in them. Marine conservation is at the heart of everything we do – supporting projects across the world to inspire more people to care. We look forward to sharing this with the people of Manchester when they visit what we are confident will be one of our best attractions to date.
“The Trafford Centre has proved a brilliant location for us so far, with the LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre providing one of our most successful launches and we are confident that SEA LIFE will also thrive in this – one of the best shopping centres in the country.”
Gordon McKinnon, Director of Operations at The Trafford Centre, added:
“The Trafford Centre is really excited to be embarking on plans to bring such a world-class tourist attraction right into the heart of the region. The aquarium will offer families and students the ability to learn more about the fascinating world beneath the sea, and some of the most important creatures on Earth, and their place in our environment.
“We have seen what SEA LIFE has achieved at other international locations, not just in the UK but across the world, from London to Sydney and we are confident that together we can open a breath-taking facility that communicates the importance of our oceans and the life they contain.
“Working with Merlin and SEA LIFE, the world’s premier aquarium operator whose credentials in the marine area are impeccable and whose reputation for responsible care, conservation and lobbying on marine issues is acknowledged by expert organisations the world over, leaves us in no doubt that the aquarium they are planning will be a huge asset to Greater Manchester and beyond.”
The installation of the new SEA LIFE attraction joins a number of family friendly attractions which have helped to rejuvenate Manchester’s Trafford Centre over the past few years. As well as Merlin’s LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre, the Trafford Centre also boasts Paradise Island Adventure Golf course, Aerial Extreme and the recently refurbished Namco Funscape entertainment zone.
Merlin Entertainments is the leading name in location-based family entertainment and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Merlin operates more than 90 attractions, seven hotels/two holiday villages in 21 countries, across four continents and delivers memorable experiences to more than 46 million visitors.
Additional attractions in Merlin’s portfolio include, Madame Tussauds, THORPE PARK, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Blackpool Tower and Siam Ocean World, amongst others.