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Never mind swimming with dolphins! Now you can swim with SHARKS at Blackpool’s Sealife Centre.

Full training will be given & no experience is necessary! Get up close & personal with 20 sharks.

There will be 3 sessions per day, each with a maximum of 4 snorkellers. Time in the tank will be 15 minutes but each session will last for 1.5 hours in total, including a full “behind the scenes” tour.

Participation is £75, bookable online, with spectators £25.

A great new opportunity!

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Are you planning a trip to Blackpool for a long weekend, midweek break or a Summer Holiday? If so, buy the “Big Ticket” for £40 online for BIG savings on Blackpool’s top Merlin attractions … that’s just £5.70 per attraction! (the Sealife centre alone costs £16 per person if tickets are purchased individually)!

Valid for 90 days, the ticket is perfect for use over a few days. You can visit each of the 7 attractions once (I would allow about 2 hours per attraction).

There’s plenty here for families with the world-famous Tower Circus which lasts for 2 hours with an interval mid-way. There are new circus performers every season joining the hilarious Mooky the Clown & his side-kick, Mr Boo & the wonderful water finale … always a great show. Then there’s Jungle Jims … an indoor adventure playground for the kids (have a coffee while the kids wear themselves out)! After that, why not take the lift up to the top of the Tower & walk on the glass floor? Plate glass windows from floor to ceiling allow extensive views across to the Lake District on a clear day. Are you brave enough? Catch your breath in the Ballroom & enjoy the live organ music, watch the dancers & wonder at the fabulous surroundings. A traditional afternoon tea is available to purchase.

The final port of call in the Tower itself is the Dungeons. This attraction traces Lacashire history over the last 1000 years eg the Pendle witches. The attraction has real actors, & is funny-scary as opposed to scary-scary! There is the option of a drop-ride at the end for those who are less faint-hearted than me!

Attraction number 6 is the Sealife Centre … new for 2013 is the option to snorkel with the sharks! & the ever-popular tunnel is back.

Finally, there’s Mme Tussauds Waxworks to see … an interactive feast of light entertainment. Family favourites like Ant & Dec make an appearance, as well as stars of stage & screen, pop stars & prominent members of today’s Royal Family. Don’t forget your camera as you can get close to the models for some great shots of you with Cheryl, Wayne Rooney, Susan Boyle, William & Kate or your own favourite star!

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Download the Blackpool Pleasure Beach App to your phone & you can then book same-day wristbands at a discoun. The price this weekend when booked the previous day online is £25, using the on-the-day app it’s £30 & turning up at the gate will cost you £35.

 

Don’t forget there’s a new discounted “Resort Pass” available now for anyone who wants to visit ALL of the big Blackpool attractions. This is valid for a week so great for a long weekend or a week’s holiday!

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The Sealife Centre in Blackpool has taken delivery of it’s latest attraction … a Giant Japanese Spider Crab called “Big Daddy” by centre staff. He has a claw span of 9 feet but they can reach the size of a mini-metro car & live up to 100 years!

In the wild these crabs live off the island of Honshu (Japan) & they have become very rare because they are very tasty, apparently; indeed Big Daddy, himself, was destined for the local market. Trawling has forced them to live in the coldest, deepest waters, almost 2000 feet down.

Blackpool Sealife Centre already has a smaller Japanese Spider Crab & it is hoped that the 2 will breed in the future.

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1. The Laughing Donkey on South Pier … entertainers play games with the kids, get them up dancing etc

2. The Carousel Bar on North Pier … has an original horses carousel ride … beautiful

3. The bar on Central Pier … entertainers to keep the kids amused

4. Bucaneer Bar in Coral Island … great food, too

5. Yates’ (upstairs) on the Prom in South Shore

6. The Manchester (upstairs, separate entrance) … good food & kids’ play area

7. The Yeadon Pub, at the end of Yeadon Way as you come into Blackpool … Brewers Fayre … good food & kids’ play area

8. The Hot Air Balloon, next to the airport … Wacky Warehouse play area

9. The Crown, Devonshire Road … Crown carvery is a national brand … good grub, reasonably priced & kids welcome

10. Any of the working men’s clubs (loads in Blackpool) … The Duple & The Number One Club are both nearby & have regular entertainment, bingo, raffles etc as well as welcoming children. If you’re not a member just pop a donation into the box.

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1. The beach … build sandcastles or cool down with a paddle in the sea

2. The Comedy Carpet … browse for an hour or 2 & recall the comedy catch-phrases & jokes which have been captured in granite opposite to the Tower

3. Stanley Park … a wonderful park with sports facilities, a great children’s play area, boating lake, herons, ducks to feed, free music in the bandstand on Sunday afternoons as well as a lovely (but quite pricey) art-deco cafe

4. Walk along the new Prom … enjoy the art features on South prom (the wind organ, the giant glitter ball etc), the piers & the Spanish Steps, the giant blades of grass blowing in the wind near the Tower or the views from the clifftops in the North

5. Grundy Art Gallery … not old & fusty but regularly updated with changing exhibitions

6. The Illuminations – starting the first Friday in September & ending on Sunday 10th November in 2013, the Lights provide the greatest free show on Earth! Look out for the illuminated trams … the rocket, gunship & Fisherman’s Friend!

7. The World Championship Fireworks displays … Fridays in September … countries compete to see who can provide the best firework display & we all win!

8. The Air Show … vulcan bombers, spitfires, wing-walkers, the Red Arrows … grab a seat on the Spanish Steps or on one of the Piers for a comfy vantage point … always a great day

9. Showzam … every February Half-term, variety comes to town… centred on the Winter Gardens there is a host of activities to keep the kids amused during the cold, damp weather

10. The Tower … it’s free to enter now & you can sit on the balconies of the wonderful Victorian Ballroom & watch the dancers below while enjoying music from the Wurlitzer Organ. Bars & restaurants are also accessible for free. (other Tower attractions are fee-paying)

11. Stroll around the newly-refurbished Winter Gardens … the architecture is magnificent & the art-deco Mazzei Cafe inside is a haven of tranquility.

I know that’s 11 things … ah well!

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Remember that indoor attractions get very busy when it’s raining but there are plenty to choose from in Blackpool. Here are my top 10 favourites:

1. Tower circus … pass 2 hours (with or without kids!) watching incredibly talented performers in this iconic building. At around £10 per adult it’s a brilliant show!

2. Sandcastle Indoor Waterpark … get wet indoors in tropical heat with a choice of slides & attractions to keep even the biggest kids amused. Ride the roof-top slides if you dare!

3. Madame Tussauds Waxworks … upgraded with new “entertainment” & “variety”-themed models; take your camera along & have a picture taken with Cheryl Cole, Alan Carr, Susan Boyle, The Queen or your favourite performer.

4. The Arena … ice skating anyone?

5. HoundsHill shopping centre … retail therapy at it’s best with all the big High Street names, plenty of seating & places for a coffee or bite to eat

6. Jungle Jims (in the Tower) or The Playbarn (next door to the zoo) … great indoor play areas so the kids can let off some steam

7. Coral Island … the biggest amusement arcade on the Prom with slots, grab machines & rides for the kids; hope you saved plenty of 2p’s!

8. Sealife Centre … sharks, rays, octopus … fish galore

9. The Tower Eye, 4D experience … a 3D film before you go up the Tower is made 4D with other special effects (I won’t spoil it for you!); this is EXCELLENT & not boring at all! Then it’s up the Tower to walk on the glass floor & peer out of the floor to ceiling glass windows (not that you’ll spot the Lake District if it’s raining!)

10. Odeon Cinema in Rigby Road … enjoy popcorn, fizzy drinks & the latest blockbuster

11. The Tower Dungeons … a brilliant interactive attraction (real actors), akin to the Horrible Histories which kids love. A drop ride ends the experience or you can choose not to take this if you prefer.

12. Catch a show in the evening … choose from The Grand Theatre, The Opera House, North Pier, Central Pier & the Pleasure Beach; there’s bound to be something for you!! If not, try the live entertainment in the many bars & clubs. The cabaret at the Talk of the Coast at the end of our street is both free & excellent!

(Yes, I know that’s 12 … but there are so many things to choose from & I could go on). Hope I’ve inspired you!

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Took my grandchildren to Blackpool Zoo this week & it really IS the perfect family day out!

There has been huge investment over the last few years with new enclosures replacing old, out-of-date ones (for example, the sealion area), new animals (such as a new pride of lions), the introduction of completely new animals such as the giraffes & penguins with state-of-the-art, purpose built enclosures (wolves coming this year) & fabulous “up close & personal” areas … my grandchildren LOVED these! Lemur Wood was their favourite as the lemurs were sitting sunbathing on the path, enjoying all of the attention they were getting from the visitors.

They also loved Amazonia (a recreation of a tropical rainforest) with tiny monkeys & parrots running & flying free; watch your bags as the monkeys are very adept at locating food! But it’s just lovely being able to get so close to the animals.

There is a play area for the kids & a cafe for when you need to get a second wind & if the kids STILL have spare energy at the end, there is a price reduction for zoo visitors for Playbarn entry.

Can’t be beaten for a family day out!

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Montezooma & Aztec Falls are 2 new slides for 2012 at the Sandcastle, Blackpool; you can’t fail to spot them even before you enter the building as both slides come off the roof of the building, run part of their courses outside (above the prom) & re-enter the building for a final splash. Both are fast & furious rides, one in the dark, with various spins & turns, one with a “bowl”, too, which you spin around before eventually dropping out for the rest of the ride. Add to these 2 new slides the Master Blaster & Side Winder & the Hyperzone is really the place to get the adrenalin flowing!

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Many of our guests ask us the best place to buy fish & chips when they come to Blackpool & we always recommend Senior’s, which was recently crowned Britain’s best fish & chip shop. There are 3 branches on the Fylde Coast … one in Thornton (near Marsh Mill), one in Normoss (near the Blackpool Victoria hospital) & one in Lytham St Annes High Street. They serve a wide range of fish, John Dory being their speciality, the chips are crisp on the outside & fluffy in the middle & the mushy peas taste the way mamma used to make! The premises are modern & clean & the staff well-trained… well worth a visit!