SEA LIFE Blackpool is located on the central promenade in between the North and Central piers, and only 200m south of the iconic Blackpool Tower. Located directly opposite the sea front the centre can be seen on approach from both north and southbound travel along the promenade.
The centre is accessible directly from the public footpath on the promenade, with an alternative entry at the rear of the building (Bonny Street) however this does require the navigation of 7 steps. Both entrances are clearly visible as seen below.
Further accessibility information can be found below but please feel free to contact us if you require any further assistance at Blackpool.Sealifecentre@Merlinentertainments.biz or phone 01253 621258. We look forward to welcoming you soon.
The nearest train station to the centre is Blackpool North located on Talbot Road, approximately 0.8 miles away. Taxis are readily available from the train station and all should have accessible vehicles. On occasion that there aren’t any taxis available, Premier Taxis have a large fleet of accessible vehicles and can be contacted on 01253 401000.
Buses operate frequently from the train station but don’t run directly to the Sea Life Centre. If you are traveling from a nearby location, the 68 stagecoach bus runs from Preston to Blackpool town centre which is just 400m from the Sea Life. There are also bus stops roughly 50m either side of the centre if traveling from other nearby locations. All Blackpool Transport buses are accessible for wheelchair users; however mobility scooters require a permit to be obtained prior to travel. There are no audible or visual announcements made regarding the different stops when traveling on the bus.
Trams operate from Starr Gate all the way through to Fleetwood along Blackpool Promenade. Operating roughly every 10 – 15 minutes, there is a tram stop almost directly opposite the Sea Life Centre. All trams (Excluding Heritage Trams) have level boarding and step-free interiors, with designated pushchair/wheelchair areas to ensure accessibility for all. All except the Heritage trams have both visual & audible announcers to inform passengers of the next stops.
Being situated just 250m from the town centre the surrounding areas are usually quite busy, particularly during school holiday periods. There is a traffic light point roughly 30m from the centre allowing you to safely cross from the promenade and access the centre, along with dropped pavements either side of the centre with tactile paving roughly 100m apart.
There are 16 radar accessible toilets operated by Blackpool Council. A map detailing the location of each can be found here: RADAR toilet map
Hotels with accessible facilities can be found here: Accessible hotels. There is also a Bond Hotel located in Blackpool which can be found Here.
Blackpool wheelchair & scooter hire can offer both equipment hire and repair and can be contacted on 01253 408453 orhttp://www.blackpoolwheelchairs.co.uk/
Car Parking & Arrival
Unfortunately we don’t have onsite parking due to the location of the centre. The street at the rear of the centre (Bonny Street) can however be used as parking for blue badge holders, and there are 2 council operated car parks located less than 100m away from the main entrance. Both car parks have street lamp lighting in the car park areas as well as on the adjacent streets. The streets surrounding the centre are all fairly even, with tactile paving at drop curbs along the promenade with colours to highlight the dropped area as well. The pavement on approach to the main entrance is on a very slight incline and a coloured paved area indicates the entrance section to the centre. There is a loading area outside the main entrance for coaches or taxis however there isn’t a dropped curb. The nearest dropped curb is roughly 20m from the centre.
Main entrance & Reception
The reception area is located on the ground floor directly as you enter. The width of the entrance doors is 1.5 metres. The floor in the reception area benefits from ALCO safety flooring and is level. There is seating available in the conjoined Pirate Adventure Golf area which is less than 10m from the main reception area. Both the reception and golf areas are lit by small spot lights however the area does benefit from a lot of natural light.
The reception desk is 1.1m high however there is a lower area to the right of the reception desk which is 0.8m high, and our team can easily reach across to offer assistance where required. Any wheelchair users are welcome to enter via the right hand (fast track) doors to be served, and any guests who are unable to queue for any reason should make our team members aware and will be happy to serve you separately.
We do offer complimentary tickets for carers.
We have a hearing induction loop system in place at the reception and gift shop. Hearing aid users need to switch to the ‘T’ mode to take advantage of this. Most videos in the centre have subtitles in order to assist guests.
Once you have obtained your tickets there the centre is located on the first floor. There are 36 steps leading to the first floor with 4 landing points every 9 steps. The lighting on the stairs is fairly dim. A lift is available which is 1.2m wide and is located behind the reception desk.
Attraction (Displays and exhibits)
There is background music playing in each area of the centre and some videos have audio playing on them. Informational talks also occur every hour and could seem somewhat loud if unexpected. There is various signage around the site at medium eye level and the lift/toilet signs will soon be made tactile to further aid guests. The narrowest clear door opening width is 0.84 metres; however this can be bypassed if necessary.
Once you have reached the main landing area on the first floor, there are 2 pull doors (1.73m wide) to enter the main attraction. The floor changes from carpet to wooden flooring and there is a very small lip upon entry. Once inside you will first encounter our photo opportunity which can be bypassed if preferred, however you should expect a flash whilst photos are taken followed by a ‘beep’ noise. The lighting in this area is fairly low to suit the ‘shipwrecked’ theme. The Rockpool area is next and provides the opportunity to touch a crab or a starfish. The height of the display is 0.8m high however we do have buckets in order to take animals out of the pool and allow easier access. There is hand sanitiser and a sink which is 0.74m high. The flooring in this area is concrete and you will find a small lip upon entry and exit of this area which is easy to navigate. Next is our main native area, which is back to wooden flooring and part of this section is on a small incline. The lighting remains fairly low however all of the displays are well lit and mostly lower than 0.9m high. The nearest seating from the entrance is roughly 65m away located in the Stingray Adventure area.
From shoreline our next area is Quayside which houses many of our native rays and dogfish. The display is built almost from the ground upwards and is easily accessible. It also has an area which allows you to go behind and almost above the display which is only accessible via 5 steps. You can return via the same 5 steps or there are 9 steps at the end of this display to take you back to the main route. If you choose not to, the area is still completely accessible without navigating any steps however there is a ramp on a moderate decline to a cobbled floor.
Home to our tropical rays this display has 360° access. It also has an area where guests can crawl beneath and get a view from below the display which has an entry gap of 0.81m in height. The flooring is a painted wooden effect and has a waterfall feature which is at a very small incline and subsequent decline. There are 2 wooden benches in this area which do not have armrests and are 0.46m high and 0.4m deep. This area is fairly well lit.
This area has a 1.5m wide entry point with low lighting and a projector visual with information about some of the animals. The floor is a cobbled stone effect and is fairly lowly lit. The displays are all less than 0.8m high and have some rock work theming around the area. The exit to the next area is 1.16m wide.
This area is painted bright yellow and has a yellow submarine audio playing. Lighting is bright and the floor is non-slip corrugated metal. Displays in this area are between 0.9m – 1.15m in height. To exit the door width is 0.98m and the doors are open at all times.
This is our most heavily themed area with artificial woodchip flooring to create the desired theme and plenty of false forestry and trees. The lighting is darker in this area than most parts of the centre and the temperature is often warmer than other areas due to the enclosed space and tropical water. There are sound effects to mimic a rainforest and we usually have a discreet smoke machine in operation in this area. As you progress there is a wooden bridge (at ground level – for theming only) to navigate which is on a slight incline; although the bridge is completely fixed and doesn’t move. The narrowest point in this area is 1.03m wide.
Once through the double doors the flooring changes to concrete and is a fairly lowly lit area. There are however 3 interactive projectors which illuminate some parts of the area. There is some seating which is 0.55m high and 0.5m in depth, with a wooden finish against a themed wall background and no armrests. This wall also provides a divide between the brighter lights from the projectors. Looking on to the main ocean display there are 2 steps which allow closer access to the display which are 0.27m & 0.23m in height respectively and are painted with a white nose for easy access; although it is not necessary to navigate these steps in order to see the display.
The ocean tunnel is directly after the ocean viewing window and is fairly lowly lit with background music for the desired effect. On entry to the tunnel there is a slight incline leading to a wooden decking surface at the beginning of the tunnel. The tunnel itself is 17m in length and is 0.9m wide at its narrowest point from the floor upwards. In the middle of the tunnel there is a benched seating area, 0.31m high and 0.43m deep. The lighting in the tunnel is generally well lit and benefits from a lot of light from the display itself. Towards the end of the tunnel there is a very small lip leading to ALCO safety flooring and a subsequent slight decline. The narrowest point leading to the next area is 0.94m wide.
The lighting in the shop is very good with various product stands and displays. There is a video playing on entry which has subtitles and another video playing behind the till counter which doesn’t have subtitles. The desk height is 0.95m high and benefits from an induction loop fitting. In the shop are there are 13 tables (0.71m high) and 23 chairs (0.44m high and 0.41m in width. Some of these tables are on a raised level up 2 steps. There are 3 high chairs available for use, and various vending machines serving snacks and both hot & cold drinks. The coffee machine is 0.89m high. Background music plays throughout the area but is very subtle.
Behind The Scenes
We offer a Behind The Scenes tour which gives guests the opportunity to learn more about our animals and daily processes. There are contrasting floor & walls, with tiled flooring and plenty of tactile features. The area is fairly small however with the narrowest point being 0.7m wide.
We have 2 sets of toilets on site. Our main toilets are situated upstairs in the main attraction, just after the ocean tunnel but before the last area. There is also a shortcut to the toilets from the Stingray adventure area if required. The entry door to the toilets is 0.84m wide and lighting in all toilet areas is good with ALCO safety flooring on a smooth level surface. The door width to the accessible toilet is 0.87m wide, with a latch lock system on the inside. When facing the WC there is a folding support rail to the left which can be easily lowered in order to assist with space to position a wheelchair and a red pull cord to the right of the toilet to be activated in case of an emergency. The toilet itself is 0.43m high, the hand dryer is 1.1m high and the sink is 0.77m high with push button taps. The toilet cubicle is 1.52m x 1.74. Baby changing facilities are located in the male and female toilets.
The accessible toilet downstairs is usually locked and the key can be obtained from the golf admissions desk. The door width is 0.99m and has a latch lock. The lighting once inside the toilet is bright with contrasting walls and the flooring in the toilet and in the immediate surrounding area is tiled. The cubicle dimensions are 2.54m x 1.60m, with space in front and to the right of the toilet when facing the WC and a red pull cord to the left of the toilet which can be activated in case of an emergency. This toilet has 2 fixed support rails. The WC is 0.74m from the floor, the sink is 0.44m high and the hand dryer is 1m high. There isn’t a mirror in this toilet cubicle.
We have qualified first aid staff on site at all times. You should contact any member of our team if you require any first aid assistance.
We have completed in-house training to assist our staff in aiding disabled visitors to the best of their ability and in the future will have completed the Disabled Go training.
We welcome assistance dogs and can provide water bowls on request however assistance dogs aren’t permitted to go on our Behind the Scenes tour for safety reasons.
The majority of our signage is in white font, with a blue background and orange trim at a low level where possible.
We have 3 refuge points in the centre in the event of a fire evacuation; with an evacuation chair in each location. The first location is on the landing area at the top of the stairs before you immediately enter the centre. The second is located part way through the ‘Shoreline’ area after the ‘Rockpool’ but before ‘Quayside’. The third area is located after the shop and photography desk before you exit down the stairs to the Pirate Adventure Golf. In the event of an evacuation our team members will advise you of the nearest refuge point and our trained team members will meet you and assemble the evacuation chairs in order to safely assist you from the building. The chairs have a safe working load of 120kg.
With the majority of our centre being on the first floor of the building this does limit our ability to make some adaptations. We do plan to review our signage and introduce tactile signage where appropriate. We will also be printing our leaflets and evacuation process in larger print, and will be providing magnifying glasses and pens/paper at our admissions desk for guests to use where required. We will continually review our accessibility statement and if you do have any suggestions we would welcome any feedback. We are currently in the process of installing a changing room with a bed. Our contact details are below.