10 Reasons to Visit Manly Sea Life

10 Reasons to Visit Manly Sea Life


1. The Little Penguins 


The Little Penguin is actually a type of penguin, one of the 17 different types of penguins. As its name suggests it is the smallest of the penguins but boy has it gone some volume on it.


Manly Sea Life is home to a few of these penguins and there is even a daily presentation during which the penguins are fed. Despite living in the aquarium these little creatures have strong personalities who have great fun in their environment. Its lovely to see them swimming about scrambling for food.


During breeding season Sea Life has a live feed from the inside of one of the “penguin nest boxes”.


Manly Sea Life, Sydney


2. The Touch and Explore Display


At the far end of the entry level you will find a touch and explore display. When we visited there were all sorts of amazing creatures in the water. The kids were able to watch sea cucumbers, sea anemones and star fish.


There were also a number of Grey Nurse Shark Eggs which were completely different to what  I understood Shark Eggs to look like. The staff who were helping us out at the rockpool were able to explain some amazing facts to us about the shark eggs and how the sharks put down decoys to distract predators from eating the real eggs. I love learning new things about Marine Life.


3. Playground and Water Play 

Unlike Sydney Sea Life there is a small play area inside Manly Sea Life. The play area fits in beautifully as it has a marine theme. There is a play gym with a slide, a “boat” to sit in and a tunnel to crawl through.

There are also some upstanding structures which I think are sea anemone which the kids can walk in between. I am sure the little ones will feel like Nemo while doing so.

In the same enclosure but beyond another gate is a water play table where the kids can direct the flow of the water using little bricks.

manly sea life, sydney northern beaches

4. Bright purple Octopi 

Our little one who loves all things purple was drawn to the Octopus display. The Octopi are not purple themselves but I think they are put an ultra violet light behind the display. The effect is just mesmerising.

5. The Crocodiles 

I have not come across Crocs at a Sea Life before but we came across two at Manly Sea Life. They aren’t big but they are definitely a noteworthy attraction – especially if you have a 4 year old boy with you.

6. Magnificent turtles 

There are seven species of marine turtles in the world: the fallback, green sea, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley. Of those seven species, six occur around Australia.
At Manly Sea Life you can see one of these species – the Green Sea Tutle. Over the years Manly Sea Life has had a few rescue Turtles who have been saved from boats resulting in serious injury.
Sea Biscuit is an example of one of these magnificent turtles who has been rescued from the waters off Sydney. Sea Biscuit was saved in 2009 when she was a little little baby and is happily living at Manly Sea Life after having her left flipper amputated.

7. Shark Tunnel Walk 


Structured on three levels on the lowest level is the Shark Walk. You walk around with the sharks, rays, turtle and fish swimming all around you. It really is a magical experience.


While the same experience is on offer at Sydney Sea Life Manly is not as crowded so the kids can spend a fair amount of time in one spot watching the sharks right above them or next to them.


sydney aquariums


8. The Breed, Rescue and Protect Programme


There is an overwhelming commitment to conservation and preservation of marine life at Manly Sea Life. Included in their conservation programs are:


  • Information about what you can do as an individual to protect marine life.
  • Manly Sea Life has facilities that cater for the rescue and rehabilitation of marine life and most notably has been a successful rescue & rehabilitation facility for Sea Turtles.
  • The aquarium is one of just a few that has been successful in breeding Grey Nurse Sharks.

Every staff member you meet at Manly Sea Life is helpful and well informed. Best of all you get the feeling that they really care for the animals and their well-being. It feels as though each person involved at Manly Sea Life is committed to their rescue and protect programme.


9. The Sea Horses

I just love Sea Horses and at Manly Sea Life they seem to have loads of them in varying sizes.

There is a display just dedicated to the sea horses where your little kids can get up close to the glass and watch the sea horses bob past.

10. Manly itself 


Manly is stunning. It is a beautiful Northern Beaches suburb that has a few beaches within it. While our favourites, Shelly Beach and Little Manly are on the other side of Manly there are still some great swimming spots close to the Aquarium.


Due to its location you can 1) grab a ferry from the City, 2) have an amazing lunch and one of the many restaurants 3) treat the kids to an Ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s at the end of Wentworth Street and 4) Have a swim at one of the many beautiful beaches.


Sydney Aquariums



  • Make sure you check online to see whether there are any specials. There is a Manly guide book which is available at the desk, at the ferry and online which generally has a 20% discount code.
  • Parking is a nightmare so rather take public transport. If you do drive, just be aware that most on-street parking in the area is limited to 2 hours.
  • On Monday, Wednesday or Friday morning to divers hand-feeding the animals in the Shark Tunnels.
  • Manly Sea Life is not wheelchair friendly. Likewise it is not suitable for prams.
  • There are toilets and change facilities on the entrance level, just on the right.


“There are more species of fish found in Sydney Harbour than in the entire Mediterranean Sea.”

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