One of the first places we visited during our week in Blackpool was Illuminasia, the brand new 'must see' attraction housed inside the wonderful Winter Gardens.
Illuminasia is the world's largest indoor illumination experience that effortlessly blends traditional Chinese lantern crafts with the latest in lighting technology. Inside the exhibition you'll find hundreds of incredible handmade structures covering thousands of square feet, all under-cover. The perfect attraction for a rainy day!
Visitors to the exhibition can enjoy six immersive and interactive zones including "The Mysteries of China", "The Land of the Giants", an underwater adventure in "The Deep" and "The Blackpool Experience" where you'll find Blackpool in miniature complete with replicas of favourite landmarks overlooked by lifesize versions of Mooky the clown and Mr Boo from the Blackpool Tower Circus.
One of my favourite parts of the exhibition is "The World of Wonders". Here you'll find some of the most famous landmarks from around the globe including a mini Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Sphinx of Giza and a 45 foot high exact replica of the Blackpool Tower. When viewed from above, this area is completely stunning and the attention to detail is incredible.
We loved that the exhibition begins with a talk giving some background information about Illuminasia and the taking of photographs by visitors is actively encouraged. We also enjoyed the fact that there are hardly any barriers meaning you can get really close to each of the structures.
Illuminasia is truly an interactive experience, there's even a quiz you can take round with you (you'll get a certificate at the end!).
One thing I will point out is the Winter Gardens building has a lot of steps and isn't the most buggy friendly place if you're visiting with a baby! Luckily we had our 'holiday pushchair' with us so carrying it up and down steps was not a problem but a note at the beginning of the attraction would have been helpful as we would have carried round Miss E instead if we had known.
Tickets are priced on the door at £12.95 for adults and £9.95 for children (ages 3-14). Children under the age of 2 are free and a group of 4 ticket can be purchased for £40.00. Discounts can be found online if booked in advance although we purchased tickets from the tourist information centre on the promenade for just £8.00 each per adult (you can find big discounts for most of the big attractions here too).
Included in the price is the "Lazer Show" where you'll see the GloBot performing underneath London's tower bridge to the specially commissioned theme song for the exhibition. We thought this part was a bit rubbish and enormously cheesy but I guarantee the song will stay in your head forever (not in a good way either!).
Illuminasia opens every day from 11.00 until 18.00 with last entry at 17.00 as it will take at least an hour to get around the whole thing! We visited in a morning and it took us about 2 hours in total to see everything.
There is also a cafe at the end of the exhibition serving light meals, drinks and snacks which carries the theme of the exhibition complete with glowing lotus flowers on tables. We ate there for the novelty of dining in the dark though it was the perfect atmosphere for Miss E to have a good nap after all the excitement!
You can find out lots more about Illuminasia and see a video of the 56 days it took to create it condensed into just 4 minutes at their website here.