Work will begin this week on creating a £6.5m Sea Life aquarium at the Trafford Centre.
The 36,000 sq ft attraction is due to open in June 2013 and will be the second operated at the centre by Merlin Entertainments, following its successful Legoland Discovery Centre, which opened in March 2010.
Planning consent was granted in September by Trafford Council for the change of use in the Barton Square part of the Trafford Centre.
The aquarium will be the 14th Sea Life in the UK. It will contain more than one million litres of water, and feature 5,000 creatures in 30 marine tank displays, and underwater ocean tunnel.
Gordon McKinnon, director of operations at The Trafford Centre, which is owned and operated by Capital Shopping Centres, said of the news: "We are very proud of our family leisure attractions, and we aim to be always ahead in the creation of exciting leisure opportunities for our customers. Sea Life is a fantastic addition to that offer, and we're confident it will be a huge hit with our customers."
Russell Barnes, divisional director of Merlin Entertainments, said: "At Sea Life we're passionate about preserving marine habitats and protecting the incredible species that live in them. Marine conversation 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."