Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium
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Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium
SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium
Sea Life Minnesota logo.png
MoA Aquarium.jpg
Shark tunnel at the aquarium
Date opened 1996
Location Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota, United States
Coordinates 44°51?15?N 93°14?32?W / 44.85417°N 93.24222°W / 44.85417; -93.24222Coordinates: 44°51?15?N 93°14?32?W / 44.85417°N 93.24222°W / 44.85417; -93.24222
Land area 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2)
No. of animals 10,000+[1]
Volume of largest tank 500,000 US gallons (1,900,000 l)
Total volume of tanks 1,200,000 US gallons (4,500,000 l)
Website www.visitsealife.com/Minnesota

Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium is a public aquarium located in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, United States. It is home to thousands of aquatic creatures, including a large collection of sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and freshwater fish. The 1,200,000-US-gallon (4,500,000 l) aquarium also features sea turtles, octopuses, and lobsters. Freshwater exhibits include game fish from the northern region of the United States, several giant catfish and a 180-pound (82 kg) alligator gar from the southern United States.

The aquarium includes a 300-foot (91 m) clear acrylic tunnel[1] that lets visitors explore the underwater world while remaining dry. The thickness and curvature of the glass makes the animals appear about 20% smaller.

History

The aquarium at the Mall of America was opened in 1996 under the name Underwater World. The aquarium took 18 months to build. In 2000, the re-opening of the aquarium changed its name to Underwater Adventures Aquarium. In 2008, the aquarium became a part of British-based Merlin Entertainments group of attractions, and was rebranded as a Sea Life Centres in March 2011.

In the summer of 2009, the aquarium debuted a brand new exhibit, Seahorse Kingdom, as well as a brand new touch pool for guests to interact more with sea life. This touch pool will be replaced with two new ones following the renaming.

In March 2010, Jellyfish Discovery was opened as the largest jellyfish exhibit worldwide.

In March 2011, SeaLife officially completed the transition to a Merlin Entertainments' Sea Life Centre, and was renamed Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium. The re-brand featured updated theming throughout the aquarium and many new exhibits, including: a Caribbean tank, featuring Moray Eels and Lionfish, Ray Lagoon, an interactive Stingray exhibit, touch pools, Garden Eels, a new Octopus, and Harbor exhibit.

In March 2012, Mysteries of the Rainforest was opened and features many new species of live animals, including: Spectacled Caiman, Poison Dart Frogs, Tortoises, Piranha and more.

In April 2016, Shark Discovery was opened and features interactive elements designed to educate visitors on shark-friendly fishing methods and conservation.

Exhibits

When the aquarium reopened in 2011 as Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, the visitor flow through the aquarium was reversed.

Stingray Adventure, opened Spring 2015, is the first exhibit guests can visit when entering the aquarium. It features a Pacific Northwest Rockpool, Shipwreck and Ray Pool where guests of all ages can touch and feed the stingrays.

Jellyfish Discovery features different kinds of jellyfish including pacific sea nettles, lagoon jellyfish, spotted jellyfish, blue blubber jellyfish, moon jellyfish, and cone jellyfish. This exhibit highlights interesting facts about jellyfish and includes trivia.

Shark Discovery features interactive exhibits designed to teach visitors about shark conservation. This exhibit includes both digital and traditional interactives.

Seahorse Kingdom features six species of seahorse, including pregnant seahorse fathers and baby seahorses, and was added in 2009 along with the touch pool. Sea Life has been a pioneer in the field of Seahorse breeding, successfully breeding and rearing nine different species to date to help this very sensitive and endangered sea creature from facing extinction.

The Coral Caves is home to tanks of live coral and fish such as Clownfish and Regal blue tang, which are popular with children due to them being characters in the film Finding Nemo.

After Coral caves, visitors enter The Tunnel, a 300-foot (91 m) acrylic tunnel that goes through four tanks: Rainbow Reef, Atlantis, Wild Amazon, and Sturgeon Lake.

  • Rainbow Reef resembles coral reefs, and is home to schooling stingrays, puffer fish, and many others.
  • Atlantis is themed to look like an Atlantis Temple, and with a volume of 500,000 US gallons (1,900,000 l) it is the largest tank in the aquarium. Atlantis is home to seven shark species: Sand tiger sharks, Nurse sharks, Brown shark, Wobbegong sharks, White tip reef sharks, Black tip reef sharks, and Zebra sharks. It also contains southern stingrays, giant shovel-nosed guitarfish, and green sawfish. Atlantis is also home to several sea turtles - two Loggerhead sea turtles, two Kemp's Riddley sea turtles, and a Giant Green Sea Turtles which was added in March 2011. In addition, it has groupers, red snappers, red drums, pork fish, jacks, permits, and many more species.
  • Wild Amazon consists of an arapaima, arowanas, black pacu, midas cichlids, fossil catfish, pictus catfish, leopard catfish, tiger shovelnose catfish, plecos, flagtails, silver dollars, and freshwater stingrays. This is meant to simulate the Amazon River, which has more freshwater species of fish than any other body of water in the world.
  • Sturgeon Lake is a fresh water exhibit designed to simulate a Minnesotan lake or northern river. That is, with the exception of the alligator gars, which cannot be found naturally in Minnesota. The other species exhibited in this tank include turtles, gar, bass, lake and shovelnose sturgeon, common carp, smallmouth buffalo, tiger muskie, channel catfish, and paddlefish, among others.

Mysteries of the Rainforest is the final, and most recent exhibit in the aquarium, and features Caiman, Poison Dart Frogs, Tortoises, and Piranha.

Promotions

Sharky, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium's mascot, roams the Mall of America, shaking hands with shoppers, hugging fans, and posing for photos. He is often accompanied by aquarium employees with discount coupons for the aquarium, and/or stickers for children. Sharky can also be found at many offsite events. Like many mascots, Sharky never speaks, though he clearly understands English and replies by pantomime.

Extreme Adventures

The aquarium has several additional adventures for a fee, including:

  • Snorkeling with the Fish: This program is an hour long - surface snorkeling adventure. It allows guests to get up close to over 75 types of tropical fish including Puffers, Sea Turtles and Sharks. You must be at least 9 years old to participate in the snorkeling program and comfortable in the water but no special certifications required.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tours: This tour is a 45-minute trip through the aquarium's food-prep kitchen, laboratory and the "top of the tanks" - above the aquarium exhibits and as close as possible to over 150 sharks without getting wet.
  • Sleeping Under the Sea: An adventure where groups are able to hike through the aquarium at night and sleep under their favorite creatures. This program includes a pizza party, behind-the-scenes tour, breakfast, and a souvenir T-shirt.

Sea Life Minnesota also hosts birthday parties, wedding proposals, and even an underwater wedding.

Events

  • February 2002: The aquarium hosted Minnesota's first ever caviar tasting, which featured an American caviar connoisseur, was the kick off for the 8th annual Twin Cities Food and Wine Experience, and gave all money raised by the event to Minnesota Public Radio.
  • February 2006: The aquarium hosted an underwater wedding, the Today Show stopped by to film the event.
  • July 24, 2007: The aquarium celebrated the release of Prince's new album by wearing purple shirts, having an impersonator perform in the aquarium, and naming a guitarfish after the musician.
  • July 20, 2008: The aquarium participates in Lake Calhoun's Aquatennial Event: Shark Fest XII Beach Bash
  • February 14, 2010: The aquarium continued with its Tunnel of Love tradition by providing couples the opportunity to dine in the ocean tunnel.
  • November 19, 2011: the aquarium hosted Sharks After Dark, which featured food, games at Sky Deck, live music, and the chance for guests to experience the aquarium in the dark.
  • February 14, 2012: The aquarium began a new Valentine's Day experience called Sea of Love, featuring: h'orderves served throughout the aquarium, music, dessert, and a Sky Deck game card.
  • April 28, 2016: The aquarium opened a new Shark Discovery exhibit focusing on shark conservation practices.[2]

Incidents

On February 1, 2008, a young female white tip reef shark was attacked by a larger sandtiger shark named Jesse, in full view of the public. The young shark survived the attack and made a full recovery.

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Plan Your Visit". visitsealife.com. Merlin Entertainments (Sea Life) Limited. Retrieved 2013. 
  2. ^ http://alishops.com/moa/new-shark-exhibit-at-sea-life/

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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