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Cabarrus Magazine

Sea Life Aquarium Officially Breaks Ground

Sep 26, 2013 12:22PM ● By Jason Huddle
Concord - Merlin Entertainments (Merlin) officially broke ground on its newest attraction, the SEA LIFE Aquarium, which is set to open inside Concord Mills Mall in the Spring of 2014. Several elected officials, and people closely associated with bringing the 26,000 square foot, indoor attraction to Concord, were on-hand to speak at the event, whcih hosted the public and media, including Ray Soporowski, VP/General Manager, Concord Mills®, James Paulding, Head of Openings - North America, Merlin Entertainments Group, Carroll Gray, CEO, Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, Donna Carpenter, President/CEO, Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Concord Mayor J. Scott Padgett.

SEA LIFE is the world’s largest aquarium brand with more than 15 million yearly visitors. The Concord Mills location will be Merlin’s sixth SEA LIFE center to open in the U.S. The facility will be a one-story, 26,000-square-foot indoor aquarium with an additional 10,000 square-feet planned for future expansion. It will be housed in the sapce that formerly belonged to NASCAR Speedpark at Concord Mills.

Merlin siad that this will be a "one-of-a-kind experience (that) will get you up close and face-to-face with over 5,000 amazing underwater creatures such as sharks, stingrays, starfish, seahorses, jellyfish and thousands of colorful fish." SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord will feature more than 20 spectacular displays of diverse marine life.

In keeping with other SEA LIFE attractions, there will be unique elements reflecting the Carolinas’ location, based around the marine creatures associated with the region. The stunning centerpiece in the aquarium is a huge tropical ocean tank with an acrylic walk-through underwater tunnel. The aquarium also will offer a touchpool, viewing windows, enlightening talks, feeding demonstrations and other ways for visitors to interact with various marine creatures.

Conservation is at the heart of SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord. Visitors will see strong evidence of SEA LIFE’s “Breed, Rescue and Protect” activities around the world, including new projects developed locally. Interactive information aims to educate and inspire children on the future of our oceans. SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium is “fun learning” at its best.

BayofRays renderingFun Facts About SEA LIFE

  • SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is the sixth SEA LIFE location in the U.S.
  • At SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord, you will travel from the rivers of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond.
  • SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord provides visitors with a mix of education, conservation and fun.
  • SEA LIFE’s conservation message is “Breed, Rescue and Protect”.


  • 26,000-square-foot indoor attraction with an additional 10,000-square-feet planned for future expansion
  • Over 5,000 creatures, including sharks, seahorses, octopus, jellyfish and rays
  • 150,000 gallons of water
  • 9 habitat zones, featuring 21 display tanks
  • 12’ deep ocean tank
  • 180° acrylic underwater viewing tunnel
  • Interactive touchpool experience
  • Educational talks and feedings throughout the day
  • Kids’ quiz and activity trail
  • Presentation video theatre
  • Children's soft play area
  • Retail store
Visit Length

On average, guests will spend 60-90 minutes in the attraction.

For More information, please visit

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