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SEA LIFE Aquarium Allows Media a Sneak Peek

Nov 21, 2013 04:26PM ● Published by Jason Huddle

Concord - The organizers of SEA LIFE Aquarium, slated to open in Concord Mills Mall sometime in late February, allowed the media to come in for a special "hard hat" tour in order to show off the progress they have made towards completion since beginning construction in late June of this year. Officials say the attraction will feature 5,000 marine creatures on view and will boost the local economy by creating over 50 new jobs.

Although the animals have not arrived yet and no tanks have been filled (that will take place in December, with the animals beginning to arrive in January), officials say the contraction is "about halfway complete". While many of the rooms featured on the media tour were still little more than bare walls, some of the props and tanks are beginning to take shape, including the Ocean Tank and Tunnel which, when completed, will give visitors a view from inside the tank from 12-feet deep, with a 180-degree overhead view of the 117,000-gallonSeaLife Hardhat 3 saltwater tank that will feature sharks, stingrays and tropical fish.

Jack Stevenson, Marketing Manager for the Charlotte-Concord SEA LIFE location, says that while other aquariums, like Ripley's, focus on being "big", SEA LIFE tries to "immerse the visitor into the world of sea creatures." Indeed, the attraction will feature several opportunities for visitors, and especially children, to pear into different habitats through specialized runnels and coves that literally are placed within the exhibits. Stevenson also said there will be a special "black box" area for traveling exhibits, like an upcoming turtle exhibit. He also said there will be so much to see that visitors will need to plan to stay at least 90 minutes going straight through the exhibits.

SeaLife Hardhat 2London-based Merlin Entertainments Group is developing the 36,000-sq.ft. aquarium, which will be Merlin’s sixth SEA LIFE aquarium to open in the U.S. Locally-based Rodgers Builders, Inc. is building the facility.

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