Thursday, October 21, 2010
Interactive aquarium called Sea Life to open in Grapevine in June 2011
The 45,000 square-foot, two-story facility will be housed at Grapevine Mills Mall.
GRAPEVINE Hey North Texas, slip on your goggles and flippers and get ready to dive in! Sea Life Aquarium, an interactive, entertainment center, opens in Grapevine June 2011.
After years of discussions of an aquarium in Grapevine, “the talk stops today and reality comes to life," said Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate as he addressed those in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s newest family and tourist attraction on Wednesday.
The Grapevine location will be the 34th Sea Life to open worldwide and only the third one nationally. The first U.S. Sea Life opened early 2010 in
Phoenix Carlsbad, Calif., but as Janine DiGioachinno, Merlin Entertainment’s divisional director for the U.S., puts it, “everything is bigger and better in Texas." Promising to be both entertaining and inspiring, Sea Life Grapevine will take visitors on a seamless adventure through the native waters of Texas and beyond, educating both the young and old.
The 45,000 square-foot, two-story facility will be housed at Grapevine Mills Mall adjacent to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, another Merlin venture opening April 2011. Having both Sea Life and Legoland Discovery in the same place will be a first for the Merlin Entertainment group. However, DiGioachinno feels that Grapevine’s large family population and high tourist volume make it an ideal place for both venues. It is estimated that the cost to build the aquarium will be $15 million. The attraction has been designed with its child visitor in mind, boasting many interactive exhibits. More than 30 display tanks will feature 5,000 sea creatures from 12 habitat zones. The idea is to provide a hands-on opportunity to learn about Texas marine life — both past and present — as well as aquatic creatures from around the globe.
The aquarium will display life currently native to Texas waters such as the large mouth bass and the channel catfish and will also take visitors on a journey through Texas’ watery past, exploring the lives of creatures that once inhabited the southwest region. The aquarium will also feature fish and other creatures from far away such as the south pacific clownfish. Visitors will witness colorful tropical fish darting through the coral of Shipwreck, one of the many planned exhibits. Stingray Bay will feature a host of stingrays from around the globe. Visitors will pass through the glass floor auditorium, a 360 degree glass tunnel with sharks and other sea-life just below their toes and right above their heads.
Those joining Tate at the groundbreaking ceremony included State Representative Vicki Truitt, Grapevine area civic leaders, and local area school children, all of whom helped “turn the sand” during the ceremonious occasion. As Tate said, “Sea Life Grapevine will have a substantial impact on the business and tourist market in the city” and is sure to provide a fun learning experience.
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