Representatives from local government, Merlin Entertainments, MEDC, Detroit CVB and special “Kid Reporter” took the stage at Tuesday’s ceremony
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., September 29, 2014 – Merlin Entertainments Group, the world’s second largest visitor attraction operator, celebrated ongoing construction and kicked off the countdown to the Spring 2015 grand opening of SEA LIFE Michigan with a “sandbreaking” ceremony at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets on Tuesday, Sept 23.
“As a world-class shopping, dining and entertainment destination, Great Lakes Crossing Outlets is the perfect choice for the 7th American SEA LIFE attraction,” said Hayley Townsend, General Manager of SEA LIFE Michigan at the podium. “Though fueled by the power of our international brand, SEA LIFE Michigan will take on its own identity that will be a reflection of the local community and wildlife.”
“We are very pleased that Merlin has selected Auburn Hills as the location for the next SEA LIFE attraction and are excited to welcome the world’s largest aquarium brand to our community,” added Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel.
Remarks were also given by:
- L. Brooks Patterson, County Executive, Oakland County
- Steve Berlow, General Manager, Great Lakes Crossing Outlets—The Taubman Company
- Kevin McDaniel, Mayor of Auburn Hills
- Thomas A. Tanghe, Auburn Hills City Manager
- Leslie Hornung, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
- Bill Bohde, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Set to open early next year, construction on SEA LIFE Michigan began in late Spring 2014. The 35,000-square-foot aquarium, which will be the 42nd in the world, will bring guests nose-to-nose with more than 5,000 amazing marine creatures such as sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, sea horses and more through engaging, interactive exhibits, including a 180-degree underwater tunnel and touch pools.
The “sandbreaking” event served as the official Michigan welcome party for the brand, involving a ceremonial mock groundbreaking in a sandbox and kicked off by “kid reporter” 11-year-old Nina Groll of Saginaw. Nina also closed the event by inviting the kids in the audience to partake in a treasure hunt in the custom sandpit.
SEA LIFE, the world’s largest aquarium brand, is focused on providing amazing, breathtaking and educational experiences that wow guests, and inspire them to take an active role in conservation. In addition to operating its more than 40 international attractions, SEA LIFE runs its “Breed Rescue Protect” initiative, which includes breeding endangered species, rescuing hundreds of sick and injured animals and releasing them back into the wild, and actively campaigning to protect individual species and marine environments from exploitation or destruction.
To download photos from the event, click the images below:
About SEA LIFE Michigan
SEA LIFE Michigan is a 35,000-square-foot aquarium slated to open in Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Spring 2015. As the 7th SEA LIFE location in the United States, and the 42nd in the world, SEA LIFE Michigan will feature engaging, educational and one-of-a-kind experiences that bring guests nose-to-nose with more than 5,000 amazing creatures, including sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, sea horses and much, much more. SEA LIFE provides a glimpse of the diversity of marine life while also playing an active role in animal and environmental conservation. Visitors will see strong evidence of SEA LIFE’s Breed, Rescue and Protect activities around the world, including new projects developed locally. For more information, visit www.visitsealife.com.
About Merlin Entertainments
MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 98 attractions, eight hotels/three holiday villages in 22 countries and across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 54 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 21,000 employees.
Merlin has nineteen attractions in the USA – including two stunning LEGOLAND Resorts – LEGOLAND Florida with its Water Park and LEGOLAND California theme park with Water Park, SEA LIFE aquarium and exciting new hotel; Madame Tussauds celebrity wax attractions in New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Hollywood; LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Chicago; Dallas/Fort Worth; Kansas City Missouri; Atlanta, Georgia; and Westchester, New York; and SEA LIFE aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas/Fort Worth; and the Mall of America in Minneapolis – underlining the company’s position as the world’s biggest global aquarium operator.