The smell of fresh sawdust, the sound of clanking equipment, I must be in the right place! As I walked into the Great Lakes Crossing mall at District 7, I was excited to see the floor to ceiling white construction wall holding up two huge posters announcing the new arrival of the new SEA LIFE of MICHIGAN aquarium. Directly across the corridor from where I was standing was the Rainforest Cafe, who was gearing up for the day by making a huge racket of animal noises and storm sounds. This is a great location for a family friendly outing, I thought.
I headed over to the press check in table to well, check in. “You’ll have to wear a hard hat today”, said the lovely lady behind the table, “We’re going to be walking through the construction zone to see the progress.”. Sweet! I thought. I couldn’t wait to see what was behind that mysterious, big white wall. I popped on my hat, after having only a quick thought about head lice, and waited to go inside with the others.
Upon stepping behind the white construction door, my eyes grew bigger. I was blown away by the way the interior appeared. The artwork placed into each component was mesmerizing. The realistic looking rocks that went all the way up to the ceiling and around corners, the curves of winding hallways that took you into different themed rooms, and the layout of the tanks in an interactive fashion, I loved it all.
As we walked from room to room , guided by the designers of this underwater wonderland, I was able to paint in my head what the final appearance was going too look like. There will be harbors with wooden docks, touch pools with real fish to pet and shipwrecks hiding octopuses within their brokenness. This place was not going to be walls and walls of tanks, but rather an experience like none other. This aquarium is going to be a place to inspire both children and adults alike to learn more about sea life housed within it and how to do more to save it and promote it’s growth in the wild.
As we made our way through the tour, we came upon a large (very large) tank. In the back of the tank was a sea queen with what appeared to be octopus tentacles coming from her. It was in this tank that they first let the water fly. As the man with the large water tube waited, some children invited by the Sea Life of Michigan dumped in the first buckets of ceremonial water. Moments later the pipe was turned on and water came flowing out. They said that it would take a few days before this tank would reach it’s limit. <—yep, that big.
The best part, for me, about that huge 120,000 gallon tank is the tunnel that walks through it. When the aquarium is open, guests will be able to walk into a 360 degree viewing tube and imagine that they are standing at the bottom of the ocean, fish swimming all around them. This, I think, will be my favorite spot.
After being given this little tour, I am even more excited for the Sea Life of Michigan aquariums to open. I’ll keep you updated as I see and hear any more about the progress of this site. Also, don’t forget to enter your kids 8-12 into the Sea Life of Michigan Young Environmentalists Panel for a chance to win passes to the aquarium! I think it’s a great opportunity to nourish a possible passion.
Next time your at Great Lakes Crossing mall, check out the large mural painted on the outside of the building and familiarize yourself as to where this place is located. You’ll want to be ready when the doors open in the Spring of 2015! Advanced tickets will be available online in November! Get yours or find more information here: http://www.visitsealife.com/michigan/