In January, Michigan’s newest aquarium opened its doors to allow guests a realistic and interactive look at the world’ unseen underwater creatures. Since my children love aquariums and all animals in general, we decided to take a short road trip into Auburn Hills to experience newest attraction for ourselves. Because the aquarium was situated inside a mall setting, we weren’t expecting to find what we did on the inside. It was so much more than we could have imagined.
As we entered into the first room we quickly found that each room within the aquarium was themed to specific locations and the creatures typically found within those locations. For example, the first room was fashioned after a harbor with a faux boardwalk created to walk underneath. Within the built-in tanks were fish and creatures we would typically find underwater if visiting a real life harbor area.
A second room was fashioned to appear like a shipwreck with a room that looked like we were walking into the broken side of a ship. Inside this area we took an up close look at an octopus, eels and sharks. Each room thereafter kept within its own theme and each room somehow found a way to wow us more and more. Each room was so different from the last, it was if I could leave one room and enter into a new place in the world by simply walking through a doorway.
Next to each tank and within a child’s reach were interactive touch screen iPads loaded up with interesting notes and information about the creatures within the tank. As my children touched the picture of a creature that they wanted to know more about, the facts, living conditions, predators and origins popped up on the screen. This was especially interesting to my seven-year-old. She read each fact to her little brother (who is 4) as he peered wide-eyed into the large tanks watching the fish swim by. He was more interested in the pretty colors of the fish and tanks than in the facts and figures she was reading off.
To take interactive learning to a whole new level, within one of the rooms was a touch pool where my children could pet, hold and feel different underwater creatures. Some of them were terrifying, like a crab that looked like a spider scurrying around on the water’s floor.Some of them were funny, like the starfish that looked like a chocolate chip cookie. Along side the pool were staff to help educate the children with proper ways to touch and hold the creatures because the creatures’ well-being is very important to SEA LIFE Michigan. SEA LIFE also participates in a Breed, Rescue, Protect program which funds movements to preserve the sea and its inhabitants for future generations. It was at this location that my kids showed me just how brave they were and how chicken I really was, but there was no way I was holding a spider crab.
Nearby Shopping and Restaurants
At first I wasn’t sure about the greatness of the location; however, after visiting, I think that the new SEA LIFE Aquarium has been thoughtfully positioned within the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets right next door to the RainForest Cafe’® and within a mall setting filled with other fun things to do and great places to eat. There is also a movie theatre in the building where you could continue the family
fun. We finished off our fun day with lunch at Rainforest Cafe® and a little bit of shopping without having to bundle up the kids and load them up in the car. Priceless.
Be sure to check out the SEA LIFE Michigan website to pre-purchase your tickets as tickets are sold for specific entrance times and tickets have been known to sell out. There are also discounts available for season passes and 10% off when tickets are booked in advance.
While you are in the area, you could check out 14 more great family friendly places to eat in nearby Detroit, MI or keep the family fun going with a trip to the Michigan Science Center!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by SEA LIFE MICHIGAN