January 29, 2015

Sea Life Michigan is Open!

I had the lovely opportunity last week previewing all of the creatures at Sea Life Michigan. I'll admit, three weeks ago when we visited, I wasn't sure what to expect as we were only looking down at the large aquarium. I knew that I was looking forward to visiting the touch tank though! Amazingly, my kids were looking forward to the same thing. Now everyone can have the experience as Michigan's largest aquarium, Sea Life Michigan opens at Great Lakes Crossing.

The Sea Life Michigan Aquarium (Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, 4316 Baldwin Rd.,  Auburn Hills MI 48326) opens today, January 29 for business. Hours for the aquarium are 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Weekdays and on Saturday. On Sunday's the aquarium is open 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $23.50/adults and $18.50 for youth ages 3-12, toddlers under age three receive free admission to Sea Life Michigan.

The Aquarium

My daughter and I spent nearly 2-hours inside to exhibit and would have stayed longer had the preview event not been ending. During that time we went through the entire exhibit once, then had time to go back through it a second time even. I can imagine that if there were more people in attendance, a family could easily spend 2-3 hours in the attraction. It takes time exploring, reading the information on the touch screens at each exhibit, viewing the diverse number of aquatic fish and creatures and spending quality time at the touch tank. Near the end of the exhibit there is even an area where the kids can play on a small playscape.


I really appreciated the message that Sea Life Michigan sends to those visiting too. They have many displays available to help visitors understand that they protect species around the world with their breeding and rescue programs.  For those interested, here is what Sea Life Michigan has to say about that:
Conservation is at the heart of Sea Life's business, which operates a strategy of breed, rescue and protect. In recent years, more than 85 species in our aquariums came from our own or other breeding programs – our aim is to increase this to 135 species by 2016. All others are provided by approved suppliers who are regularly monitored and reviewed by our own experts/independent advisors. 
We work hard with trusted suppliers and breeders to ensure we have animals that will amaze people. We want to educate and instill a passion in our visitors, and we choose species that will make you want to protect our oceans, not just “entertain” you.  
The impact of losing species that are endangered in our oceans is phenomenal, and we must work to educate people to protect these animals. Without seeing animals and being amazed by them, we have no hope of encouraging people to protect them.  
Trust us when we say the concern for the sea creatures' well being is our main priority! You can learn more about our conservation efforts here: http://www.visitsealife.com/michigan/breed_rescue_protect/

The Fish

As I mentioned above, a family could easily spend much time inside Sea Life Michigan. I really appreciated the many touch screen tablets alongside each exhibit. My daughter had a million questions about what she was seeing, certainly there was staff on hand to answer them, but there were others in attendance asking questions too, so we were able to read about what
we were seeing on the touch screens.

Want to know what kid of sea horse this is, where they live and how they care for their young? No problem. Sea Life Michigan is there with most answers your little ones will have!

There are many diverse areas throughout the aquarium too. Of course we spent a good amount of time at the touch tank seeing the horseshoe crabs,  red leg hermit crabs, turbo snails, sea stars, shrimp, slipper lobster and so much more. And that was just in the touch tank. My daughter had two favorites there, the chocolate chip sea stars and the decorator crabs!

I appreciate the Michigan aquatic area since I was able to take the time to talk about conservation as well as share some of the species of fish that we see and sometimes don't see, like the Lake Sturgeon. My daughter appreciated getting a close up view of the blue gills that she likes to catch when we go fishing!  Several of the exhibit areas had kid sized portholes, view through areas and pop up domes that allows them to get as close to the fish as possible. Viewing the world in that way helps a child develope a unique perspective on our waters and the creatures that live within. Certainly I could have crawled in with her, and perhaps I should have, but I allowed her to have her own special experience when we visited!

Moving deeper into the exhibit, families will see an are with several turtle species, coral and life living with the coral, jellyfish and they can walk through a tunnel surrounding themselves with the magic of the sea all around them. Most will appreciate Stingray Bay too as it is amazing to see them swim right up and "smile" at visitors. We were even blessed to have the moray eel pop out to say "hello" and smile for the camera.  


There are many opportunities that you can take while visiting, to impart on your children the majesty of the sea. The ability to talk about our waters and conservation efforts of our waters should be front and center. Our children are one of the future generations that will inherit this earth; seeing first hand, just a few of the many species that inhabits our earth will help them to understand the greater world that they live in. Take your time to explore, slow down, sit in the tunnel, crawl into the portholes with your kids, or sit and watch in wonder as many species of fish and creatures move around you. You will not be disappointed in the experience and I'm pretty sure, that in taking your time, you will see the unexpected during your visit.


The touch pool by far was my daughter's favorite, however she enjoyed the entire experience including taking a fun photo, and wandering the gift shop. She actually can't wait to spend some money in the shop as it wasn't open when we were there. 

Of course my daughter was thrilled to once again get on television as WXYZ Channel 7 was filming a segment at Sea Life too! She's the little girl talking about the Chocolate Chip Sea Star at the touch tank. I think she's a natural. ;)

For a special experience, Sea Life Michigan would be an amazing outing for Ann Arbor families. The attraction is only a little over an hour away - Spend the day, visit the mall, have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe - It will make for an entertaining and educational day that will go down as "amazing" for your entire family!

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