National Aquarium Month: Explore SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

By: Scott Davis | June 11, 2015

Have you ever pondered what sea life actually looks like up close? It is interesting to think about how sea creatures interact with each other. There are always going to be mysteries about what exactly takes place several leagues below the surface, but SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium provides a glimpse into that world. The Michigan location opened to the public on Jan. 29, 2015. There are seven other SEA LIFE locations in the United States, and 43 across the world.

“SEA LIFE choose Michigan as its seventh American destination due to its central location in the Midwest and proximity to Canada, its awe-inspiring waterways which we highlight in our exclusive freshwater exhibit and its reputation as a best-in-class entertainment destination,” Debbie Gibb, SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium marketing manager, said.

The 35,000-square-foot aquarium, located at 4316 Baldwin Rd. in Auburn Hills, contains 150,000 gallons of water in 22 tanks! SEA LIFE provides a home to more than 5,000 sea creatures. Turtles, sharks, seahorses, a giant Pacific octopus, stingrays, jellyfish and so much more can be seen through the glass at this aquarium. It truly is a breathtaking site. Check out the website to explore the creatures.

Lionfish

(Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium)

Choosing to place a facility in Michigan turned out to be a great decision for SEA LIFE. The Auburn Hills community and southeast Michigan residents alike have been taking a vested interest in the attraction.

“We are thrilled to share that the response from the community has been incredibly positive! We’ve had families from Michigan, Canada and the greater Midwest pouring in every day since we opened to experience the awe-inspiring, engaging and educational exhibits we have to offer,” Gibb said. “People love that the attraction allows them to get face-to-face with these fantastic creatures, whether through our highly themed exhibits, or through our interactive touchpool that gives guests the chance to actually hold some of the creatures.”

Patrons can watch the animals getting fed, as well as learn facts about the various creatures, and the ocean itself. All day long, visitors are given the opportunity to get up close and personal with crabs, starfish and urchins. The interactive touchpool experience allows those who attend to hold the sea creatures, while learning all about what these sea animals have to offer. See the feeding times schedule to find out when your favorite group of creatures are getting fed or being featured in an exhibit.

“We have daily educational talks at several of our exhibits, as well as the opportunity to witness creature feedings—you can find out what times these opportunities are offered when you arrive at the aquarium,” Gibb said. “In addition to our scheduled talks, we also have a team of fully-trained staff members stationed at our interactive touchpool the entire time we are open to guide our guests as they check out creatures like sea stars and sea urchins, encourage them to hold them and share fun facts about the species and their habits.”

Benson the Rescued Sea Turtle

(Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium)

One recent addition to the SEA LIFE Michigan family is Benson, a rescued green sea turtle who comes to Michigan from the Georgia Sea Turtle Hospital. Benson arrived after recovering from a shell fracture and hypothermic reaction called “cold stunning,” caused by getting hit by a boat off the coast of Florida. Unfortunately, the injuries to his shell prevent him from diving for food and being able to live in the wild, but SEA LIFE is proud to report that after Benson has received around-the-clock care from the aquarist team, he is now happily swimming around his new home in the main ocean tank!

The treatment Benson received at his new home perfectly paints the picture of SEA LIFE’s efforts to protect the marine life in the world. Every person involved with the aquarium has a passion for the sea creatures, and there is an underlying core value that the aquarium employees keep in mind through every step.

“Conservation is at the heart of everything we do here at SEA LIFE,” Gibb said. “Our mission is to educate guests about the amazing marine creatures in our world’s waterways, and inspire them to take an active role in conservation initiatives by bringing them up close to the creatures in engaging, interactive and stunning exhibits.

“In addition to educating guests about conservation initiatives and how they can make a difference through our exhibits, SEA LIFE has also created a Breed, Rescue, Protect program. We run global breeding programs to help sustain endangered species, rescue hundreds of sick and injured creatures and nurse them back to health before returning them to the wild whenever possible, and campaign to protect individual species and environments against exploitation or destruction.”

Through initiatives like The Sea Life Trust, a registered, independent charity, SEA LIFE is doing its part for maintaining marine wildlife. The program works globally on several issues, including banning whaling, banning shark finning, advocating for responsible fishing limits, reducing pollution and much more. To learn more about SEA LIFE’s marine conservation efforts, click here.

In addition to all of the wonderful things already mentioned, SEA LIFE Michigan hosts events. Birthday parties, business functions, and other private functions are all available. The facility is also a regular host to schools on field trips. One of the many benefits of having a birthday party here is that the birthday child receives a free annual pass to the aquarium!

Tickets at the door cost $23.50 for adults, $18.50 for children ages 3 to 12 and are free for children ages 2 and under. Tickets can also be purchased online for a 10 percent discount! There is a maximum capacity limit every half hour to ensure all guests can comfortably experience the aquarium.

SEA LIFE is doing everything possible to educate its guests on marine life, protect the sea creatures and conserve the environment. If you are looking for a fun, educational and breathtaking experience, then visiting this aquarium is in your best interest. Have fun, Metro Detroiters.