Underwater Adventures Aquarium becomes Sea Life Minnesota at Mall of America

11:31 AM, Mar 10, 2011   |    comments
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The aquarium at the Mall of America is going to new depths to bring folks an improved experience.

"You will notice changes right away," says Craig Atkins.

"Underwater Adventures" has become "Sea Life Minnesota" and aside from a change in name, thousands of new creatures will be released along with new interactive exhibits.

"This has been a project we've been working on for a few years," says Atkins, the general manager of Sea Life Minnesota. "We have a new touch pool that allows kids and adults to learn about aquatic life through hands-on experiences."

Included in the touch pool are sea stars, snails, horseshoe crabs, and shrimp that will crawl on your hand. A new sting ray exhibit will open to the public as well.

"We are releasing a new sea turtle, too," says Christoph Noetzli.

The 12-year old turtle has a unique history.

"She came to us from Florida and was hit by a boat propeller ten years ago," says Noetzli. "She's being rehabilitated here."

The damage done to the turtle's shell causes her to bob at the surface of the water. She is unable to survive in the wild because she can't dive for food or find safety. The staff at the aquarium has attached weights to her shell that will counteract the flotation problem.

"Here at 'Sea Life' she can live out a long life," says Noetzli.

Plus, she has a hip, new name: Swim Kardashian.

Sea Life Minnesota will now be home to twice as many creatures as before bringing the total to 10,000. The shark exhibit will continue to be a focal point.

The aquarium typically sees 1,000 spectators each day and 5,000 on Saturdays and Sundays.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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