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Mall of America aquarium to debut 'Octopus Garden'
The Sea Life Aquarium at the Mall of America in Bloomington plans to debut its
"Octopus Garden" exhibit on Friday, March 8, 2013. (Courtesy of Mall of America)
The Beatles song notwithstanding, you don't need to be under the sea to find
an Octopus Garden. One opens this week at SeaLife Aquarium at Mall of America in
Four years ago, Britain-based Merlin Entertainments bought the former
Underwater Adventures aquarium and made plans for a $5 million upgrade. Its
latest splash comes Friday, March 8, with the opening of the Octopus Garden
John Sullwold, the aquarium's marketing manager, said the new five-tank
exhibit features three species of octopus, baby cuttlefish and a chambered
nautilus. It opens in time for the spring break rush.
Unlike SeaLife's other new exhibits -- such as Mysteries of the Rainforest in
2012, or Jellyfish Discovery in 2010 -- Octopus Garden will be at MOA only until
December. Then it will travel to other SeaLife properties.
Merlin Entertainments has venues across Europe and North America, including
Legoland theme parks and a growing number of SeaLife properties.
Back in 2011, under Merlin's ownership, "Basically the whole aquarium was
rethemed," Sullwold said. "We added a lot of new tanks," including an eel tank,
a ray lagoon, a touch pool, a coral tank, a tropical tank and a shoreline tank.
Visitors have responded, and "we're continuing to see numbers grow," Sullwold
said. "It's more focused on conservation now and a lot more interactive."