Update: Please check out our detailed review from the media preview event we attended.
For years, my family and I have been traveling to Chicago to visit Shedd Aquarium. While there we can view 1000s of sea animals. I have been there with and without kids, and both of these types of trips are rewarding. There’s something about watching tropical fish and sharks swim around that makes a visit to an aquarium a wonderful day trip or centerpiece of a vacation. The good news for Michigan residents is the fact that the state will soon be home to a 35,000 square foot aquarium.
Michigan Sea Life Aquarium is set to open in Auburn Hills as part of the Great Lakes Crossing Mall. The 35,000 square foot attraction is part of an agreement between Taubman centers (owner of several shopping malls in the state) and Merlin Entertainment (owner of Legoland and Madame Tussauds wax museums). There are nine listed Sea Life attractions in the United States with dozens more in Europe.
One of the key pieces of the aquarium is the Touchpool Experience. This attraction allows kids to hold a crab or touch a starfish. A walk through underwater tunnel should also be a key attraction in the aquarium.
More than 250 species and a total of more than 5000 sea life creatures make up this wonderful destination. Species listed on the company’s website are Blacktip Reef Shark, Giant Pacific Octopus, Cownose Ray, seahorses, and jellyfish. The site lists an average of 60 to 90 minutes to enjoy all of the facility and see all the creatures.
The aquarium has the following hours of operations and cuts off entries after one hour prior to closing time:
- Monday-Friday: 10am to 9pm
- Saturday: 10am to 9pm
- Sunday: 10am to 9pm
Ticket prices are $23.50 for adults, $18.50 for children, and kids under 3 are free. The website currently has a pre-opening special price of $17.50 for both adults and children. Not sure how long that deal will last, but it is a good savings for a family of four or more. Michigan Sea Life also offers annual passes for those that live close by or want to make frequent stops. Parking is free for the aquarium.
The aquarium is sure to be a frequent destination for schools as field trips. The site has details on school pricing as well, which brings tickets for kids down to $8 a person for elementary school aged kids. The site also lists details of birthday parties, like a $350 package that includes admission for 20 guests, an annual pass for the birthday child, and gifts and games for the kids.
While the price may seem a little bit expensive, it is likely worth the price for kids and with its close proximity to the Great Lakes Crossing mall makes the perfect day trip or weekend getaway. Remember that a day pass also gets you into the aquarium all day, so you can visit, go do lunch or shop, and then come back to enjoy more viewing.
This destination will likely be busy from the open as there are no comparable aquariums in the state and the closest ones take hours of driving and planning ahead to get to. We plan on visiting this destination sometime in February or March and will update on the results of our trip after.