Michigan’s Largest Aquarium Opens January 29th: What You Need to Know

Shedd Aquarium Chicago Illinois Shark

A shark at Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

Update: Please check out our detailed review from the media preview event we attended.

Original Article

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.

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77 responses to “Michigan’s Largest Aquarium Opens January 29th: What You Need to Know

    • Prices do seem high considering they say it’s a 60-90 minute experience. When we go to the Shedd it’s at least a 1/2 day experience and we could even stay longer to see more if the kiddos weren’t tired by then.

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      • Actually the prices are in line with most aquariums. I have been to quite a few and for my family average is approx 20.00 a person. The shedd cost me over 90.00 for 3 of us. If you think you would visit more than once a year the annual passes would be a good deal.

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    • Its not bad prices look at the prices at the other aquariums least they finally doing something good for that mall it sucks i figured it was gonna turn into the summit place mall in 10yrs maybe now it got a chance not too

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  1. Balancing 35,000 gallons of water to replicate ocean current and ph isnt easy or cheap. I cant wait, my sons 9th birthday party will probably be here.

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  2. The price is not expensive, it is completely acceptable.The aquarium isn’t operating on charity and cheap tickets. Someone mentioned, “Chicago was a longer/cheaper tour” You also have to drive (on gas) three-fours, one way. Spend $$ on hotel and six meals. AND pay the aquarium fee. This aquarium is in your backyard. Find the positive and enjoy.

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    • Only in the back yard for some. I’ve still gotta drive at least an hour and a half. Pointless to put something in that part of the state, such a waste of money. That sestpool is like a gold sink. “How else can we blow the tax payers money.”

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      • Wha…It’s Jenny’s bi*y*dat???h**r***HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE WONDERFUL MS. JENNY!!!******* Hope you had a fantastic day today and thanks a million for all you do!!!

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      • Bronxy,.. You’re mixing “Jews” with “Zionists”,…not a good idea !And to y’all,…There “is”, and has been, an established order (which is becoming more prevalent) for many years. To deny this, is to live a life in someone else’s imagination (I- Magi- Nation), Magi= magician/high priest.Just keep reading the “news”, and everything will be as predicted ! : )

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  3. Close proximity to great lakes crossing mall? Its in the mall right next to the hugely popular bass pro and rainforest cafe. Should have made it a standalone. One thing that mall doesn’t need is another tourist destination. Parking is already a premium everyday of the week there

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    • I work in the mall, and this is a great idea to bring in new cliental. The type of people who go into Great Lakes crossing make it seem like a giant shit hole. Maybe it will be nice to have some families coming in. Plus the ONLY time parking is an issue is holiday season, a whole 3 weeks

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  4. I would love to take my wife & 4 kids there but it takes me $121 to just walk in the door can’t affort that wish they could get the prices down to a reasonable level .

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    • Is that what dialog consists of?That is NOT what is described by humane Zionism. Humane Zionism is the mix of Zionism and democracy that is majority democracy in the mix, but still dual.As Paltaeinisn democracy will have to make a decision on what its mix will be.You are playing bait and switch.

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    • Prices are similar to other aquariums I visited. People spend more on less everyday. Looking forward to taking my family!

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  5. Sorry but the Detroit Zoo … with MORE animals and MORE space costs LESS for admission. And they have more to do there. Zoo costs $14 for adults and $10 FOR KIDS … ALMOST 1/2 of what this aquarium is going to cost. Sorry, but to take the family out for an afternoon to see an aquarium shouldn’t cost over $100. We pay for a family zoo membership every year and it’s not $100 … and that’s for the WHOLE YEAR!!!

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  6. If everyone wants the best value go visit the Belle Isle Aquarium. It’s free with free parking. They are open every Sat and Sun from 10am till 4pm. The Belle isle aquarium is the oldest aquarium in the country opening In 1904. Visit them on Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have visited the aquariums in Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee. They all were basically the same price for admission as this. Not sure what everyone is so upset about. Seems reasonable to me!

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    • It’s only expensive if you DON’T have the money, and from what I’m hearing, an awful lot of people in Michigan, DON’T have that much money! On the other hand, these same people probably buy cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets and go to casinos, so it’s always a personal choice, what to afford and when!

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      • That is the most ignorant comment I’ve ever read. “Probably buy cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, and go to the casinos.” Maybe instead of assuming what they spend their money on think about the fact that there are some people that can barely pay their bills and feed their family. And as a child of 3, I hate to see my dad not being able to take us all to places like that because each person is $20 basically. And my dad works his ass off for all of us. So next time, how bout you keep your mouth shut because you have no right to assume what people do with their money.

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      • Tak Hanne fordi du har taget dig til til et dejligt efrnttæeksomt svar, som jeg nu sidder og guffer i mig, mens jeg kradser en masse noter ned. Og tak for tilbudet om at din kæreste evt. kan hjælpe med opsætningen, fedt!Jeg vil vende tilbage til dig. Igen mange tak for din dejlige respons.

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  8. When my family visited my in laws in Arizona we went to a Sea Life Aquarium. I was beyond pleased with it. My children loved every moment in the aquarium. So many things to look at. The prices are reasonable when you consider they have to make the environment stable for the marine life they have there. I think we spent about 2.5 hours there. Can’t wait to take my kids back.

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  9. Price is to high! Let’s give a break to the average family. Here is another attraction like Disney most cannot aford to take the family.

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    • Ha except Disney is out of line with the cost of park tickets, not to mention all the other expenses that go along with the visit and the costs of just getting there alone. Yes, while $18 does seem high for children, I’d be on the lookout for special deals in the future. Many aquariums have free days during the slow parts of the week, as well as deals for students and seniors. Realistically, it’s around the same price as a matinee movie plus snacks for children, but is far more educational, memorable, and interesting.

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  10. Aquariums are worth the cost of admission. For most people you will never get close to see life Loke this. I for one cannot wait to go. The cost is on the average for most aquariums I have been too. Cost around 25.00 per person in Virginia. The shedd cost me 90.00 for 3 people. Newport aquarium in Kentucky cost pretty close to the same. And the Ripleys aquarium in Tennessee cost about 27 a person.

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  11. Pingback: REBLOG: Michigan’s Largest Aquarium Opens January 29th #motownmom to do | Motown Mom Musings·

  12. Yay! Only $195.00 to walk in the door with my family of 6, are they nuts?? 2 adults and 4 children!! Looks like my family wont be able to join the fun. :/

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    • Just a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw great style and design. &#0v;82Indi2iduals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation.” by Benjamin Disraeli.

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  13. It cost me 200 bucks to get to Rhode Island and back to see my brother on the ocean line. I’d rather vacation for a 4day weekend then spend 200 just to walk in the door at an aquarium sorry.

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  14. Aquarium admissions are expensive, and this one seems fairly in line with others I’ve seen, but we will probably pass. We are Toledo Zoo members, and they are going to be opening their completely renovated aquarium in March. It’s a bit of a drive, but so is Great Lakes Crossing for me. My family of four can visit the Toledo Zoo, including their aquarium, for an entire year for less than what it would cost to visit the new aquarium for a single day.

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  15. Taking Amtrak to Chicago is sometimes cheaper than driving, and it’s much more relaxing.

    I don’t have an issue with the prices. They’re comparable to other aquariums, and you save money since it’s local (no gas/train/hotels required). It’s an aquarium, not a charity. If you don’t want to pay $200 to visit a place, then don’t have four kids (or at least be prepared to pay more for you and your kids to visit a place).

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  16. I have a membership to the Kansas City Sea Life and fully plan on getting one for the Michigan location. I cannot wait to bring my grandson and experience the hands on exhibit with him. It is a peaceful place that I frequent on my lunch just to calm my hectic day.

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  17. 30 gallon tank $100. a few gold n sucker fish $40 view time daily 24/7 Fish food $3. to $10 every few months….Daily family & friend time…Priceless!

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  18. Warning! Having many children will substantially raise your cost of living. DO NOT HAVE MORE CHILDREN THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO RAISE. Go to the park you baby-making machines! Seriously.

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  19. Ain’t no family with 2-4 kids going at those prices! Unless they re-morgage their house! Outrageous price!!!!!

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    • 8-or21r6ma-io spune: salut. am o problema asemanatoare: cand intru in full scren pe orce player youtube vk, pe teava, vlc, bs player mi se vede filmul sau videoul intrerupt dar cand ies din full scren merge la perfectie. ce ar trebui sa fac??? -8

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  20. I’m in Grand Rapids, so Chicago isn’t as far away as it is for a lot of other Michiganders, bit this still sounds awesome ☺. The prices sound totally fair for an aquarium by the way. I am curious if they offer college student discount prices since they seem to have discounts for other kids/students, but my friends and I are still probably going to visit this aquarium regardless.

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  21. Yep, this is Michigan alright. Instead of complaining about the prices (and everything else!) why can’t you folks be thankful someone invested in your economically-defunct state? Being grateful goes a long way. Check the prices in other states for their attractions; they’re higher. There’s just no pleasing a Michigander. You’re all out of touch with reality. Pessimistic attitudes abound! Good luck, folks. You’re going to need it….

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  22. WOW! Totally surprised at all the negativity about prices. Do these people that are complaining really expect to go to an aquarium for $5? It costs a LOT of money in upkeep to run an aquarium and, coming from Grand Rapids, I can make this a day trip without the cost of a hotel and extra meals. This is a FABULOUS addition to Michigan! Be thankful! And if you would rather spend your money elsewhere then do that but realize this is in line with other aquariums and a lot easier to get to than Chicago. (Side note-my family is taking a couple day vacation to Chicago and seeing Shedd Aquarium on the way in but am not looking forward to the traffic of Chicago) I will totally be bringing my family here at some point in the next few months. What a fun, educational way to spend a few hours. 🙂

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  23. To all our loyal followers and readers, I would like to share this with you. This post has by far been our highest viewed and most shared due to the demand for the new aquarium. I do have the exciting news to share that I will be attending the media preview event this week and will have a full report on what visitors can expect and also some photos of the sea life. Thanks again for viewing and be sure to check out the other content on our newly moved to travelthemitten.com

    Chris
    Travel the Mitten

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  24. The articles asks you in the opening sentence to please read the detailed review. All you do is click on it and the article opens. It clearly states in this article that the price is for all day. All they were saying is that it takes about 60 to 90 minutes for the tour. You can go back in multiples times during that same day. Sounds like a good deal to me. With it being a mall and having the Rainforest Cafe right next to it, I think a day trip would be perfect.

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  25. I need to know if the aquarium has amigos to rent? I am recovering from knee replacement surgery but have been promising my Son to take him for his 7th. birthday!! could you please respond a.s.a.p.? We would like to come within the next week or so. Thank You.

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  26. Just went and to be honest it’s worth no more than $5 per a person. You’re better off just going to Cabelas! I’ve been to many other aquariums and this is the worst one yet. So disappointing for the prices we paid.

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  27. COSTS LESS ONLINE
    $13 and $18 purchased for a specific date. Buy just one guidebook for the whole family for $4. There also are tickets $15 and $20 (if I remember correctly) with a guidebook for each person when bought online. The prices above are only “at the door”!

    Like

    • CoÃelmƒÂ¨tpment hors fil : je fais ce soir garde-malade de ma très vieille maman et je regarde d’un oeil Thalassa au Maroc. Ca me fait rire qu’il y ait une marocaine qui dise la même chose que moi ! Elle râle parce que maintenant, pour un litre de lait, il y a un litre de plastique ….

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      Like

  28. Well, I don’t know if (from the Guilty Gear series) counts or not;l8230&A#so, one of the main characters in is basically FtM trans. (Yes, Princess Waltz is, indeed, an eroge, but it’s a very good one, and there are actually very few sex scenes; I’d be willing to go out on a limb and recommend it here.)

    Like

  29. Thanks , I have recently been looking for inoaomftirn about this topic for a while and yours is the best I have came upon so far. But, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?

    Like

  30. I hope the publicity does both parties well. A codnla-einihg tour would be hilarious! I am looking forward to new music from Queensryche. I could care less about new music from Tate. I bought his solo album; I haven’t played it since I bought it.

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  31. Sounds like you should certainly have her evaluated. It won’t stop the &#h#20;naug8ty&28221; perception amongst the ignorant, but it will give you a blueprint moving forward. I would also get an AL-Cat food allergy profile. It’s a blood test that identifies all the foods she may be allergic to and to what degree. My AS son had undiagnosed allergies until he was thirteen and has improved immeasurably after getting rid of those foods. There’s a numbing cream call Emla that makes the needle of the blood test painless. It’s a saving grace. Pediatricians should use it all the time.

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