Merlin Entertainments has just opened a new SEA LIFE centre in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing.
Located at the Landmark Riverside Mall and billed as the “ultimate kids aquarium”, it features over 150 species of marine flora and fauna. The facility is built over two floors and comprises 15 themed areas with 25 ocean tanks and two interactive touch pools.
Merlin already operates a Madame Tussauds attraction in Chongqing. Other Asian SEA LIFE centres are located in Thailand (Bangkok) and South Korea (Busan). However, the new outlet in Chongqing is the company’s first new-build aquarium in China.
Visitors to SEA LIFE Chongqing, which opened on June 15, can check out the following themed areas:
• Shoaling Ring. A deep dark atmosphere and a dynamic natural formation of fish typical of the offshore areas. Silver fish circle 360° around visitors in a synchronised swim.
• Freshwater. A look into local River Yangtze life. In this area guests start to connect the gust with the importance of the water and river to the community – inform, educate and entertain.
• Wave Crash. A rocky cave, surrounded by shoreline creatures and crashing waves.
• Stormy Touch Pool – An interactive rock pool experience by day and a stormy spectacular by night.
• Harbor. Here fish live in, around and under the stilted piers and platform decks.
• Seahorse Nursery. Seahorses swim amongst mangroves in this atmospheric small space.
• Tropical Island Touch Pool. Offering hosted talks and hands-on opportunities for children to get close to tropical sea creatures.
• Stingray Bay. A tropical lagoon where guests can watch the graceful rays and tropical fish in a central tank.
• Coral Reef. A crawl-through tank, where visitors can view coral after dark.
• Ocean Tunnels. See creatures upside down, side by side and become immersed as if they are in the ocean.
• Jellies. A jelly fish paradise complete with colourful lighting effects.
• Sunken Shipwreck. Featuring tropical fish and amazing coral through slatted timber portholes and bubble dome tanks.
In addition, the aquarium offers an education programme as well as a behind-the-scenes tour. The later allows guests to look into the day-to-day work of marine biologists as they tour around ocean tank, quarantine, water test room, food preparatory room etc.
A special feature examining how Merlin has fine-tuned the SEA LIFE ‘Midway’ format for the Chinese market will follow soon on Blooloop.
Image: SEA LIFE Chongqing