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Merlin Entertainments to Open Sealife Aquarium in Rome


Global visitor attraction operator, Merlin Entertainments (Merlin), has announced that it has reached agreement with Mare Nostrum Romae S.r.l to develop plans for a €15 million SEA LIFE aquarium attraction to open in Rome as part of the Municipality of Rome’s Second Tourist Pole development scheme.    

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SEA LIFE will be located in their lakeside Acquario di Roma retail and leisure development.  This new attraction will be complementary to a planned 4D theatre and Mediterraneum exposition, both of which will also feature marine based elements.  Construction of the complex is well under way and it is planned that SEA LIFE will open during Spring 2012.

“Merlin Entertainments is Europe’s leading visitor attraction operator, and we have been looking to find the right development in Rome for some time.   Our experience shows that the combination of quality family attractions such as SEA LIFE, together with retail and restaurant facilities provide a major driver for repeat visits.  We believe that SEA LIFE will greatly enhance the shopping and entertainment experience, and are confident that both local and visiting families will revel in the deep sea wonders that the aquarium will bring, ’ said Nick Mackenzie, Managing Director of Merlin Entertainments’ Property & Development Group.

‘Over recent months we have also developed an excellent working relationship with the Mare Nostrum Romae S.r.l  team, and this was also a key factor in our decision.  Our commitment to build a SEA LIFE aquarium underlines our belief that Rome, and particularly the Acquario di Roma, is a perfect location for what we hope will just be our first attraction here, and we are delighted to be able to move our plans forward.”

SEA LIFE is the world’s biggest aquarium brand with more than 10 million visitors a year and over 30 superb attractions in Europe, USA and Asia Pacific.   The SEA LIFE focus is also always on quality of experience rather than scale, taking visitors on a seamless journey under the sea which entertains, inspires and teaches both young and old.  The attractions offer everything from viewing windows giving a glimpse into the ocean itself; to enlightening talks, feeding demonstrations, as well as involvement in the brand’s global  environmental and conservation marine campaigning.   As with its other ‘midway’ attractions, Merlin calls the SEA LIFE experience ‘fun learning’. 

The Rome attraction will highlight all of the qualities which have gained the brand the support and endorsement of marine experts worldwide; and will house more than 30 spectacular displays of diverse marine life for visitors to enjoy – everything from shrimp and starfish to seahorses, sharks and rays.

In addition, a stunning centerpiece will be a huge tropical ocean tank with a walk-through underwater tunnel.  Finally, in keeping with other SEA LIFE attractions, there will also be a unique element reflecting its location – more details of which will be made available later in the year. 

Finally, as with other SEA LIFE attractions there will be a strong emphasis on educational and marine conservation work in the Rome Centre underlining the brand’s ethos, and supporting Merlin’s consumer research findings in the City which indicate a significant local interest in this area of SEA LIFE’s work.

About Merlin Entertainments

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates over 74 attractions, six hotels/two holiday villages in 17 countries and across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 43.6 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 16, 000 employees. Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions – SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The EDF Energy London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Heide Park, Earth Explorer, Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World, Sydney Tower Observatory and Skywalk, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter Underwater World, Oceanworld Manly and Hamilton Island Koala Gallery.  All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit for more information.

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