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Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium Rating: None

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Home to more than 10,000 aquatic animals, the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium is Bloomington, Minnesota?s public aquarium housed in the Mall of America. When it opened in 1996, after 18 months of construction, it was known as Underwater World, and then four years later its name changed to Underwater Adventures Aquarium which eventually became Sea Life in 2011. Sea Life brags on having the "world's largest jellyfish collection" and the "world's largest shark exhibit".

The whole aquarium is divided into several exhibits that each features a variety of sea creatures from the smallest to the largest kind. Upon entering the aquarium, visitors will first see the Ray Lagoon which has stingrays as its main attraction, viewed through a walk-over deck and special viewing bubbles. This leads to the Rock Pool which is a touch pool added in 2009, together with the Seahorse Kingdom where six species of seahorse reign.

There is also an area called Jellyfish Discovery, where visitors can literally discover that there are various kinds of jellyfish, and some of them are pacific sea nettles, lagoon jellyfish, spotted jellyfish, blue blubber jellyfish, moon jellyfish, and cone jellyfish. Next to this is the Seahorse Kingdom then followed by the Coral Caves, which houses reservoirs of live coral and fish, a favorite among children because of the clownfish and regal blue tang species made popular by the film ?Finding Nemo?.

After passing all through those exhibits, visitors will then enter a 300-foot high acrylic tunnel called The Tunnel and will go through four cisterns: the Rainbow Reef, Atlantis, Wild Amazon, and Sturgeon Lake.

The Rainbow Reef looks like coral reefs and shelters young stingrays, puffer fish, among others. The Atlantis is the largest tank in the aquarium designed to resemble an Atlantis Temple, where everyone can have a close encounter with seven species of shark (visitors can do SCUBA diving there) and leave unharmed. Aside from the sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, brown sharks, wobegong sharks, white tip reef sharks, black tip reef sharks, and zebra sharks, there are also southern stingrays, giant shovel-nosed guitarfish, and green sawfish, joined by two loggerhead sea turtles, two kemp's riddley sea turtles, and two Giant Green Sea Turtles. Swimming with them are species like groupers, red snappers, red drums, pork fish, jacks, permits, and a lot more.

Wild aquatic species are highlighted in Wild Amazon, a representation of the Amazon River. Here, arapaima, arowanas, black pacu, midas cichlids, fossil catfish, pictus catfish, leopard catfish, tiger shovel nose catfish, leopard plocostamus, flagtails, silver dollars, and freshwater stingrays are featured. The Sturgeon Lake resembles a Minnesotan Lake or northern river and the species found there are exhibited in this tank. Among these northern river species are turtles, gar, bass, lake and shovel-nosed sturgeon, common carp, small mouth buffalo, tiger muskie, channel catfish, and paddlefish, among others. There are also alligator gars but are not naturally found in Minnesota. Adventure lovers can go SCUBA diving in this tank and hand feed the sturgeon fish.

The last stop of the walk in the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium is the Touch of the Wild Woods, an exhibit that features koi and red-eared sliders, a live gopher snake, and a 60 year old, 180-pound alligator snapping turtle named Brutus.
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