SEALIFE™ Aquarium California

Client: Merlin Entertainment
Construction budget: $10m
Completion date: 2008

The $10 million SEALIFE™ Aquarium at LEGOLAND® California Resort, designed by Kay Elliott opened in July 2008 and was the first SEALIFE™ Aquarium in the United States and is also the first to incorporate 72 LEGO® models.

The aquarium totals 36,000 sq.ft. and is arranged over two-storeys with 36 displays holding more than 250,000 gallons of water in 14 themed rooms. It accommodates more than 200 species and includes “Fin Facts” and quiz trails in order to provide an interactive, inspirational and educational child’s guide to the life of the sea.

Key features of the aquarium include: the Discovery Zone, where guests interact with marine life experts, touch tide pool animals and takes an inside look at the lives of sea creatures from special pop-up viewing stations; the Shoaling Ring, where guests are surrounded 360° by schools of swimming fish; and the Ray Lagoon where several species of rays appear to “fly” through the water in Mayan temple ruins.

There is also a 35 foot long acrylic ocean tunnel allowing visitors to walk through and experience the Lost City of Atlantis.

Creatures that can be seen include sharks, rays, jellyfish, seahorses, an octopus and several species of freshwater fish, which can be found in Californian lakes and streams, as well as cold water marine animals native to the Californian coastline.

The aquarium is entirely geared towards children aged two to twelve. By incorporating LEGO elements, Kay Elliott were able to ‘connect’ the two attractions on the resort and, importantly, provide a fun experience for children that will also teach them about conservation.

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