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Mall of America: SEA LIFE Review

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, there’s the building that most people know of given the title, the Mall of America. With about 520 stores, 60 restaurants, and countless attractions located in the central amusement park, this shopping center is one of the most visited in the country. From where we are now in Eldridge, Iowa, it takes just about five hours to get to this mall. So, to write this article, that’s just what I did. When arriving, you can park in a normal large parking lot out front or in their parking garage that leads you straight to any entrance. Walking in, you can already tell that there are more stores than you can visit with three out of five floors typically visible. Your major restaurants include the Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company, and Margarita Ville, with even more stores and a food court all on the third floor. Few businesses reside on the fourth floor but there is an attraction on the first floor that you might see advertised around the mall. The Mall of America has an interactive Sea Life experience with a walk-through forest, tubes that go through shark and fish tanks, and a stingray feeding area.

Explore 1.3 million gallons of awesome and immerse yourself into an underwater world traveling inside the 300 foot long ocean tunnel. – The Mall of America

Walk-Through Forest Experience

The first area you will find once you’ve reached the attraction is the walk-through forest experience where the entire space is decorated as such. The lighting is dimmed and there is foliage everywhere, along the sides of the trail you follow are numerous medium-sized aquariums filled with different fish and amphibians. Between the water-filled tanks are some regular terrariums with lizards, spiders, and snakes—some of these tanks are accessible by a small tube that lets you get a view from inside. Aside from the countless fascinating animals, there are also a few water features simulating waterfalls and other natural phenomena.

Aquarium Tubes

Just past the forest enclosure are a series of long tubes stretching 300 feet that flow right underneath four million-gallon aquariums. The first tank is called Sturgeon Lake where you come face-to-face with sturgeon, turtles, and some of the largest freshwater fish. The second tank is named Rainbow Reef and holds tropical fish and a green sea turtle. Next, there's the third tube titled Shark Cove, which includes a few ray species, several shark species, and even more sea turtles.

The last tube is the Wild Amazon, in this area you get to experience several types of exotic fish but also countless stingrays including the Cownose Stingray. Following the walk-through tubes, a few rooms include large cylindrical tubes holding creatures such as jellyfish, pufferfish, clownfish, sea urchins, seahorses, and eels. After that, the path leads straight into the gift shop. 

Stingray feeding

Once you’re finished in the gift shop, the first immersive experience is presented to you. In the middle of a large open room is a shallow pool filled with some of the sting rays seen in the tubes you passed through. Rays such as Shovelnose Guitarfish and Cownose Stingray. Despite being shallow enough to touch the rays, this aquarium does not include a touch tank for its rays. The stingray at the Sea Life aquarium still have their spinal blades or “stingers” removed so it isn’t safe to have your kids reaching in. However, they do provide the opportunity to purchase small bits of shrimp to feed the stingray. Past the ray pool, there is a small tank where it is acceptable to reach inside, however, the only living organisms in there are smaller creatures like starfish and coral.

If you love aquariums and wish there was one in the quad cities, then you’ll love to drive a little over five hours to Minneapolis, Minnesota for this immersive underwater experience.

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