The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)


March 23, 2013

Merlin Entertainment to open Sea Life Aquarium at Concord Mills in 2014

Saturday, March 23, 2013 — Global visitor attraction operator, Merlin Entertainments (Merlin), has confirmed that it has reached an agreement with the City of Concord, Cabarrus County and The Mills®, a Simon Company, to develop plans for a $10 million SEA LIFE aquarium to open during Spring 2014 at Concord Mills, the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in North Carolina.

“North America is a very important development market for Merlin, and we are delighted to be able to move forward with this exciting project in North Carolina,”  commented Glenn Earlam, Managing Director of Merlin Entertainments’ Midway Attractions group. 

“We have already worked very successfully on two other projects with The Mills in Dallas and Phoenix; and in recent months we have also developed excellent working relationships with the Cabarrus Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Concord and Cabarrus County.  These were key factors in our decision to come here.  This support, together with our proven success in other key Simon Malls, underlined our belief that Concord, and particularly Concord Mills, is a perfect location for a quality family-based leisure facility.”


SEA LIFE is the world’s biggest aquarium brand with more than 15 million visitors a year and 50 superb attractions in Europe, USA and Asia Pacific.   This will be Merlin’s sixth SEA LIFE Center attraction to open in the USA, and SEA LIFE at Concord Mills will highlight all of the qualities which have gained the brand the support and endorsement of marine experts worldwide.  Initial plans call for more than 30 spectacular displays of diverse marine life for visitors to enjoy - everything from shrimp and starfish to seahorses, sharks and rays. In keeping with other SEA LIFE attractions, there will also be a unique element reflecting the Carolinas’ location based around the marine creatures most associated with the region.  Finally, the stunning centerpiece will be a huge tropical ocean tank with a walk-through underwater tunnel.


The SEA LIFE focus is 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 and many other ways to interact directly with some of the creatures.  Conservation is also at the heart of the business and visitors will see strong evidence of SEA LIFE’s exciting Breed, Rescue and Protect activities around the world, including new projects developed locally.  Merlin calls the SEA LIFE experience “fun learning.”


Set to begin construction during July 2013, SEA LIFE at Concord Mills will be the aquarium of the Carolinas.  It will add a new dimension to the existing family-oriented shopping and leisure activities in Cabarrus County.  Located close to interstate highways and the airport, as well as the world famous Charlotte Motor Speedway, which welcomes tens of thousands of visitors every year, Concord Mills is already acknowledged as being one of the region’s most important and exciting shopping destinations.  It successfully combines quality, big name value retail stores, with some of the best family dining and entertainment venues like SEA LIFE.


“The SEA LIFE aquarium will be a welcome addition to Concord Mills’ successful mix of retail, dining and entertainment concepts,” said Gregg Goodman, President of The Mills.

Text Only
  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Social networks are the new matchmakers

    WASHINGTON - With studies showing that one-third of married couples started their relationships online, finding romance via URLs is no longer as novel - and creepy - as it seemed when dating sites launched in the mid-1990s.

    June 9, 2014

  • Dive into the World’s Most Diverse Marine Ecosystem when Journey to the South Pacific Arrives at Discovery Place on June 7

    CHARLOTTE – Audiences will be taken on an epic IMAX® adventure through the tropical islands of West Papua and experience one of the most extraordinary places on Earth, when the IMAX film Journey to the South Pacific comes to Discovery Place on June 7.

    June 6, 2014

  • iphone4.jpg Five major new features in iOS 8

    Apple has taken the wraps off its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, introducing a suite of new features to users aimed at streamlining some of their most annoying daily tasks.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
     View Results