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
  • dog-sunglasses.jpg Do animals have a sense of humor?

    Right now, in a high-security research lab at Northwestern University's Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, scientists are tickling rats. Their goal? To develop a pharmaceutical-grade happiness pill. But their efforts might also produce some of the best evidence yet that humor isn't something experienced exclusively by human beings.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140317-AMX-DESIGN-FOOD178.jpg Fun and beautiful maps of the world made from signature regional foods

    Food stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves have collaborated on a series of food-based country maps composed of signature national ingredients.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • AvengerExt.jpg Avenger an American value

    If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.

    March 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 4.27.26 PM.png The glitz, the glamour and the movies: 3 apps for Oscar weekend

    With the Oscars approaching, this is a weekend for movies. Download these apps, then watch a few movies, create your own and settle in for the awards show.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140218-AMX-DESIGN-HOTEL182.jpg The rise of the hotel bakery

    One of the key trends in hotel design in recent years has been a sharp focus on creating a hotel lobby that is a destination, not just a pass-through.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • How the U.S. government spends millions to get people to eat more pizza

    WASHINGTON - It all adds up to a lot of calories: On an average day, the report notes, pizza provides 6 percent of the total caloric intake for American children and 4 percent for American adults.

    February 18, 2014

  • Mazda3Int.jpg Redesigned Mazda3 among best new small cars

    Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
    How else can you explain the fact that this relatively small Japanese company is doing what no one else in the car industry seems to have figured out? They’re building cars that get amazing gas mileage and are exhilarating to drive at the same time.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SoulExt.jpg Soul is still stylin’

    Starting under $15,000, the Soul has always pegged its success on buyers who want a trendy, contemporary, eye-catching car without spending a ton of cash. And now that an all-new Soul is out for 2014, it shows that Kia is doubling down on this recipe of combining funky looks and an affordable price.

    February 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 01.jpg US News names its 'Best Cars for the Money'

    WASHINGTON - U.S. News & World Report Wednesday announced its annual Best Cars for the Money list on its Best Cars website.

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • You're doing it wrong: how to make better ramen

    NEW YORK — The finer points of instant ramen preparation may be up for debate, but the noodle cakes and flavor packets bequeathed to the world by Momofuku Ando are un-mess-up-able.

    February 10, 2014

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