Black-nosed sharks, Atlantic stingrays and lots of press … oh my! Well the President wasn’t in town and the other notable celebrity, the lovely opera singer Joyce DiDonato is at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. However, with the media swarming a transport truck at Hall’s at Crown Center, it sure seemed like celebrities should be stepping out. The public will get a chance to see the fishy celebrities in person when SEA LIFE Aquarium Kansas City opens April 6.
However, these celebrities had to be whisked from their comfortable watery transport into the new SEA LIFE Aquarium with precision and record speed. The sharks and rays that arrived March 23 are the latest stars to the ever-expanding family of fish and invertebrates that will soon be on display for all of Kansas City to enjoy.
Eventually SEA LIFE will be home to more than 5,000 animals. Today, the sharks and rays received a police escort and then spent some time in the transport truck being stabilized. This act involved pumping the aquarium water into the holding tanks so the sharks and rays could get acclimated to the water conditions here. Displays Curator Aaron Sprowl and other staff members helped with the unloading.
While the sharks were around three feet in length, one ray in particular weighs in at about 100 pounds and had a wingspan of about five feet. They are a graceful and join a smaller family of stingrays already in the tank.
The ocean tank holds 130,000 gallons of water. One of the workers said the tank’s concrete and water puts the whole at about two million pounds. The 130,000 gallons of water is recycled and passed through a comprehensive filtration system every 90 minutes.
SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium will transport guests into the amazing underwater world. SEA LIFE Kansas City will take visitors on an enthralling 2-3 hour journey from the fresh waters of the Missouri River, into the mighty Mississippi River then out into the warm blue coral strewn waters of the Caribbean Sea, ending in the deep dark abyss of the Atlantic Ocean.
This will be Merlin’s fifth SEA LIFE Center attraction to open in the USA, and SEA LIFE at Crown Center will highlight all of the qualities, which have gained the brand, the support, and endorsement of marine experts worldwide.
As Mendy Rose, marketing manager of SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium and Lego Land Discovery Center promises “SEA LIFE Kansas City will offer kids of all ages an immersive, interactive and educational experience. SEA LIFE is all about having fun and learning at the same time- and we’re proud to be another wonderful reason for folks to visit Kansas City.”
The sharks and rays are part of a breathtaking climax of the journey through the aquarium — a 360-degree walkthrough transparent tunnel surrounded by sharks, rays, coral reef fish and a magnificent sea turtle. With marine life all around them, visitors will feel like they are the ones who are enclosed and on display as the creatures swim free and watch the strange humans in their acrylic tube.
Other scenes will include Nemo’s Cave, Key West, Temple of the Seahorse and Conservation.