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It may be one of the more unique vehicles to travel Interstate 85; a giant truck loaded with sharks, rays,and all kinds of ocean creatures traveling the roads of landlocked Cabarrus County.
This unusual convoy had been set to arrive in Concord last week, but the winter storm and those treacherous Atlanta roads forced the fish to head back to Florida and wait for better weather.
But on Thursday there were no problems, and the convoy was able to successfully finish the journey to Concord, carrying all of the creatures that will be the stars of the Sea Life Aquarium at the Concord Mills Mall. The aquarium is set to open on February 20.
On Thursday the highlights included the release of three Blacknose sharks into the huge ocean tank.
The sharks thrashed about in their stretchers while workers rushed them from their pools in the trailer of the truck and then into the tank.
Sea Life is specifically designed to educate and engage kids and the young at heart, the 36,000-sq-ft aquarium will bring visitors face-to-face with the underwater world.
The grand opening festivities for the public as well as regional and state tourism officials begin at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 20 with a ribbon cutting, welcome speeches, the unveiling of the custom mural painted by area children, and a celebration of Merlin's 100th attraction. Doors to the aquarium open to the public at noon.
The attraction was built by Rodgers Builders of Charlotte, NC. Sea Life Charlotte-Concord plans to hire approximately 40 new team members at a Job Fair on Jan. 18-19 at Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC.
Visitors to Sea Life Charlotte-Concord can expect: A 180° ocean tunnel that allows visitors to see sharks, rays and other fish swim right over their heads An interactive touchpool (touch a crab without fear of pinching!) Seahorses in the mangrove (learn which parent carries the babies) The highly intelligent Giant Pacific octopus, the largest octopus species in the world Educational talks and creature feedings throughout the day A kids' quiz trail to keep kids engaged and learning throughout the attraction A presentation video theatre to learn more about marine conservation A children's soft play area to enjoy at the end of the experience At Sea Life Charlotte-Concord, visitors will travel from the fresh waters of the Catawba River in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond in about an hour.
Ticket information Regular admission tickets cost $21 for adults and $17 for kids ages 12 and under. Kids ages 2 and under are free. Through Feb. 19, tickets are only $16 for all ages if purchased in advance, online: http://www.visitsealife.com/charlotte-concord/buy-tickets/. Annual Passes, offering unlimited entry to the aquarium for 12 months, are also on sale for special rates through Feb. 19. An Individual Annual Pass is $50. The Family Annual Pass (for four) is $192; additional family members are $45 each. Annual Pass holders are invited to attend a sneak peek of the aquarium Feb. 15-16.