UNDER THE SEA
About 10,000 new residents (assuming fish count on the census) just moved into the $15M, 45k SF two-story Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium at Grapevine Mills Mall. We got a sneak preview on Friday of the more than 30 display tanks in 12 different habitat zones of sea critters like stingrays, seahorses, and sharks. The crawfish aquarium had us pining for some corn, potatoes, and a big old pot for a mudbug boil. Of course, we could also go simple with some lemon and dill for the trout.
Sea Life (its mall entrance shown here) is owned by Merlin Entertainments, the UK-based owner of the Legoland amusement parks and Madame Tussauds wax museums (aka, the place to get a picture of youself giving the Queen of England bunny ears). Merlin is the second largest visitor attraction operator in the world and is privately owned with three major shareholders—Blackstone, CVC Capital Partners, and KIRKBI A/S—as a privately held, family owned investment and holding company, which also owns the LEGO Group. The Grapevine location opens to the public tomorrow while the next US Sea Life is slated to open next year in Kansas City. This is the fourth Sea Life aquarium launched in the US and the 35th to open worldwide.