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SEA LIFE Aquarium

Bloomington, MN

Client: Merlin Entertainments

Project Description

A&ES is the master-builder of the magnificent 16th-century galleon at the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium located in the Mall of America. SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium features thousands of aquatic sea creatures along with fun, interactive activities throughout the Mall. A&ES’s 16th-century galleon attraction is reminiscent of Sir Francis Drake’s ship design, The Golden Hind, which sailed all over the world. This rendition is themed as a shipwrecked vessel, complete with a full-dressed maidenhead or figurehead. Broken masts and torn sails accompany it, with bronze cannons jutting out of ship accouterments, all built to create an above-the-water scene as well as an underwater experience. Those beneath the ship, in the stingray area, can gain another unique perspective of this beautifully themed piece.


Berthed on the sandy beach shores of Zone 3’s Stingray Adventure, the visitor experiences the monumental size of the ship as well as the bow and figurehead near a flying Manta-Ray. It’s as if the fish leaps from the water below! Guests also revel in the pure beauty encapsulated in the final production and presentation of a shipwreck scene. The project’s result is a 360-degree creation of a sunken and tattered ship—imagine what it must have been like for ocean sailors and pirates to experience an ocean siege or hurricane as they sank and crashed into a sandy beach shore. From the riggings to the mast, the cannons, to the ship’s wheel, A&ES designs and
executes every detail specifically to create the magical image of a sunken galleon.

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