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Kelly Tarlton’s reopening caps big week for Merlin
Popular Auckland attraction Kelly Tarlton's has reopened having undergone a $5.5 million upgrade and with new branding seeing the attraction now named Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium.
The revamped attraction has around 30 exhibits and more than 80 different species.
At the heart of the redevelopment is a new walk-through penguin encounter, allowing visitors to get closer than ever before to the Antarctic creatures, in the world's largest penguin colony display.
Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium General Manager, James Thomas, says the improvements will mean a more enriching experience for visitors, and features state-of-the-art enclosures, stating "we're excited to offer our guests a truly face-to-face experience with these majestic Antarctic penguins.
"The redevelopment has enabled us to deliver an even more enriching experience for visitors, as well as state-of-the-art enclosures for all our animals."
Further developments include Kelly Tarlton's famous shark tunnel - it was the first in the world and has had a Maori Pasifika theme added to it. As well as New Zealand's largest collection of sharks, it now also contains shipwreck artefacts.
The aquarium has eight new themed zones, including New Zealand's first live jellyfish display, the world's only display of Spiny Sea Dragons and the world's biggest species of stingray - one ray alone weighs more than 240kg and has had 65 pups in its 27 years at Kelly Tarlton's.
The multi-million dollar investment for the redevelopment comes from Merlin Entertainments, making Kelly Tarlton's branding consistent with its status as part of the world's largest aquarium operator (41 aquariums across four continents) and bringing Merlin's Sea Life branding to New Zealand.
The reopening of Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium as a Sea Life centre marks a big week for Merlin's fast expanding Australian and New Zealand division having reopened an improved UnderWater World on the Sunshine Coast and the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
In Auckland, Thomas adds "Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium's primary focus remains educating visitors about the importance of conserving New Zealand's sea life, protecting animals and their habitats.
"The investment by Merlin Entertainments to make Kelly Tarlton's new again after 27 years of operation, shows Merlin's commitment to creating educational and inspiring experiences for visitors, all while maintaining the important heritage of Kelly Tarlton's."
Auckland Mayor Len Brown visited the new penguin enclosure on Wednesday afternoon to feed the animals and added "Kelly Tarlton's is an Auckland icon and I'm extremely pleased to be involved in the re-launch.
"I know this investment will allow a whole new generation of Aucklanders to enjoy our marine life and learn about conserving it for the future."
Kelly Tarlton, the man behind the original aquarium, was a marine archaeologist and diver. The aquarium's system of displays was built in unused sewage storage tanks and first opened in 1985, the same year as Mr Tarlton's death.
Displays at the all new Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium experience include:
• Scott's Hut
• Antarctic Ice Adventure: all new walk-through with white out, underwater viewing and penguin ice caves
• Scott Base
• NIWA Southern Oceans
• Stingray Bay
• Shark Tunnel
• Ocean Discovery
• Fish Gallery
• Seahorse Kingdom
For more information about Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium, visit www.kellytarltonssealife.co.nz
16th May 2012 - MERLIN TO RELAUNCH OCEANWORLD MANLY AS MANLY SEA LIFE SANCTUARY
17th March 2012 - MERLIN INVESTS TO REJUVENATE KELLY TARLTON’S
10th March 2011 - MERLIN COMPLETES SYDNEY ATTRACTIONS GROUP PURCHASE
9th May 2008 - VILLAGE BUYS KELLY TARLTON’S
25th February 2008 - TOURISM HOLDINGS PROFITS RISES
20th February 2008 - VILLAGE TO ACQUIRE SYDNEY ATTRACTIONS GROUP
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