Getting up Close With Sea Life
The brand-new Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium transports visitors to an underwater world. You'll journey from the fresh waters of the Missouri River into the mighty Mississippi River and on to the warm blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, finally ending in the deep, dark Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, you'll have close-up views of everything from tiny seahorses to scary sharks. The highlight is a walk-through underwater tunnel in a huge tropical ocean tank where you can come nose-to-nose with a shark. You'll feel totally immersed without getting wet.
The Sea Life center features more than 5,000 sea creatures in 30 display tanks in 12 different habitat zones. The aquarium holds more than 260,000 gallons of water. Kids will love the hands-on touch pool where they can hold a crab or touch a starfish.
Some of the many sea creatures are blacktip sharks, zebra sharks, jellyfish, cow-nosed rays, common octopus and clown fish (made popular in Disney's "Finding Nemo").
"Sea Life Kansas City will offer kids of all ages an immersive, interactive and educational experience," said Mendy Rose, marketing manager for both Sea Life and Legoland in Kansas City. "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."
Lots of Lego Bricks
If your kids enjoy playing with Lego bricks, they'll love the new Legoland Discovery Center Kansas City, which is described as stepping into the biggest box of Lego bricks in the world. Legoland, scheduled to open April 29, includes hands-on play areas, a 4D cinema, Lego-themed rides, and special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations. Families with children between the ages of 3 and 10 will especially enjoy this interactive and educational experience.
An indoor attraction, Legoland Discovery Center will highlight Kansas City's notable skyline and landmarks, which will be recreated in Lego bricks and displayed in Miniland. Miniland also features Lego creations from The Wizard of Oz, with iconic scenes from the movie, including Dorothy's Farm, Emerald City and the Wicked Witch's Castle.
"The Wizard of Oz has long been associated with Kansas and the surrounding area. This gives visitors to Kansas City a chance to experience one of their favorite movies in a new way at Legoland Discovery Center," Rose said.
The Magic of Merlin
Merlin Entertainments is the parent company for both Sea Life and Legoland. The Kansas City sites mark the fifth Sea Life center in the country and the seventh Legoland Discovery Center in the world. Each attraction recommends allowing two to three hours or more, for a visit.
Both attractions occupy what used to be the first two floors of Halls department store at Crown Center. Sea Life is at 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., 64108. Legoland is at 2475 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Mo., 64108.
More Crown Center Attractions
There's more new at Crown Center than the Sea Life and Legoland attractions. Chip's Candy Factory is scheduled to open April 15 on the first floor of the Crown Center Shops.
Chip's Candy Factory replaces The Candy Store, which closed March 25. It will combine the world of candy and sweets into a modern candy store experience: bright colors, new candy fixtures, custom bistro tables, novelty machines, and more.
The candy factory is a sister store to Chip's Chocolate Factory, which has been a Crown Center mainstay for nearly 30 years, and was recently featured on Food Network's "Kid in a Candy Store."
The new shop is near the Crown Center Showplace, which is home to children's exhibits such as the current Animal Tales & Trails, which runs through April 29. The free exhibit lets children jump with a "kangaroo," climb in an "eagle's nest," sit with a "black bear" and her cubs in a cave, or use "alligator" backs as stepping stones to cross a river.