Stingrays make a splash at MOA

Mad Sendek, Senior Reporter

Mall of America’s Sea Life Aquarium has a new star attraction. The new stingray interactive touch pool opened last Thursday and hosted a Sting Ray Adventure housewarming event with games, prizes and face painting to celebrate the completion of the $2.2 million construction.

According to Sea Life Guest Host Services, the stingray pool is a 15,000 gallon tank and has 35 stingrays. Guests are instructed to rinse their hands before putting them  in the touch pool. The different sized stingrays in the pool have similar gray colored bodies with a wide flat shape and long dark tails. They swim in large circles around the shallow oval tank and glide through the water with a calm demeanor. The edges of the pool attract stingrays as guests wriggle their hands, hoping to touch the back of a velvety ray. For a $3 charge guests can feel a stingray eat from the palm their hands. A small dixie cup of fish can be purchased during meal times at the feeding booth.

“You can interact with actual stingrays. Being in the Twin Cities, you might not see salt water animals at all, much less sting rays, so this is an opportunity to learn all kinds of new things about something that’s not a part of your daily routine,” said a guest host services employee.

According to Sea Life guest host services, another newly built smaller interactive touch pool across from the stingray’s habitat is expected to open within the next week. The pool’s construction is complete but it does not contain any creatures yet. This pool is the first exhibit visitors will see as they enter the Aquarium. It is designed in a semicircle shape and includes a small waterfall and several rock structures.The pool will include sea cucumber, fish eating anemone, white spotted anemone, green surf anemone and shiner perch.

Sea Life’s new interactive touch pools are only the beginning of the aquarium adventure. The ocean tunnel with sharks and sea turtles, neon-lit jelly fish tanks and limited-time-only exhibits, like the Japanese Spider Crab, keep the excitement high as guests walk through the aquarium. Sea life tickets can be purchased at Sea Life in the Mall of America or purchased for a reduced price online at visit