Sea Life welcomes state’s largest collection of jellyfish - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

Sea Life welcomes state’s largest collection of jellyfish

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Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:49 pm

Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills is giving kids and adults a sneak peek into the life of a sea creature with no brain and no heart — jellyfish.

Jelly Disco will open May 10 at Sea Life Aquarium. The exhibit will have six different kinds of jellyfish — the largest collection of jellyfish in the state — and will be open through the end of the year.

The aquarium already has one small tank of jellyfish but it’s such a popular exhibit they decided to seek out the Jellyfish Disco as their traveling exhibit for the year.

“Guests are so fascinated by them,” said Sea Life spokesperson Malori Heppler. “They look so amazing as they float through the water. It’s incredible how popular jellyfish are. It’ll be a nice compliment to the current tank area.”

The display will have about 40 jellyfish in total and will also have plenty of interactive features on the walls to help kids learn about jelly fish including a “what do they feel like” box, quiz questions, the life cycle of a jellyfish and a zoetrope that demonstrates how a jellyfish moves.

Jellyfish are not anywhere near extinction. In fact, they’ve been able to evolve and thrive in dead zones in the ocean with no oxygen and high pollution. So while this particular exhibit is not necessarily about conservation it will give guests a better idea of these strange creatures and how they live.

“A lot of people are afraid of jellyfish because they got stung or heard of someone who has,” Heppler said. “Right now, scientists know of about 2,000 types of jellyfish and only 70 of them are actually harmful to humans. Most jellies like the blubber jellies won’t pack enough punch to hurt humans, but in the wild if you touch them that’s when their stinging cells fire so you can’t really get close to them. Whereas here in the aquarium you can really focus on how magnificent they are.”

The exhibit will be opening with moon jellyfish, compass jellyfish, Pacific sea nettles, lagoon jellyfish and colored jellyfish, but there may be different types of jellyfish coming later. The jellyfish are coming to the aquarium from as far as Japan or Australia, from the wild or from other aquariums.

Jellyfish Disco will be open through the end of 2013 when the aquarium will get a new display.

One day after the opening of Jellyfish Disco the aquarium will be celebrating Turtle Fest. The celebration of sea turtles will continue through May 23.

Sea Life is hosting a special through the month of May. Adults and kids who visit after 4 p.m. pay $5 for admission. Discount tickets must be purchased online. For more information, visit www.sealifeus.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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