SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
4
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is specially built to cater to kids ages 3-12. Our unique construction is specifically designed so that your kids can have the same viewing experience as adults, and in some cases even better! We even have a soft play area for your kids to blow off some steam before you head home. Your family will travel from the fresh waters of the Catawba River in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond in about an hour, in an intimate environment. We are the Charlotte area's only full-time aquarium and are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. We're open every day and you can save time and money by booking online.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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Admission tickets
from $24.60
All you need to step foot in the door.

Top ways to experience SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium and nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles531 reviews
Excellent
187
Very good
168
Average
100
Poor
46
Terrible
30

Alyssa_357
Fort Novosel, AL24 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Friends
The aquarium is pretty small, like we got through in 15 min and we were like... that’s it? There was a play place for the kids at the end but of course because of Covid it’s closed- such a shame. Thankfully we didn’t have to pay for our children (both under 2) but for my husband and I we still spent $40. I wouldn’t recommend this aquarium based on how overpriced it is for how little you get.
Written May 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

philip s
3 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
This was our second trip in twelve months to the aquarium. We have annual passes and take our children. Everyone had a huge issue with the ticket line. Even though we have annual passes it took twenty minutes to enter the aquarium (there were only 4 people ahead of us), because you have to wait while they try to sell passes to other customers. No real advantage to buying an annual pass. There is no express line even though you have prepaid or if you have an annual pass. You wait in line while the cashiers sell tickets including annual passes and add ons to customers ahead of you. This is an extremely slow process as they take pictures for each annual pass that they sell. In fact, we had to wait in the annual pass line while they took customers/guests from the day pass line. Manager needs to review process and use some common sense. FIrst impressions are important, and the entry to the aquarium is terrible.

The aquarium itself is nice and we enjoyed seeing all the sea life. No issues with the aquarium once you get in.
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jessica B
3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2021 • Family
We went for our daughters 4th birthday but we won’t be back. I pulled my mask down for 1 second so that my daughter could hear what I was saying and I was harassed about how to wear it correctly. Then my husband was lectured too. Meanwhile these people are giving children (and their parents to help them with) books to be stamped at 8 stations where you’re all using the same stamp. Like what? I can’t pull my mask down to communicate with my child without being chastised but I (and my daughter) can use this stamp that everyone ahead of us has used? Comical. Don’t waste your money. It’s not worth it anyway.
Written February 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi JessJarrBarr, Thank you so much for your feedback. A birthday is a special event, especially when you choose to spend your day with us. At SEA LIFE , it our goal to ensure that every guest has a memorable and stress free day while visiting. Safety is our top priority for all guests and employees and we thank you and your family for wearing your masks. We understand that these times can present some challenges and we truly apologize for any inconvenience that you may have experienced while visiting. We are also following very strict cleaning protocols for our site as well as our stamp stations which includes regular interval disinfecting of all high touch surfaces. We provide several areas for Guests to wash and sanitize their hands throughout the aquarium. Again, we do apologize that your visit with us did not meet your expectations. Guest service is at the core of our values and we never want any of our guests to walk away with anything but an excellent experience. We take any and all concerns that are brought to our attention seriously and we will follow up with our team immediately. - SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Written February 15, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Karen W
Charlotte, NC1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Family
I visited the Sea Life aquarium yesterday, at Concord Mills, with my two sons. We are a military family. My husband is active duty and has served in the US Army for twelve years. The Sea Life website states that it offers a military discount with a valid ID. After asking for a military discount and presenting my military ID, I was refused the military discount. The manager states that only those sworn in and serving our country are eligible for the discount. Well, let me inform Merlin Entertainments, the corporate sponsor for Sea Life, that each and every military wife, husband, son, and daughter serve and sacrifice for our country alongside their military member. Every attraction and business that I have encountered, that offers a military discount, honors and recognizes the dependent military ID holder. Until this corporation decides to change their policy and support military families, then I will no longer support their establishments. I will be writing Merlin Entertainments to voice my disappointment, and I encourage other military families to do the same.
Written April 3, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi, Karen! We have responded to the Facebook comment you left on the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord wall as well as your Yelp review, but we will reiterate our response here to ensure you receive it. We want to thank you for sharing your feedback with us, as it helps us to improve our customer service. The military discount we offer is currently for active and inactive military personnel as a token of thanks for their selfless dedication to our country's safety and security. However, we also understand the incredible sacrifice that military families make on behalf of their loved ones. It was never our intention to discredit these families, as we believe their roles are just as vital in protecting our country. This discount is a new offer specific to our location, so we will be sure to take your feedback into consideration as we review our current policies and plan future promotions. Again, thank you for taking time to share your thoughts, and thank you to your husband for his service to our country.
Written April 4, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sheryl C
2 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
The aquarium has an outlandish drag queen mermaid taking pictures with families with young children. This is totally inappropriate for family entertainment.

When I politely confronted the manager, she said their corporate policy is to be inclusive of all, but they would not allow other sexual deviants to interact with young children. They use discernment and discretion in other areas. They need to use it in this area. I don't expect them to refuse admission to a drag queen, but they should not hire him to interact with unsuspecting families.

We won't be renewing our annual passes.

We have been going each month since December.

We are very disappointed.
Written May 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WorldHJTraveler
Charlotte, NC189 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014
Have you have ever been to Concorde mills outlets? If not, imagine any other outlet and think of the store fronts that may be a little bigger than the average clothing store.. Well that's the size of this aquarium. To spend $21 per person to get into this place is crazy. It literally takes less than 20 minutes to get through it with even several kids. It is absurd that anyone (well I made the mistake with my family) would pay this much for this aquarium. The worth of this exhibit is more like $10, if that. Not impressive at all!
Written June 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We will be sure to provide your feedback to our management team. With over 25,000 square feet to explore and 5,000 creatures to meet, we believe our exhibits and educational staff provide a unique experience to guests that greatly surpasses a dentist's aquarium. However, we don't like to hear you visit lasted for just 20 minutes. We expect the average visitor to spend about an hour touring our aquarium, interacting with each of the 20 exhibits and discussing the lives of our fascinating creatures with our educational staff. We also have many promotions running for our guests, including an online saver where tickets can be as low as $16 as well as a Twilight Ticket, where if you purchase a ticket online for a visit after 4pm Monday-Friday, it will be $14. Thanks again!
Written July 2, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

luv2vacation0
North Carolina272 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Family
I did not get what I paid for.

My biggest disappointment was that it was not a good place to take the kids in the daytime during the summer. That was my reason for buying the season pass. I tried once or twice a week during weekdays over the summer to take my small kids. Every time I tried, during the summer, there were huge groups of kids without enough supervision. The place is not big enough for the number of people that were in there and there were not enough adults with the groups to supervise. My child was hurt one day by an older kid with no supervision. It was not enjoyable on any of those days & these groups were climbing all over the tanks, hitting them & touching fish that weren't in the touch tank so it wasn't safe for the creatures either.

The photoshopped ads throughout the mall & online do not represent what they offer inside. They do have some interesting exhibits, I don't understand why they don't advertise what they actually have?

When I purchased my season pass they advertised "select bring a friend days throughout the year" it was a couple of months before they had one and it wasn't "bring a friend" it was "bring a friend for $10".

They also advertised that there would be exciting exhibits that changed . . . There was one extra exhibit while I had my season pass. It was about eels & it was very interesting but there was only one. . .again, not what they advertised.

I tried repeatedly to contact sea life corporate through their website & received no reply except for the automated ones. I tried to call as well but you can not call the location directly. I finally got an email address for the location and addressed all of these issues. The manager did respond. In reference to the bring a friend he said that he "could see why I would think that" but didn't offer anything further & in reference to the rest he offered me a free behind the scenes tour. I thought it was nice that he at least offered something since I truly feel that I did not get what I paid for. . .until I found out tours were free to all season pass holders in October, it was October when I got in touch with them by the way. . .that was really just insulting.

During the hard sell to renew the season pass a couple of the employees asked why I didn't want to renew and I was told repeatedly that they are not responsible for those groups. Specifically "well if two busses show up with two adults what are we supposed to do?" It is just my opinion but I think if you are going to allow a huge group of kids that do not have enough supervisors with them you should have extra people working so that it is safe for everyone. I do think it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone who spent their money to enjoy your facility is able to enjoy it and stay safe. There is a lot they could do from scheduling extra people to requiring a certain number of supervisors per number of kids before they allow a group to come to opening early for the groups & letting them have the place to themselves or all of the above, but after voicing my concerns to everyone I could find it sounds like they know there is a problem but does not sound like anything is going to change. We were not able to enjoy it over the summer & it was not safe for small kids.

If you find a day that is not busy and the right people are working this place is nice. A few of the employees were extremely knowledgable and there was one day we learned a lot. While the tanks don't look like the fantastic photos in their ads they have a few great exhibits & there is a lot to learn there not to mention lovely creatures to look at. The play area/coloring area at the end is also nice. Play area is for older kids, the little ones can color. They are all about conservation & the people that are passionate about what they do there are wonderful to talk to if you can find one.

In a year we had maybe 2 productive visits where it wasn't too busy and the right people were working. Both after Christmas on weekdays when the mall was not busy. I really needed to visit during the summer though, and I tried repeatedly but not only was it not enjoyable it also wasn't safe. That along with the things that were advertised, in my opinion, dishonestly make me feel that I did not get what I paid for at all. I did bring all of these things to the attention of the local management and was offered no apology and a free tour that was already free.
Written March 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to leave us your feedback from being a SEA LIFE Charlotte annual pass holder and I am extremely disappointed to hear that you do not feel that you got enough from the passes during your first year. I would like to thank you for the positive comments regarding our exhibits, and our staff. I am happy that our staff members were able to facilitate a strong understanding of conservation during your time with us, and that you and your child were able to gain new knowledge through interacting with our team here. So many of our employees are extremely passionate about what they do, and it is pleasing to hear you were able to pick up on this and hopefully they were able to help you discover something new during every visit. I am also pleased to see that you were able to use the pass many times throughout the year and ensure that you were able to maximize the value of your membership. New passes now are just $60 and so it takes only 3 visits to start getting incredible value for your money. We have also increased the number of Bring-a-Friend days in 2015, now every Sunday pass holders are able to bring as many guests as they like for just $10 each. We hope this will make it as easy as possible for Annual Pass holders to share the attraction with their friends and family. The exhibit change that you mentioned occurs every year, and our eel exhibit has just now been replaced with “Claws”. This new exhibit displays a variety of crustaceans including the feature giant Japanese Spider Crabs. On top of this we are always looking to acquire new animals for our existing displays to add something new, which this last year included a Zebra shark, Brown Banded Bamboo sharks, a shovelnose guitar fish and many other different tropical species. You are right, in that sometimes we do have large school/youth groups here in the attraction, and on some of these higher volume days the attraction can become a little bit more crowded (especially around the play area). Here at SEA LIFE we take the health and safety of our guests and animals as an absolute number one priority. We closely monitor admissions volume on an hourly basis and only pre-book a certain number of guests every 30 minutes to ensure that we never exceed a safe capacity. Education is extremely important for us here at SEA LIFE and entertaining these groups gives us an opportunity to help many more children to discover exciting information about our creatures and learn the importance of conservation. The majority of our large groups come during the morning (10am to 12pm) and by visiting just that little bit later or in the afternoon is a great way to avoid the early morning crowds, admissions is open until 8pm every day except Sunday to provide all guest with the opportunity to visit at quieter times if that is the experience they prefer. Once again, thank you for spending the year with us here at SEA LIFE and I appreciate the feedback from your experience as an Annual Pass holder.
Written March 3, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lori R
6 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
We were looking forward to a fun day out as a family & thought we would try the aquarium. Talk about sticker shock! $21 for adults & $17 for kids, $4 for a guide book, & $2 each to see "behind the scenes"....yikes! So now I've wasted close to $100 bucks for it to hold my three year olds attention for about 10 minutes. He had more fun on the jungle gym than anything. So unless yoy have money to burn don't waste your time. I suggest spending money at the NC Zoo or the NC Aquariums which are cheaper & more intertaining.
Written August 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Lori! I apologize for the delayed response to the feedback from your visit to SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium in August. Somehow we missed responding to a few reviews around that time, and we should have responded to you much sooner, as we definitely appreciate you taking the time to post. I am sorry to hear that the experience did not live up to your expectations, as we do try to have a suitable price point for all our guests and our average visit time is right about 65 minutes. At our Admissions desk you can purchase tickets for $21 for adults and $17 for kids. But if you’re able to pre-book, you can actually save some money (about 20%) by visiting our website and buying your tickets online, and we also have several special offers with partners in the Charlotte-Concord area. We offer the additional opportunities you mentioned (guidebook, behind the scenes tour, etc) as many of our guests request keepsakes or more specialized background information on the Aquarium, including how you build an ocean in the middle of a mall! I hope you had a chance to interact with our enthusiastic staff, who are on-hand to share interesting information and fun stories about our creatures. I am glad to hear that your little one enjoyed the Play Area, and hope that they also got to touch a sea star at our Rockpool, pick a favorite resident in our Bay of Rays, and spot a shark swimming overhead in the Ocean Tunnel; as these are just some of the truly awesome experiences that we hope to share with our guests. Again, thank you for your feedback. If you’d like to visit again in the future or provide any additional feedback, please feel free to reach out to me, so we can connect. You can email me at GuestRelations@SealifeUS.com and reference my name and your post!
Written November 21, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

LKN-Traveler1
Lake Norman, NC137 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Great idea for kids with less than stellar outcome. Staff are kids w/o any training or knowledge....Bathrooms no cleaner than a gas station. Interactive touch area with a hand sanitizing station EMPTY! (this is at 10am, we were the first group in for the day.)Again in the restrooms, one hour after opening, no hand towels in dispenser, both soap dispensers not working. Sadly, the aquarium looks as if it's been open for 10 years not 3 months. Good luck attracting repeat business, I strongly advise not buying an annual pass, as once is enough. It's a pity because it's a great concept geared for children of all ages. SeaLife Aquarium, better tighten up your ship, it's sinking! PS Feeding Scheduled for 11am still have not gone off 11:30am now, crowds backing up through the entire exhibit, what a mess. One and done for this family...
Written April 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for sharing your feedback with us. We will be sure to pass on your comments about the bathroom and hand sanitizer to our management team. We have many special events and exhibits planned for the future, so we hope to see you again soon.
Written April 21, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

luv2vacation0
North Carolina272 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Family
I really want to say something nice as I'm appreciative of business that bring jobs and attractions to our area but this is nothing but a tourist trap!

I took my small kids as a result of the signs in concord mills mall showing a school aged boy (much larger than my kids) with a shark that was as large as he is. There were no large fish at all. My kids didn't believe that the shark in the tank was even a shark. The staff response was that the health of the fish come first and they can't grow too big. This is a lovely answer and admirable. I have no problem with this. I have a huge problem with putting pictures of a shark the size of a boy on eye level with small kids in multiple places throughout the mall. they not only know they do not have large fish but have no intention of ever having big fish. Why not run an honest ad? Why deliberately mislead kids? Their ads in the mall are all aimed at kids!

Needless to say my kids were very dissapointed. I stretched it out as long as I could and it took a little over half an hour.

It was difficult to navigate through the cluttered gift shop while explaining to my kids we could not spend any more money, as far as I could tell the gift shop was the only way out. Normally I would have skipped it . . . Again, it was very geared toward kids, toys everywhere, no need to walk little kids through there when I can't buy them anything but I didn't get a choice. I'm really extra offended by this as they offered so little for the staggering price of admission.

The whole place was very clean and there are explainations for each tank. There is a play area at the end for older kids. The employees aren't exactly excited about being there but they are polite.

Given that it is located in concord mills I have to compare it to other things in the mall. Bass pro shop has a huge tank with several varieties of nc fish and a sign identifying them. While there is no one "working" the tank the employees do happen by and are very knowledgeable and willing to talk about the fish. This is all free and there are free seasonal activities for kids. Concord mills also has an excellent free play area in the mall. These free attractions are just as good as sea life that I paid dearly for.

Sadly I just got an annual pass to start with since we are local. My kids have no desire to go back, they prefer bass pro. Also they advertise "bring a friend" days with the season pass. I've had this thing almost two months and have tried to contact sea life many times in many different ways and I'm just told that there will be bring a friend days no one will tell me how many or when. If there has been one in the time I've had my pass I haven't found it nor have I been notified of it via email as they said I would be when I bought the pass. Supposedly there are also extra exhibits for season pass holders but again, I've tried many times and can't get any specific info on these from anyone.

So, in two months no bring a friend, no extra exhibit and no one willing to give me any info on either which were advertised as benefits for the season pass. No fish even remotely resembling the ads everywhere and I was even told they would not have big fish ever as that is not healthy for the fish. I truly feel that I wasted every hard earned penny that I spent for the season pass.
Written April 17, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We don't like to hear your experience was less than satisfactory. With over 10,000-square-feet set aside for expansion, we have many surprises in store for our visitors and Annual Pass holders in the coming months including special events, promotions and exhibits. We would like to talk more about the issues you addressed in your review, if you could send us an email to sealifecharlotteconcord@gmail.com.
Written April 21, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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