By Dillon Thomas

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– In an effort to increase foot traffic in area malls, those at Southwest Plaza Mall have continued their mission of changing the way people think about the venue.

On Saturday, the mall will officially open doors for their newest tenant, SeaQuest.

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SeaQuest is an interactive aquarium, which brings more than 300 species of wildlife in to their location inside the mall.

Employing more than 50 people and providing volunteer opportunities for others, SeaQuest was ready to continue changing the way people experience mall retail.

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During a soft opening on Thursday, SeaQuest drew in hundreds of parents and children, forming a line that wound through the hallways of the mall and in to the parking lot.

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“This is looking good. Very good. We are very excited,” said Gregory Sims, senior general manager for the Southwest Plaza Mall.

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Sims said this was the first time a General Growth Properties mall has opened an aquarium of this scale.

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“This is the first time I have ever been involved with anything to this extent,” Sims said.
“SeaQuest takes you on an interactive quest around five continents of the world,” said Else MacDonald, marketing specialist for the company. “You can find reptiles. You can find sea life. And, you can find some mammals.”

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Located between the Eddie Bauer store and Dillards, SeaQuest found the location to be ideal for their business model.

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“Malls are going through a transition, for sure,” MacDonald said. “Malls have that target audience that we are going after. They have easy accessibility; they have excellent parking, other venues and shops.”

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The venue allows paying visitors to touch sea creatures, snakes, and other animals. It also allows visitors to pay for food, which they can hand-feed to many of the animals, including small sharks.

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“(SeaQuest is) helping pull together the eat, play, and stay component,” MacDonald said.

Sims said the new tenant in his mall should bring another element to retail, that will continue to encourage people to explore the possibilities of social commerce.

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“Retail needs this little extra boost, to bring families in for repeat business,” Sims said.

LINK: SeaQuest

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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