Merlin Entertainments is to open a third Sea Life aquarium in Italy – the first of what could be several attractions in Rome.
The new attraction is being developed in collaboration with Mare Nostrum Romae Srl and will open next spring as part of the city’s “second tourist pole” development scheme.
Construction is already underway on the lakeside Acquario di Roma retail and leisure development, where the €15 million Sea Life will sit alongside a 4D theatre and “Mediterraneum” exposition.
“Merlin Entertainments is Europe’s leading visitor attraction operator, and we have been looking to find the right development in Rome for some time,” reveals Nick Mackenzie, managing director of property and development group. “Our experience shows that the combination of quality family attractions such as Sea Life together with retail and restaurant facilities provide a major driver for repeat visits.”
Sea Life is the world’s biggest aquarium brand with more than 10 million visitors a year and over 30 attractions in Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific. Its other Italian outlets are at Gardaland Resort near Verona and Lidi di Jesolo near Venice.
Located close to the coast between Ostia and Fiumicino, Rome’s second pole tourist pole is a major 27,000-hectare development including additional attractions such as Zoomarine. Mackenzie hints that Sea Life may not be Merlin’s last attraction in the area.
“Our commitment to build a Sea Life aquarium underlines our belief that Rome, and particularly the Acquario di Roma, is a perfect location for what we hope will just be our first attraction here, and we are delighted to be able to move our plans forward.”