Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Welcome to Michigan BENSON the Sea Turtle

My kids and I were invited to welcome Benson the Sea Turtle to his new home at the Sea Life Michigan aquarium in Auburn Hills' Great Lakes Crossing Mall.  Benson was rescued in 2014 at Anastasia State Park in Florida after having been hit by a boat, which caused an injury called a caudal carapace fracture and induced a hypothermic reaction called cold-stunning.  He was treated for his injuries by the Georgia Sea Turtle Hospital in Jekyll Island, Georgia.  Unfortunately, the injuries the turtle sustained won't heal enough for him to be able to survive if released back into the wild. So Benson has been adopted by Sea Life Michigan and this ocean dwelling creature will now have a new home in the Great Lakes State.

Benson spent a week in a special med pool at the aquarium adapting to his new environment and getting a checkup by the staff at Sea Life Michigan prior to his big introduction.  Our family was invited to come out to give Benson a warm welcome and witness as the turtle was introduced to his new home, a 120,000 gallon ocean tank.

Notice the black square on his shell? That pad needs to be permanently affixed to his shell to bind its crack and provide buoyancy when Benson dives and swims making him non-returnable to his natural habitat and in need of Sea Life Michigan's long-term care at the aquarium.

Prior to opening the gate from the med pool to the ocean tank, Benson was weighed and measured.

A representative from Kroger was on hand announcing that the grocery store chain was pledging to sponsor Benson's food tab.  Benson's diet consists mostly of fresh produce such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers, which will be donated to the aquarium by Kroger.

 The kids all cheered as Benson was released into the ocean tank!

Benson the Sea Turtle appeared very happy with his new home in Michigan as he swam around exploring his new surroundings in Sea Life Michigan's ocean tank which is also filled with sting rays, sharks, and a variety of fish.

After we watched Benson dive into his new home, the kids and I were also provided an opportunity to walk around the aquarium before it opened to the public.  Wow! was it a treat to have the place pretty much to ourselves.

The aquarium has a nice display area focused on turtles, and with that being the theme of the day, we spent quite a bit of time exploring there finding out all about Benson's relatives.

A nice touch in the layout of this aquarium is that it has lots of nooks and crannies where kids can get close up views of the sea creatures on display from a variety of perspectives.

Other kid friendly aspects of Sea Life Michigan include a touch tank (filled with a variety of starfish, shrimp, sea urchins and other creatures kids can pet and touch and dedicated staff working the exhibit providing interesting tips and facts while encouraging everyone in the audience to participate) and a waste level observation tank filled with black tip reef sharks and cownose stingrays which gives you a great up close view of the fish swimming around.

It was a memorable morning of the kids playing hooky from school and their dad skipping work for a few hours.  Then it was back to school for them and the job for me, but when I picked them up from class at the end of the day their teacher remarked to me how excited they were to tell everyone about their adventure.  Sometimes it is nice to just put everything aside and spend some quality time with your children because the time does fly by.  I can hardly believe they will be wrapping up Kindergarten in just two weeks but am looking forward to all the future adventures and road trips to come.

Welcome to Michigan, BENSON the Sea Turtle! My kids are really looking forward to swinging by the aquarium to see you again.

For more information about the aquarium:


  1. Welcome Benson!! Can't wait to see him - thanks for his backstory. We love Sea Life Aquarium!

  2. How fun. I'm planning to take my granddaughter to visit this place over the summer. She is going to love it.

  3. How cool that you got to be there!!! And thanks to Kroger for sponsoring his food!

  4. That's cool that they were able to attach the pads. My co-blogger attended. Looks fun!

  5. What a cool thing that they were able to rescue him and give Benson a good home. I absolutely love turtles and aquariums so I think a trip over to the East side is in order.

  6. Benson's new home is indeed huge! For sure the kids love the experience of welcoming him. :)