Sunken 16th-century Galleon Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium

Sea Life MN Aquarium • Aquariums & Zoos • July 2014

Get into the swim of things at Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America©


A&ES is the master-builder of the magnificent 16th-century galleon at the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America (Bloomington, MN). Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium features thousands of aquatic sea creatures along with fun, interactive activities throughout the Mall. A&ES 16th-century galleon venue is reminiscent of Sir Francis Drake’s ship design, The Golden Hind, which sailed worldwide. This themed rendition settles into a shipwreck venue, complete with a full-dressed maidenhead or figurehead. Broken masts, torn sails accompany it, and bronze cannons jutting out of ship accouterments, all built to create an above-the-water scene as well as an underwater experience. Those beneath the ship in the stingray area looking up have witnessed multiple, unique perspectives beautifully merged to meet the specifics outlined precisely.

Berthed on the sandy beach shores of Zone 3’s Stingray Adventure, the visitor experiences the monumental size of the ship as well as the bow and figurehead near a flying Manta-Ray. It’s as if the fish leaps from the water below! Guests also revel in the pure beauty encapsulated in the final production and presentation of a shipwreck scene. The A&ES project’s result is a 360-degree creation of a sunken and tattered ship—imagine what it must have been like for ocean sailors and pirates to experience an ocean siege or hurricane as they sank and crashed into a sandy beach shore. From the riggings to the mast, the cannons, to the ship’s wheel, A&ES designs and executes every detail specifically to create the magical mystery image of a sunken galleon.

A&ES Build Highlights

The world-class experience of A&ES project team members seamlessly meets tough challenges. “We often work within a limited timeframe completing the concept to full installation. We are proud to exceed all expectations,” comments A&ES President & CEO John R. Oldham, Jr. “Our visionary company leads the industry in quality design and project quality.” From custom design requiring perfect interfacing of engineering to the specific architecture, A&ES has a reputation for creating and enhancing the visitor experience, from its initial view to the scene’s completion. Simultaneously, A&ES gives each project a high-value and intense result of enjoyment. Hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Mall of America’s Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium delight in the galleon project. The project was designed, completed, shipped, and installed in record time, compressing the real-time drawing and production into a significant challenge that A&ES finished on-time and on-budget. Project challenges include

  • Full-service engineering, permitting, fabricating, and installation expertise
  • Coordination of two-way communication with the mall manager, city permitting officials, fire department, and other regulatory, and stringent requirements (materials, connectivity, and spacing to emergency services)
  • Coordination with the site project contractor, as well as union officials

A&ES Fabrication and Design

  • Large scale 3-D sunken galleon replica with cannons, rigging, sails, broken mast, and figurehead
  • Scenic painting, aging, sculpted barnacles, and simulated textures
  • Waterfall effect built into Sunken Galleon
  • Shrimp shack structure, theming, and signage
  • Onsite coordination and installation

A&ES Services Details

  • Research and analysis of the client’s goals and requirements
  • Assessment of preliminary space plans
  • Provision of project management services including preparation of project budgets and schedules
  • Preparation of construction documents, consisting of plans, details, and specifications
  • Preparation of construction documents to adhere to regional building and fire codes
  • Identify facility impacts between contractor and A&ES components
  • The organization, coordination, and planning
  • Pre-production and prototyping
  • SketchUp
  • Rhino
  • Thermoplastic fabrication
  • Shop drawings (CAD)
  • Water-jet metal shapes
  • CNC machining
  • Architectural millwork
  • Specialty automotive paint prepping and finishing
  • Fiberglass production (FRP)
  • 3-Dimensional design and fabrication
  • Complete design specification services
  • In-house fabrication
  • Turnkey installation

A&ES is renowned for leadership in the industry as it continues to provide dynamic, multi-disciplined work that is both world-class and signature for its global, national, and regional clients.

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SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium in Mall of America

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