Sunken 16th Century Galleon – Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium

Attraction & Entertainment Solutions’ Sunken 16th Century Galleon Featured in Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America©

Attraction & Entertainment Solutions (A&ES) has completed a magnificent 16th century galleon of which is now installed in theSea Life Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America (Bloomington, Minnesota).

Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium features thousands of aquatic sea creatures along with fun, interactive activities throughout the Mall. A&ES’ new 16th century galleon venue is reminiscent of the design of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, The Golden Hind, which sailed around the world. This themed rendition settles into a shipwreck venue, complete with a full-dressed maidenhead, or figurehead, along with broken masts, torn sails and bronze cannons jutting out of ship accouterments, all built to create an above-the-water scene as well as an “underwater” experience for those beneath in the Sting Ray area looking up to the ship from below – thus, multiple unique perspectives were beautifully merged together to exactly meet the specifics outlined.

The result of the A&ES’ project is a 360-degree creation of a sunken and tattered ship wherein the visitor imagines what it must have been like for ocean sailors as well as 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, each detail is specifically designed and executed in order to create the magical mystery image of a sunken galleon.

Tough challenges are met by the world-class experience of A&ES’ team members.

“Our Project Team was challenged with the short timeframe we had to complete the concept to full installation – and we are pleased to have exceeded all expectations,” stated CEO John Oldham of A&ES.

“Our company is known in the industry for quality design and project quality.”

The project was designed, completed, shipped and installed in record time, compressing the real-time drawing and production into a major challenge that A&ES was able to complete on-time and on-budget. Project challenges included:

  • 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

From custom design requiring perfect interfacing of engineering to the specific architecture, A&ES has the reputation to create and enhance the visitor experience from initial view to completion of the scene, while giving each project a high-value and intense result of enjoyment. The galleon project dovetails into enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Mall of America’s Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium.

Berthed upon the sandy beach shores of Zone 3’s Stingray Adventure, the visitor is overwhelmed with the monumental size of the ship as he and/or she experiences the bow and figurehead near a flying Manta Ray, as if the fish is leaping from the water below, as well as the pure beauty encapsulated in final production and presentation of a shipwreck scene.

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

Services Performed

  • Research and analysis of clients Goals and Requirements
  • Assessment of preliminary space plans
  • Provide project management services including preparation of project budgets and schedules.
  • Preparation of construction documents to adhere to regional building and fire codes.
  • Logistics, coordination and planning.
  • Design Assist with Architects, Engineers, Designers and Contractor.
  • Preproduction and Prototyping
  • In-house fabrication


  • Shop drawings (CAD)
  • Engineering
  • Permitting
  • Prototyping and product development
  • State of the art CNC Fabrication
  • Millwork fabrication
  • Fiberglass fabrication
  • Metal Fabrication
  • Sculpting
  • Special faux finishes