Sea turtles celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey-shaped feast in Auburn Hills

A lot goes into preparing Thanksgiving dinner for sea critters at Sea Life Aquarium.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – On Tuesday, a Thanksgiving feast for the marine life at Sea Life at Great Lakes Crossing took place.

A lot goes into preparing Thanksgiving dinner for sea critters at Sea Life Aquarium, as this is not just entertainment for shoppers at Great Lakes Crossing. This is a rescue and conservation facility where more than 4,200 creatures have been bred in the last 12 months.

Nearly 300 marine animals have been rescued. Inside the aquarium bubble might be safer, but it also has to be engaging to keep the marine life healthy and happy.

Oakland University engineering students came to the facility with a senior project where they built sea-safe silicone molds for sea turtles so that they could have their own turkey-shaped cheer.

After months of designing and construction, on Tuesday, a scene that will play out across dinner tables across the nation, except instead of the roast turkey coming in on a platter, a sea-turtle approved gelatin mold concoction with vegetables and nutrients for sea turtles, Benson and Carr, and their fishy roomies.

These guys are a little clumsy… but smart enough to respond to visual cues to know when it’s their turn to eat.

And, of course, the many other critters scavenge off the remaining goodies. Including the graceful schools of Golden trevally native to the indo-pacific -- sting rays, a mammoth nurse shark and the black-tipped reef shark... all serious carnivores.

For the students who’ve worked closely with Sea Life for months to see their hard work pay off has been a whale of a great experience.

About the Author:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.