'Turtle Shelter' exhibit opens at SEA LIFE Arizona aquarium March 7

TEMPE, AZ - Matthew Minkalis gets to play with sharks, fish and starfish everyday. And he gets paid for it, too.

Minkalis is a 22-year-old aquarist and works at Sea Life Arizona inside Arizona Mills mall in Tempe.

He's one of five people who ensure each sea turtle, starfish and shark remains healthy throughout the 25,000-square-foot aquarium.

As many guests stare through the glass trying to find an orange clown fish named "Nemo," Minkalis is in the back conducting water tests, feeding the various creatures and checking vitals.

He also says it's hard not to develop a relationship with the creatures you care for.

"You work with them everyday," he said.

A new turtle exhibit is scheduled to open at the aquarium on Friday, March 7.

"Turtle Shelter" will feature seven different species of freshwater turtles almost guests to get nose-to-nose with these casual swimmers.

The exhibit features five tanks with turtles within their natural habitat. Guests will be able to see the turtles swim, sunbathe and perhaps snack on some leaves or vegetables.

Ever been inside a turtle shell? The kiddos will be able to act like they're popping out of a larger-than-life turtle egg.

Turtle Shelter is one of four traveling exhibits in the United States. Sea Life Arizona has featured three of the four exhibits within the last couple years, including Jellyfish Discovery, Octopus Gardens and Claws.

Sea Life Arizona is open everyday, Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The aquarium is located inside Arizona Mills mall.

Admission is $18 for adults and $13 for children (ages 3 to 12).

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