I think this is what your instructor was driving at: The second sentence can be written with a period and spoken a statement. Formally, to make it a question, the declarative “there are” should be reversed to form the interrogative “are there.”
However, as others have indicated in comments and answers, verbal tones can also be used to form a declarative question. Wikipedia explains it like this:
Intonation patterns characteristic of questions often involve a raised pitch near the end of the sentence. In English this occurs especially for yes–no questions; it may also be used for sentences that do not have the grammatical form of questions, but are nonetheless intended to elicit information (declarative questions), as in "You're not using this?”
and also says:
A question which has the same form (except for intonation) as a declarative sentence is called a declarative question.
In short, your second sentence is fine as a declarative question. However, if you were working on an exercise that was designed to help you correctly use inversion (not intonation) to form a question, I can see why your instructor might have said your question was “incorrect.”