Brevard Zoo in Florida has launched a $100 million campaign to fund the construction of a second campus, which includes an aquarium and conservation centre, at Port Canaveral.
Inspired by the Indian River Lagoon, the aquarium will boast indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as interactive experiences. The zoo plans to break ground on the project by 2024, with an opening scheduled for late 2026 or early 2027.
Keith Winsten, executive director of Brevard Zoo, told Florida Today that the aquarium project “will really transform this whole region”. He also revealed that the plans were revisited during the pandemic.
“We sort of took that time to put lots of other things in place; did our master planning for the aquarium,” Winsten said. “We revisited our whole approach.”
Port commissioners approved a development agreement and terms of a ground lease for the project in September this year, with Brevard Zoo now beginning the main phase of its capital campaign.
Port Canaveral aquarium project
“I’m glad to tell you the zoo is in the best financial condition it’s ever been,” he said. “We found in Port Canaveral the most ideal site you could ever imagine for an aquarium… it’s just spectacular.”
$34 million has already been committed for the development, which includes more than $21 million in private donations and $10 million through a grant from the county.
“When we approved this in September, it was the first time we had applause and great news at the port in a while – it’s been a hard couple of years,” said Port Commissioner Robyn Hattaway.
“I’m proud to get it done, and honored to be here. It’s amazing to see their vision. My kids are a little older, but maybe one day I’ll take my grandkids.”
Images: Brevard Zoo