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The Florida Aquarium expanding as part of 25th anniversary

artist impression of florida aquarium projects - butterfly garden

The Florida Aquarium has announced an expansion and enhancement project. As part of its 25th anniversary, the aquarium will undergo a 14 months of infrastructure expansion, exhibit enhancement and events.

The attraction plans to grow its animal collection, create new visitor experiences, expand its conservation efforts and provide learning opportunities.

The Florida Aquarium, which opened in 1995, confirmed an investment of $5.6 million this year, which is part of a larger $14 million capital campaign.

Projects include the CIBC Aquatic Lounge gallery, opening on February 27. This will feature several state-of-the-art exhibits to showcase new animals at the aquarium.

Washed Ashore – Art to Save the Sea, opening in spring 2020, will be a travelling art exhibition with sculptures made from the plastic debris found on beaches.

Coming in summer 2020, Wetlands Trail will be an enhanced, interactive exhibit with a new entry marquee, with guests able to touch the animals of Florida waters.

The Bays & Beaches gallery will be modernised to include new habitats, graphics and interactive exhibits. It will also be renamed Shorelines when it debuts in fall 2020.

The TECO Rooftop Pavilion & Solar Exhibit, also opening in fall 2020, promotes energy alternatives in the Sunshine State.

The Florida Aquarium is investing $5.6m in projects

florida aquarium shorelines
The Florida Aquarium

More than 1,100 panels will cover the aquarium’s two largest habitats, providing an upgrade to the existing canopies and highlighting the importance of solar power.

In addition, the aquarium will open a temporary community butterfly garden at the front of the building, for the public to use for free, in March 2021.

As part of the 25th anniversary, the Florida Aquarium will focus on enhancing the guest experience with 14 months of fun, including special promotions, giveaways and surprises, nighttime events and commemorative 25th anniversary beer.

“The investment we are making in our Aquarium is an investment in Tampa Bay as a cultural attraction, an economic driver, a conservation leader, a pillar of the community, and a fun place to visit,” said Roger Germann, president and CEO of the Florida Aquarium.

More animals, new experiences and exhibits

florida aquarium canopy walk
The Florida Aquarium

“We invite the entire Tampa Bay community – from St Petersburg to Clearwater and from Plant City to Tampa – to join us on this thrilling journey and enjoy and support our world-class aquarium.

“Together, we will create another 25 years of lifetime memories, spark a love of science and nature, and protect and restore our one and only blue planet we call home.”

Elsewhere, Merlin recently announced an IP partnership with Silvergate Media to take Octonauts to Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, part of Merlin’s SEA LIFE Aquariums.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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