The Aquarium of Niagara has announced another major expansion, called M&T Bank Shark & Ray Bay. The $1.85m shark and ray exhibit will offer interactive experiences.
Shark & Ray Bay will house several species of animals, including sharks, stingrays, fish, and marine invertebrates such as sea stars, crabs and anemones.
They will live in a 4,000-gallon tank installed inside the Aquarium of Niagara’s main entrance. There will be an interactive touch pool experience, as well as animal feeding.
Construction has started on Shark & Ray Bay, the only hands-on shark and stingray interactive touch pool within 250 miles in the US.
Sharks and stingrays will live in a 4,000-gallon tank
The exhibit, scheduled to open in summer 2020, will replicate a mangrove shoreline, a tidal ecosystem in tropical estuaries and lagoons.
It is the second largest project in the aquarium’s history, and the third major exhibit at the Aquarium of Niagara in three years.
In that time, more than $6.5 million has been invested in the Aquarium of Niagara.
The largest expansion was Penguin Coast, a $3.5 million Humboldt penguin exhibit. Another recent project was Aliens of the Sea, featuring jellyfish.
Visitors can enjoy an interactive touch pool experience
We are so thrilled to announce that construction is officially underway on "M&T Bank Shark & Ray Bay!" The 4,000-gallon exhibit will feature sharks, stingrays and various marine invertebrates in an interactive touch pool. @MandT_Bank @EmpireStateDev @OisheiFndtn @NiagaraCounty pic.twitter.com/ddeHrK3WRy
— Aquarium of Niagara (@AqNiagara) September 27, 2019
Speaking to WBFO, Executive Director Gary Siddall, said: “M&T Shark & Ray Bay will be the third major exhibit instalment for the aquarium in the last three years.
“It will be a hands-on, interactive exhibit,” he added. “We’ve made things so much better for the animals and our guests.”
Funding for the expansion has come from partners including Empire State Development, M&T Bank, John R Oishei Foundation, Niagara County, and City of Niagara Falls.
The new exhibit is scheduled to open in summer 2020
— Oishei Foundation (@OisheiFndtn) September 27, 2019
According to the Aquarium of Niagara, studies show that guests are 75 percent more likely to remember what they learn during an interactive experience.
Studies also show that interactions with animals promote empathy, increasing guests’ interest in protecting the environment and wildlife.
Meanwhile, Georgia Aquarium’s $100m shark exhibit has hit a major construction milestone, and is on track to open in fall 2020.
Images: Aquarium of Niagara