Peta Wittig named executive director of new St Louis Aquarium

Peta Wittig named executive director of new St Louis AquariumzoOceanarium have named two key staff for the new aquarium at Union Station – Wittig will be joined by Aaron Sprowl as curator.

Peta Wittig St Louis Aquarium ZoOceanariumPeta Wittig, an executive director who has worked for zoOceanarium Group LLC for more than four years, has been named as executive director of the new aquarium. Aaron Sprowl has been hired as curator.

“It’s now time to expand our team as we head into the key phases of the project,” said Chris Davis, managing partner of zoOceanarium Group.

Wittig has been based at zoOceanarium’s headquarters in Dubai but she will now move to St Louis. She has been working with the St. Louis team since the start of the project. “Peta is a seasoned operations professional who brings more than 15 years of international experience from numerous tourism-related industries,” says Davis, adding that she has been “vital” in establishing “many world-class facilities in Australia and Dubai.”

Aaron Sprowl has a degree in marine science from University of Miami. He will be in charge of the wellbeing of the animals in the new attraction. According to Davis he was chosen “based on his experiences opening and operating other public aquariums.” Sprowl’s most recent post was in Australia where he was an attractions operator for Merlin Entertainments. He was curator for Merlin’s Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium from 2012 to 2014.

$160 million family entertainment complex

St Louis Aquarium

Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), the owner of Union Station, has taken on a $160 million renovation of the former train station. The aim is to turn it into a family entertainment complex, including the $45 million aquarium.

“The whole project is really taking shape,” said Steve O’Loughlin, President and COO of LHM.  “Construction is in full swing and now we have our operations team starting to ramp up. These are exciting times.”

The construction of the aquarium project is set to create 500 jobs.  Once operational, it will provide over 100 permanent jobs.

The aquarium has been designed by St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations. Emily Howard of PGAV told Blooloop how storytelling fits into the design process.

It is being constructed by St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Cos. Building a 21st century aquarium inside a 19th century historic building has presented unique challenges as Bryan Meyer, Project Director for McCarthy Building Companies, Inc, explained to Blooloop.

Leading zoo and aquarium consultancy, the Dubai-based zoOceanarium, will operate the 125,000-square-foot aquarium on completion.