Malaysian Aquarium Finds a Silver Lining

Many zoos and aquariums are faced with very little capital budget to do major overhauls of exhibit areas.  Unfortunately, too many facilities wallow in that fact and instead of finding a creative way to keep their exhibits in top order, just allow them to falter and to, ultimately, become decripit and failing. New Entry to the Aquarium

I stumbled upon this great blog post by a man known to me only as "Herman," whom apparently works in the exhibits department at a Malaysian Zoo.  The Zoo had an aquarium, which they let fall into disrepair for many years, eventually leading to the Zoo closing it down.  However, despite having very little money, the Zoo decided to resurrect the aquarium exhibit. 

Entering Aquarium

The blog outlines the small changes that made a big difference in this modest aquarium exhibit.  Although not state-of-the-art nor groundbreaking, the inexpensive changes made a very big difference in the functionality and success of the exhibit, and make a wonderful example of a small budget, big impact project that I thought needed to be shared.

Take a look, here.

River Exhibits

Love the Floors!

Arizona's New Aquarium

Its gaining loads of publicity, but don't be fooled.  The new aquarium (click here for plan) is not the tourism powerhouse being touted by the press. 

New Aquarium building

The aquarium is, in fact, the first for Arizona, but, at a mere 180,000 gallon capacity, its only a small and somewhat simple attraction by aquarium standards. 

Simple viewing windows and lack of signage at the WWZ's new Aquarium Expansion.

The new aquarium is an expansion of the private Wildlife World Zoo in the West Valley, and is part of a larger 10-year plan for the Zoo.  This expansion cost an extremely budget-friendly $7 million. 


However, not to seem cynical, I must congratulate the Zoo on continuing its effort to bring education about wildlife to an area lacking quality facilities.  The Zoo currently sees approximately 405,000 visitors annually, and will surely see an increase. 

Exhibits at the Aquarium include what looks to be a nice black-footed penguin habitat, a small (30' diameter) shark tank, and several touch zones.  The Zoo also incorporates rides into exhibits, including a log flume through one of the Aquarium's tanks, to make for a true Edutainment facility.

Black-footed penguins

More penguins

Viewing penguins

Shark tank from above.

Shark tank under construction

One touch tank

Sting ray touch

Check out the rest of the Wildlife World Zoo here.

Chiang Mai Zoo's Aquarium Open At Last...

chiang-mai-logoThe Aquarium, the newest add to Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo, is finally open.  In late October, the Aquarium shut down literally hours after its official opening gala, due to malfunctions in both the life support systems and the ticketing machines.  Apparently, sand had found its way past the filtration system entering the main tank, and creating water murky enough to delay the opening for about three weeks. 

Saltwater Tank at Chiang Mai's Aquarium

However, the Aquarium is now up and running, and is touted as Southeast Asia's largest with an expectation to gain 800,000 visitors annually.  The Aquarium was built as a joint venture between the Zoological Park Organization (an apparently governmental body) and an undisclosed private investor for the sum of $17 million. 

Saltwater Tank at Chiang Mai's Aquarium

Boasting the World's Longest Acrylic Tunnel at 133 meters (436 feet--longer than a football field!), the Aquarium is over 13,000 sf in area divided into 9 zones.  The tunnel itself not only allows visitors to gaze into the depths of a marine environment, but also takes visitors through a freshwater tank.

Freshwater Tank at Chiang Mai's Aquarium

I've not been able to find many pictures of the Aquarium online, so if you know of any, please let me know.

Dubai's Record Setting Acrylic

duabi-aq-entry2Recently opened Dubai Aquarium, inside the gargantuan Dubai Mall, set the new Guiness World Record for "World's Largest Acrylic Panel" this November.  According to Emaar Malls, the Dubai Mall developer, the panel measures "32.88 metres wide x 8.3 metres high x 750 mm thick...weighing 245,614 kg, the viewing panel at Dubai Aquarium surpasses the current Guinness World Record holder, Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, Japan, at 22.5 metres wide x 8.2 metres high and 600 mm thick."

For those metric-impared Americans, that's  nearly 108' wide x 27' tall.  This dwarfs the large and impressive Ocean Voyager acrylic panel at Georgia Aquarium, which is 61' wide x 23' tall. 


The large tank also has a long tunnel, running about 160' in length at a depth of 36'.  Georgia Aquarium's tunnel is only 100' in length at a similar depth.  However, both of these tunnels are tiny compared to L'Aquarium in Barcelona, Spain.  This tunnel is reportedly over 260' in length!

L'Aquarium's Massive Tunnel

The rest of the Dubai Aquarium includes three habitat centered thematic zones:  Living Ocean (different from the large ocean tank), Rocky Shore, and Rainforest.

Living Ocean highlights unusual individual specimens such as Moray Eels, Jellies, and Sea Dragons.  The Rocky Shore showcases Humboldt penguins, Harbour seals, and a touch tidal pool.  The Rainforest focuses on interesting freshwater creatures like piranha, catfish, and otters.

Tying Living Classrooms to Schools

I saw this brief article about a school which invested in creating an entirely new avenue for children to learn about the living world--a Botanical Garden and Aquarium on the school's site.  Despite the small scale of the aquarium (which is basically a bunch of store-bought tanks) and the raised planters that can hardly be called a "Botanical Garden," the high school in New York does illustrate an admirable dedication to enhancing the science curriculum. With national cut-backs in education, and battles over what and how we teach science (especially in Texas!), I find this story to be inspiring.  Not only will educators be able to show their students the abstract concepts they are studying, but kids will also get a taste of a few science-based professions, like horticulture and zookeeping. 

As a parallel thought to the idea of evolving all science institutions (zoos, aquaria, botanical gardens, science centers, etc) into one all-encompassing Living Center, incorporating small gardens and animal exhibits into schools seems completely logical.  Remember the connection you had to the classroom hamster?  Imagine having raccoons or deer or even a monkey or two just outside your classroom!  Inspiring children to learn about science shouldn't just occur on field trips and the occasional family day to the zoo.  Professional training in high school shouldn't just mean shop class and drafting.  We should encourage our schools to make these types of additions, despite the associated costs, since the benefits would surely outweigh the costs. 

Good Job Gates-Chili High!

News of Aquaria Across the Globe

I've been finding tidbits of news about new aquaria and new additions to old aquaria around the world recently.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to find anything in depth about ANY of them, so I decided to make a single posting with links to some of the soon to be built / soon to be open / recently opened aquaria making news these days.  If you happen to have any info on any of these, or others, please let me know. 

Guadalajara Zoo's New Aquarium in Jalisco, Mexico:  $2.5 million addition to existing zoo with 95 species of fish.  The main attraction is the aquarium's great white shark, previously only temporarily exhibited successfully by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  No details on the Guadalajara Aquarium's exhibit.

Steinhart Aquarium at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco:  Expansion of existing aquarium adds California Coast exhibits, including 100,000 gallon main tank and the world's deepest coral reef tank at 25 feet deep.  Opens September 27 as part of the new Science Museum which also includes a Living Rainforest, Penguins, and Alligator exhibits, as well as a planetarium and natural history museum.  The Museum complex is another example in the evolution of the science institution as outlined in a previous post.

Xanadu Aquarium at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey:  Controversial aquarium in the works, awaiting approval by the New Jersery Governor, plans to be the second largest aquarium in the U.S., behind the Georgia Aquarium.  Estimated cost: $200 million.  Estimated attendance: 2.5 million annually.

Chiang Mai Zoo's Aquarium in Northern Thailand:  Expected to open in October of this year, the aquarium boasts 8000 individual animals of 250 species.  Nearly 88,000 sf in area, the aquarium will supposedly have the world's longest acrylic tube through a tank (the length is undisclosed).  Approximate cost: $17 million.

The Blue Planet Aquarium in Copenhagen, Denmark:  Danish designers, 3XN, recently won the design competition for the new aquarium which, as far as I can tell, is the newest in the Blue Planet family seen across Europe.  Details are scarce, but design images are not. 

Legoland Opens Aquarium

San Diego's Legoland theme park just opened the doors on its sister facility, SEA LIFE Aquarium. The Aquarium is 175,000 gallons in total with one large main tank, featuring an acrylic walk-thru tube, sea horse exhibits, and tidal pool touch tanks.  The tanks will include over 70 lego statues including a 10 foot creation of Poseidon.

This SEA LIFE Aquarium, one of the over 20 of the SEA LIFE branded aquariums centered in Europe, is focused on regional fauna, including both sea and fresh water of California.

For reference, the Georgia Aquarium, which is one of the largest, if not the largest, aquarium in the world (depending on which stats you chose to use), holds a total of over 8 million gallons of water. The Ocean Voyager tank alone, in which lives the Aquarium's whale sharks, holds over 6 million gallons. The Shamu Show facility at Sea World Orlando, including all back of house pools and show pools, holds approximately 7 million gallons of water.

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