Mississippi Aquarium a 'game changer'

March 25, 2016

Plans for an aquarium are being touted as a game changer for Gulfport and tourism on the coast. Gulfport city leaders unveiled those plans for the Mississippi Aquarium Friday morning.

A news release provided at the announcement said, "The Aquarium will elevate Gulfport and the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast to a family-friendly premier tourist destination, inspiring significant private sector development from hotels, entertainment and restaurants which would all benefit all of Mississippi."

As for what's inside the aquarium, proposed plans include more than 70 species of animals, 4 gallery structures and 4 exterior exhibits. The design includes educational interactive experiences for children and adults throughout the facility.

"The layout is a campus plan with unique galleries nestled into a natural green space, creating areas for guests to enjoy the animals in natural outdoor spaces."

According to the news release, around 100 jobs will be created to run the day-to-day operations of the aquarium.

A St. Louis based company called PGAV Destinations is designing the aquarium. This company has been involved in designing places like Bush Gardens, the Georgia Aquarium and Universal Studios. Designers will also team up with Eley Guild Hardy Architects for the build.

The aquarium has a price tag of $65 million. BP Gulf Restoration funds will cover $17 million of the total price.

The proposed location is right across from Jones Park. The address is 2200 East Beach Boulevard.

The hope is to have the aquarium open by the summer in 2019.

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