Georgia Aquarium, the “largest aquarium in the United States,” is getting bigger.
The downtown aquarium Tuesday revealed plans for “Expansion 2020” which call for a new gallery featuring sharks slated to open late-fall 2020, in addition to a “redesigned entry.”
“An extension of the Aquarium’s conservation and education efforts, the new experience will help guests have a deeper appreciation for the important role sharks serve in the oceans and inspire them to join conservation efforts to protect our oceans,” according to the announcement.
The saltwater gallery—a name for the gallery will be released closer to opening—will feature floor-to-ceiling acrylic windows to give guests an up-close and personal view of the sharks.
Potential shark species under consideration include hammerheads, sand tiger sharks, and sandbar sharks.
Additionally, a number of animal interactions are in the works for the new exhibit, which will “give guests the opportunity to get even closer to some of these fascinating animals.”
The expansion will add tens of thousands of square feet to the Aquarium that also includes extending the main entrance out into the plaza.
Construction will begin in April and a temporary entrance will open in September for guests during construction.
“This will be one of our largest exhibits and one of the largest expansions we’ve done in our history,” Mike Leven, chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia Aquarium, said in the announcement.
“We are proud of our continued commitment to our guests and to the city of Atlanta.” “We look forward to the opening of the exhibit and bringing the ocean even closer to our guests.”
For the first time in its existence, Georgia Aquarium will be seeking funding for its newest addition.
As a non-profit organization, portions of ticket proceeds go towards Georgia Aquarium’s research and conservation efforts, operating, and enhancements like Expansion 2020, which is expected to cost $100 million.