In a momentous development for the Aquarium of Niagara, the esteemed Turner Construction Company has been appointed as the project manager for the Great Lakes 360 expansion. With a budget of $5 million, this ambitious endeavor marks a defining chapter in the institution's 57-year history, poised to create a vibrant living museum that showcases the awe-inspiring wildlife thriving within the Niagara River and the vast ecosystem of the Great Lakes. This expansion solidifies the Aquarium's position as a prominent organization while transforming it into a dynamic downtown campus.
Through a synergistic partnership with the New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, the Aquarium will undertake the renovation of the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, also known as the Schoellkopf Geological Museum. Conveniently situated just 500 feet southwest of the Aquarium's main facility, within the enchanting Niagara Falls State Park, and at the precipice of the breathtaking Niagara Gorge, this vacant 5,000 square foot building will seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, celebrating the proximity to the natural wonder of Niagara Falls.
Gary Siddall, President & CEO of the Aquarium of Niagara, highlights the significance of this venture: "We are embarking on something extraordinarily significant for ecotourism in our region thanks to a fortified alliance with New York State Parks. Visitors will have the opportunity to feel the mist coming off the falls, take to the trails to explore unique areas of the Niagara Gorge, then come to Great Lakes 360 and really get to know the animals they may have just encountered outside through hands-on experiences and compelling interpretation."
Mark V. Mistretta, Niagara Region Director of New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, expresses enthusiasm for the project: "NYS Parks is thrilled to be partnering with the Aquarium of Niagara on this innovative project to reimagine the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. We look forward to the opening of this new attraction that will only add to the already dynamic offerings of the Aquarium of Niagara and the state park as a whole."
Steven Perrigo, Vice President and Business Manager of Turner Construction Company, emphasizes the positive impact this project will have on education, conservation, research, and recreation: "While all our projects are significant to us, the ones that provide direct benefits to our community hold a special place."
The Great Lakes 360 project signifies the Aquarium's commitment to rebranding both internally and externally, with over $10 million allocated for new exhibits and visitor amenities. This transformative undertaking will elevate the visitor experience through dynamic and engaging exhibits. Accessible year-round, the indoor attraction will be seamlessly connected to the Aquarium's main building via a single general admission ticket, projected to welcome over 200,000 visitors annually.
With construction slated for completion in the spring of 2024, the Great Lakes 360 project promises to offer an enchanting exploration of the extraordinary aquatic life thriving within the Niagara River and the majestic Great Lakes. The Aquarium of Niagara continues its mission to celebrate our natural wonders, inspiring individuals to make a difference in the realm of aquatic life.