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        Construction under way on new Draper aquarium

        Date:Oct 25,2012

        Supoorters of the Living Planet Aquarium gathered in Draper on Wednesday to break ground on a new building.

        The ceremony marked the start of construction on a 136,000-square-foot, two-story facility at 12047 S. Lone Peak Parkway. The new aquarium, scheduled for completion in December 2013, will be nearly three times the size of the current facility in Sandy and will be renamed The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.

        The aquarium will remain open in Sandy until Sept. 8, 2013, and will close for a few months while everything is moved to the new location. The $20 million expansion is possible because of several factors: a large growth in the number of people who visit the aquarium each year, donations, grants and a $13 million bond from Draper City that will help pay for the building.

        The aquarium’s founder and CEO Brent Andersen said the new facility will be "world-class." It will feature a climate-controlled environment for each ecosystem housed in the aquarium, including hot, humid conditions in a South American rainforest exhibit and desert conditions in a Utah exhibit. The building will hold up to 62 exhibits, including a 300,000 gallon shark tank with a 40-foot walk through tunnel. Fish and animals from the marine, freshwater, and rain forest ecosystems will be on hand for visitors to view, he said.

        A 400-seat banquet hall, café and a gift shop are also part of the location’s blueprints. The facility’s upper floor will feature classrooms, access to exhibits and Utah’s first 4-D theater. That means visitors who take in a movie won’t only see a shark popping out at them in 3-D, but they’ll feel an actual spray of water on their faces when the shark on the screen swims by, giving them a more interactive experience, said Andersen.

        The aquarium’s expansion to Draper marks a milestone in what has been a long journey to becoming a popular Utah attraction.

        TypeInfo: news

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