Georgia Aquarium representatives, Atlanta public school students, and local community partners yesterday broke ground on the Aquarium’s Expansion 2020 project. The effort will change the face of the Aquarium by adding a new four-story structure that will complement the existing building’s iconic boat façade and add a 1 million-gallon shark exhibit.
The shark exhibit will be the focal point of the $100 million, 104,100-square-foot expansion. The new exhibit will be interactive and immersive, with a focus on acrylic viewing areas and a number of animal interactions in the works, which will give guests the opportunity to get even closer to some of these fascinating animals. In addition to the new exhibit, the expansion will include a new entrance and exit, office spaces, retail spaces, loading dock, and new ticketing services.
This will be one of our largest exhibits and one of the largest expansions we’ve done in our history,” said Georgia Aquarium President and COO Joe Handy. “We’re thrilled to be offering a grand new entrance that introduces our visitors to the wonder and awe of the Aquarium, and to bring them closer to one of the most important species of the world’s ocean.”
Brasfield & Gorrie, which began with the facility’s original construction, is the project’s general contractor. Since the Aquarium’s 2005 opening, Brasfield & Gorrie has completed multiple expansions, including the ballroom renovation, the dolphin expansion, multiple marine life holding projects, the sea lion exhibit and the café renovation.