Aquarium at the Boardwalk
The image is already iconic: that massive octopus overlooking the proposed Aquarium at the Boardwalk. It's striking, outlandish, and actually, kind of whimsical, making it the perfect compliment to the rest of Branson, an already-booming vacation spot for families around the United States. Where else can you see King Kong climbing buildings, a restaurant with a giant meatball you can walk through, and a Titanic museum? Not to mention countless other attractions, like the Wax Museum, Silver Dollar City (a theme park), and countless music halls.
The $51 million, 46,000-square-foot aquarium is being built by Kuvera Partners, who themselves are no strangers to Branson, having already opened a number of attractions in the city (the Castle of Chaos, Hannah's Hall of Mirrors, the Hollywood Wax Museum, and Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf). Their dedication to Branson shines through even as construction progresses; as the city's former Grand Palace (once the largest theater of its kind in the Ozarks), fell into disrepair, it was purchased by Kuvera for the aquarium.
"According to a press release from Kuvera Partners, while the mansion had to be removed, several key historical items, including multiple Christmas trees, giant toy soldiers that were part of performances by The Rockettes, a piano signed by stars who performed at the theatre, four seats from the 'Golden Circle' VIP area and the iconic chandelier that hung in the lobby, were recovered and are being refurbished and will be donated to the community." -Branson Tri-Lakes News
Kuvera has partnered with powerhouse PGAV Destinations for architect and design services. PGAV boasts an impressive resume in the zoo/aquarium industry that includes Heart of Africa at Columbus Zoo, Georgia Aquarium, and The Grand Aquarium at Hong Kong's Ocean Park. As the Grand Palace comes down, the new aquarium will begin to overtake the 13-acre site, and the new lobby will go up. Boardwalk-themed, of course.
Work officially began in March, under nationally ranked contractor Crossland Construction. The first step? Underground piping for the life support systems, foundation work, walls, and structural support for the forthcoming giant pacific octopus. Crossland is also overseeing the construction of the quarantine building, about a mile away from the main aquarium.
With the addition of Director of Husbandry, Steve Bitter, Branson's own "a-fish-ionado", and Mike Bajek, the aquarium's new Life Support Manager, we are confident that this team will bring the Aquarium of the Boardwalk to life.
We are currently on site at Aquarium of the Boardwalk's quarantine facility!
Scroll through the gallery to see new quarantine tanks as they are fiberglassed together.
Once the tanks are complete, the quarantine's aquatic life support, provided by Integrated Aqua Systems, will be installed, allowing husbandry staff to begin the acquisition and quarantine process for fish, while we move on to the main aquarium's life support systems.
We always look forward to new projects. Part of the fun is the assembly... of both the exhibits and the team. This aquarium will be a great addition to Branson's community, made even better by owners, contractors, and staff that are passionate about education and conservation.
Branson is set to open in 2020.