What to expect at new aquarium

March 25, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by TSP.

Guests will enter the Dakota Aquarium & Butterfly House through an arrival and welcome area that opens up to the lobby and the Exploration Station, where young visitors can climb around larger-than-life versions of the butterfly life cycle, coral reefs and other marine life.

From the central, shared lobby, people can choose which adventure they’ll take first: the butterfly conservatory or the aquatic experience. As an added bonus, the second construction phase will relocate the butterfly conservatory’s entrance and exit to the same interior wall off the lobby. Currently, those who don’t wish enter the humid environment or who decide to make an early departure must cross diagonally through the butterfly conservatory to reach the exit. Separation of entry and exit is intentional and required by USDA guidelines to ensure no “hitchhiker” insects leave the conservatory.

TSP Inc.

The entire new configuration is designed with accessibility in mind. In the expansion, one-way traffic will create a clear route through the aquarium galleries. Everything is contained on a single level.

Each of the three galleries is themed for a distinct marine region:

  • The Coastal Seas gallery will house two tide pools dedicated to Pacific and tropical marine life. There, visitors will encounter sea stars and sea urchins, to name a few.
  • The Shallow Seas gallery will feature coral reefs that anchor anemones and provide homes for colorful fish. Moon jellyfish will ascend and drift back down inside a cylindrical exhibit.
  • The Lagoonal Seas gallery will include a kid-sized tunnel-style tank, an octopus and the stingray touch pool. The Lagonal Reef — an open-top aquarium — will provide opportunities to view stingrays, see educational dive shows and watch animal feedings.

What to expect at new aquarium

See what to expect from the new spaces, including living exhibits and hands-on experiences for guests of all ages.

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