Brand new $55 million aquarium now open in Branson

The Aquarium at the Boardwalk is hard to miss
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 10:17 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A brand new $55 million project is now open in Branson, and it’s impossible to miss it.

It is “o-fish-al”, as of 10 a.m. Monday morning, the Aquarium at the Boardwalk is now open and it includes more than 250 animal species in over 400,000 gallons of salt water.

And it’s not just all about fish here either.

“We’ve got a mirror room maze with live jellyfish, we’ve got touchable experiences,” said Steve Bitter, Director of Husbandry for the Aquarium at the Boardwalk. “There’s a really exciting and immersive theater experience so, there’s all these cool things to go along with the aquarium.”

The construction of the massive attraction went off without a hitch, despite the ongoing pandemic.

“We followed all the CDC guidelines,” said Chuck O’Day, Director of New Developments and Openings. “We did all sorts of temp checks every day on a daily basis with all of our workers, we required masks on site. We did everything possible to make sure the job didn’t just shut down and kept alive and kept moving, and luckily we had no issues.”

O’ Day added that he believes the aquarium to be a dream come true.

Bitter added that it reflects the spirit of what Branson’s all about.

And one big thing outside the aquarium has caused a few traffic headaches with one lane of highway closed, but what a sight to behold

“It’s its own piece of art,” said Bitter. “It’s already slowing down traffic, people are really excited about it.”

“(It’s a) 55-foot-tall octopus, about 42,000 pounds total weight and 10,000 stainless steel panels on him,” added O’Day.

That huge octopus out front, by the way, his name is Aquarius. He is expected to be completed by December 5th.

The aquarium is using timed admissions to keep everyone socially distanced, so you’re urged to buy tickets in advance, online. Masks are required to go through the aquarium. If you forget to bring one, a mask will be provided for you.

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