BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – During the first community information meeting held inside the Cape Canaveral City Hall for an aquarium in Brevard County, residents completely filled the room.
With an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, Brevard Zoo officials in charge of the project said they hope to break ground on construction next year for the aquarium.
Brevard Zoo Deputy Director Jon Bangan said the aquarium has already raised $55 million of the $100 million needed.
“I think what you are going to see is a unique experience and facility that is nowhere here on the east coast. It is going to be transformational. What it is going to be with emission as well as exhibits for the standard for the animals we have in our care,” Bangan said.
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The project is set to be constructed on Port Canaveral property that has never been developed and will be leased from the port.
Artist renderings show that most of the aquarium is set to be outside, and guests will be able to see manatees being treated by medical staff and actual labs where scientists conduct experiments.
Resident Melanie Hagan said she supports the aquarium’s effort to conserve sea turtles and provide an opportunity for more economic growth.
“The port of call ships come in on Tuesday. Everybody gets off, and it’s like, ‘What do we do?’ This is going to be a big deal because they can walk down there to the aquariums,” Hagan said.
Resident John Hartman said the aquarium has a lot of community support.
“People are excited about the project, excited to get behind the cause and what they are trying to educate and trying to show people. They are trying to restore the lagoon, be mindful of the health of the lagoon, give people that immersive experience that really resonates with people,” Hartman said.
The aquarium still needs to secure another $45 million before construction can be completed.
Groundbreaking is set for October 2024.
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