Friday, October 5, 2012

Transformation in Progress: Construction is Underway

Hardhats and scaffolding are now part of the Aquarium scenery along with sea turtles and seadragons. We are now in the thick of the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT) renovation, and things are as busy as ever! Come watch the Aquarium transformation while you visit with seals and seal lions and see the GOT animals from a whole new angle in the penguin exhibit, called the Tropical Oceans Exhibit for now.

The Aquarium is definitely looking different these days. The Giant Ocean Tank (GOT) is officially a construction zone, off-limits and covered up by a construction screen.

The GOT was drained this week so cleaning and construction can begin.

But your friends Myrtle and the gang from the Giant Ocean Tank are still front and center. Now the turtles, tarpon, eels and stingrays are exploring the first floor penguin exhibit. Here's a look at the animals in their new (temporary) watery abode.

As you can see, transporting the animals was a big job in itself. Once the penguins moved to Quincy and their exhibit had been reconditioned for tropical fish, the divers worked feverishly over many weeks to carefully transport each and every animal from the big tank down four floors to the penguin exhibit. That's hundreds of animals—from the tiny butterflyfish to all 560 pounds of Myrtle. We "pulled the plug" on all 250,000-gallons of sea water  at 10 a.m. on October 2 and by lunchtime the water had dropped several feet already. The water drained at a rate of about one inch per minute.

After several decades, the fiberglass reef was exposed when the water started dropping.

Divers needed ladders to reach the water level. Scaffolding also went up all around the outside of the tank, along the East wall of the building and, even though you may not notice, on the ceiling, too. 

There were a few speedy fish left in the tank when the water started dropping. The divers carefully picked their way down the ladders in their wetsuits and scuba gear to gently collect the tarpon, permits and jacks.

All that effort to make sure the special animals from the Giant Ocean Tank have a comfy place to live during construction. Be sure to come by and say hi to them in the Tropical Oceans exhibit (a.k.a. the penguin exhibit minus the penguins, for now) during the renovation! And don't forget about the seals and sea lions, the shark and ray touch tank, seadragons, piranha, mandarinfish...the list goes on and on. There are more than 800 marine animals species to see during construction.


  1. Where are the penguins now?

    1. Good question! The African and rockhopper penguins are at an off-site holding facility in Quincy. But the little blue penguins — the littlest species of penguin in the world — are still on exhibit. Look for them in their temporary home during construction around back near the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center. Check out video of all our penguins on the Penguin Blog!

  2. So exciting to see... can't wait to come and visit!!


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