Aquarium of Niagara Selects Construction Manager for Upcoming Expansion; Unveils New Renderings

Turner Construction Company has been chosen as the project manager for the Aquarium of Niagara’s exciting latest expansion in its 57-year history. The project, called the Great Lakes 360, is a $5 million endeavor which will create a dynamic living museum that showcases the remarkable wildlife found in the Niagara River and the vast ecosystem of the Great Lakes. By expanding its physical presence, the Aquarium will transform into a vibrant downtown campus, solidifying its position as a prominent organization.

Through a collaboration with the New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, the Aquarium will undertake the renovation of the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, also known as the Schoellkopf Geological Museum. This vacant 5,000 square foot building is conveniently located just 500 feet southwest of the Aquarium’s main facility, within the boundaries of the Niagara Falls State Park, and at the edge of the breathtaking Niagara Gorge. The Aquarium’s vision is to provide visitors with a seamless and immersive experience that integrates indoor and outdoor spaces, celebrating the close proximity to the natural wonder of Niagara Falls.

“We are embarking on something extraordinarily significant for ecotourism in our region thanks to a fortified alliance with New York State Parks,” said Gary Siddall, President & CEO of the Aquarium of Niagara. “Visitors will have the opportunity to feel the mist coming off the falls, take to the trails to explore unique areas of the Niagara Gorge, then come to Great Lakes 360 and really get to know the animals they may have just encountered outside through hands-on experiences and compelling interpretation.”

“NYS Parks is thrilled to be partnering with the Aquarium of Niagara on this innovative project to reimagine the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. The Niagara River and the Great Lakes are incredible natural resources unique to our region so to have an opportunity to tell their stories is exciting. We look forward to the opening of this new attraction that will only add to the already dynamic offerings of the Aquarium of Niagara, and the state park as a whole,” said Mark V. Mistretta, Niagara Region Director, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

“The Aquarium of Niagara is a destination and one of the best places to visit in the Falls. Being a part of the Great Lakes 360 Project Team is thrilling for Turner and our employees. We know and value the significant impact this project will have on education, conservation, research, and recreation for both our community and visitors from outside the region. While all our projects are significant to us, the ones that provide direct benefits to our community hold a special place,” said Steven Perrigo, Vice President and Business Manager, Turner Construction Company.

The Great Lakes 360 project builds upon a strategic commitment to rebranding the Aquarium inside and out, including more than $10 million in new exhibits and visitor amenities. The completed project will demonstrate the Aquarium’s dedication to providing an enhanced visitor experience through dynamic and engaging exhibits. The indoor, year-round attraction will be accessible in tandem with the Aquarium’s main building via a single general admission ticket and is expected to welcome more than 200,000 visitors annually.

Construction is projected to be complete in the Spring of 2024.

About the Aquarium of Niagara
The Aquarium of Niagara is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization. With our community and our partners, we celebrate our natural wonders and inspire people to make a difference for aquatic life. We are home to more than 120 different species, including nine rescued and non-releasable marine mammals. The Aquarium is open daily at 9:00am year around, except for Christmas and Thanksgiving. 

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