The Jacksonville Aquarium project is the first project we as a group decided to undertake. Jacksonville has a wealth of natural attractions at it’s disposal, and we feel an aquarium would highlight those attractions and bring in enormous amounts of people to come visit our ever-improving city. Together with other local groups in Jacksonville, we hope to bring a world-class, 150,000 square foot facility to downtown Jacksonville sometime in 2018. This is a daunting task, but public support for a project such as this has always been high, and it’s impossible to deny to positives a large scale aquarium would bring to downtown Jacksonville. Education, conservation, entertainment, economic stimulus, and civic pride are all benefits that would stem from this single addition to the downtown waterfront.
Jacksonville along with the rest of north Florida are home to some very amazing aquatic creatures. An aquarium built in Jacksonville would tap into the limitless potential of the St. Johns River, the Atlantic Ocean, and the springs and rivers of North Central Florida to provide a unique experience to guests. Our proposed site along the north shore of the St. Johns River would provide a perfect launching point for a River Cruise to the Jacksonville Zoo. These two complimentary experiences would be an unforgettable experience for any visitor spending the day in Jacksonville. We plan to include both salt and freshwater marine environments, as well as a launching point for the manatee rehabilitation program currently under way the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
Research and Education
The Jacksonville Aquarium will have a large focus on education and research in close connection with the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, and the dozens of local Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in and around Jacksonville. Aquariums are used the world over to teach and enlighten developing minds about the beauty and importance of our seas, oceans, rivers, and lakes. The Jacksonville Aquarium would be no different. It is our intent to partner with OCEARCH, a research organization that tags and follows great white sharks around the world. We will provide internships for budding marine and coastal biologists, as well as a summer camp for younger children to experience.