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What you need to know for 03/22/2017

ViaPort mall aquarium sets open date

ViaPort mall aquarium sets open date

After several delays, attraction slated for Nov. 12 debut
ViaPort mall aquarium sets open date
Renovations continue toward bringing the Via Aquarium to fruition in the old Rotterdam Square Mall location on Monday.
Photographer: Eric Jenks

The Via Aquarium at ViaPort Rotterdam mall will have its grand opening in November, after months of anticipation.

The Aquarium will celebrate its official opening on Nov. 12, according to a post on its Facebook page. The attraction has been in the works for more than a year, with the target opening date fluctuating during that time. The aquarium is part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the former Rotterdam Square Mall, which has lost tenants like Sears, while simultaneously offering more entertainment options.

There are some fish already in the aquarium, and work will continue over the next few weeks to get the attraction finished, said Alan Fanitzi, marketing manager for the Via Aquarium.

David Gross was hired in November as the aquarium’s general manager. He previously worked as the director of the National Aquarium in Washington D.C., and when he was hired, he said the aquarium’s target opening date was the end of February.

As work progressed, the goal was adjusted to sometime during the summer. Then it was pushed back again, and in a July interview, Gross estimated the aquarium would be ready by September at the earliest, possibly later. The Nov. 12 grand opening was announced over the weekend.

The aquarium is expected to feature 37 tanks and about 75,000 gallons of water. Animals that will be on display include electric eels, rainbow fish, jellyfish, octopuses, cuttlefish, blacktip and whitetip sharks, clownfish and more.

Certain exhibits will be more interactive, such as a sting ray touch tank or an area where visitors can touch starfish. Other aspects of the aquarium will engage visitors and teach them more about the environment and how human actions can affect wildlife, Gross said in July.

The expectation is that the aquarium will eventually employ 25, though Gross said previously that number could change depending on how well the attraction does.

Tickets will cost $19 for adults and $10 for kids ages 4-17, while children younger than 4 will be admitted for free, according to the Facebook posting. Hours are listed as 1 to 7 p.m.

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