An Ocean of Wonders

December 14, 2010

Come 2015, Coney Island beachgoers will come ashore to connect with sharks, skates, rays and other fish. The New York Aquarium’s newest exhibit will bring people to the sea, and the sea life to the people.

Beachgoers at Brooklyn’s Coney Island will soon be coming ashore to see sharks up close—about 40 of them. The design for the New York Aquarium’s “Ocean Wonders: Shark” exhibit, scheduled to open in 2015, has received approval from New York City.

The 50,000-square foot building will be a celebration of the city’s maritime history and of sharks, animals often misunderstood and threatened worldwide by overfishing. The exhibit will feature whitetip reef sharks and blacktip reef sharks, sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, Port Jackson sharks, and wobbegongs. The 500,000-gallon tank will also hold many skates, rays, sea turtles, and thousands of schooling fish.

But the sharks won’t be the only eye-popping attraction. The building itself will resemble a shimmering wave. Small aluminum squares will sparkle in the sunlight and move with the wind along a 1,000-foot-long dynamic wall. Wrapping around the building, the spiral ramp will transport visitors between the aquarium and Coney Island’s boardwalk. Along the way are ocean views, a water play sculpture area, a touch tank filled with local species, and a roof deck with an interactive gathering space.

“This exciting new shark exhibit will attract people from far and wide to visit the New York Aquarium,” said Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., whose district includes Coney Island. “It’s been a dream of mine to have a world-class shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium, and this brings us one step closer to making that dream a reality. The revitalization of Coney Island is already attracting record-breaking crowds and Ocean Wonders: Shark is an important piece of our ultimate goal—establishing Coney Island as the biggest, best year-round tourist destination in the world.”

Dr. Steve Sanderson, WCS President and CEO extended his appreciation to all partners of A Sea Change, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Parks and Recreation, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Councilman Recchia. “Ocean Wonders: Shark will inspire New Yorkers to celebrate the city’s maritime heritage and attract more visitors and business to Brooklyn’s oceanfront,” he said.

“We aim to fund this renaissance by harnessing public and private support from all those who wish to be leaders in this unprecedented effort to reinvent our city’s 114-year-old aquarium.”

Ocean Wonders: Shark is a key component of A Sea Change, a 10-year partnership between WCS, the City of New York, and the Borough of Brooklyn. The initiative’s objectives are two-fold: renewing WCS's New York Aquarium with innovative architecture, and exhibits and renewing WCS's commitment to local marine conservation. The newly launched New York Seascape program will help WCS protect and build awareness of the Long Island Sound and surrounding waters from Montauk, N.Y., to Cape May, N.J.


Aquarium Director Jon Forrest Dohlin said, “We are creating an unforgettable experience that will celebrate the oceans and marine life, educate future conservationists, and advance WCS efforts to protect seascapes in New York and across the globe.”

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