John Ball Zoo’s ‘Shedd’ Style Aquarium Might End Up On The Lakeshore Instead Of Grand Rapids
A plan for a largescale tourist-style aquarium that many thought might end up in Grand Rapids may actually end up near the Lake Michigan lakeshore instead.
Mlive.com has reported that the Muskegon City Commission has thrown their city's proverbial hat in the ring for the aquarium after approving $75,000 for a feasibility study. That study will help to decide if the Muskegon location may be better suited than a Kent County location for the aquarium.
The Kent County location is Millenium Park and would have been offsite of the zoo's location on West Fulton anyhow. But the central location would've meant easy access to the aquarium for tourists and residents in Grand Rapids.
Obviously, the location along the lakeshore would allow the Aquarium to take advantage of its location near the natural habitats of over a thousand different species of animals. In fact, 134 species of fish alone live in Lake Michigan.
The scale of the aquarium would be massive in size compared to the current Van Andel Living Shores Aquarium which is a 40,000-gallon water tank in the middle of the zoo. The new aquarium would be much closer in size to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, for comparison, the tanks in the Shedd Aquarium hold 5 Million-gallons.
Back in February John Ball Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo told News 8 that they've been exploring the aquarium idea for years:
We’ve been exploring the idea for the last few years and really in the last 12 months or so kind of getting the pulse within the community if this is something that would have some interest. The next step is really doing a very detailed economic study to really understand what exactly is the best aide for the aquarium, the budget, how many gallons, the best location.
According to a 2018 feasibility study, West Michigan is one of the top locations in the country for a large-scale aquarium.