Saturday, March 20, 2010

The New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium at Coney Island is the place to go to learn about aquatic life. The Aquarium has been a part of the city since December 10, 1896 when it opened at its first location in the Battery's Castle Clinton (above)in Lower Manhattan. The oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, the New York Zoological Society assumed care of the Aquarium in 1902. In the Aquarium's early years, the facility housed only 150 specimens. Today's version of the Aquarium is home to over 350 species of aquatic wildlife and over 8,000 specimens.

The Aquarium lasted in the Battery until 1941 when it was relocated to Coney Island because of the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. (The Aquarium's inhabitants were temporarily housed at the Bronx Zoo.) The New York Aquarium opened on the Coney Island boardwalk on June 6, 1957, part of a larger plan to revitalize the area. The entire project cost $9 million and used 1.25 million gallons of water. When the aquarium was opened, a New York Zoological Society brochure on the facility boasted “many hundreds of fish species, marine and fresh water, tropical, temperate and arctic, beautiful, weird and downright hideous.” A big attraction, the facility served over 400,000 school children during the first school season it was open.

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