San Antonio Aquarium to Open December 2014 with Exhibits and Activities Geared Toward Interaction and Family Entertainment

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Greater San Antonio will gain a fully indoor attraction this winter when the new San Antonio Aquarium opens in Leon Valley at 6320 E. Bandera Road. Family Entertainment will be a primary focus of the aquarium, with hands-on exhibits ranging from aviaries to shark and stingray touch exhibits with limited time 50% off discounts going on sale today.

San Antonio Aquarium has announced it will be opening this winter. Recently, Leon Valley Mayor Chris Riley, together with City Council members Paul Biever and Abraham Diaz, and staff, visited the Austin Aquarium, which opened in December 2013 by the same developers. In keeping with the City’s economic development policy that “Leon Valley is open for business” and the practice of working together with businesses to facilitate their move into Leon Valley, Mayor Riley stated, “This attraction in our city is very much in line with our goals of bringing new jobs and investment into our community. As a council, we feel the message of education and conservation is good for the constituents, and those that may visit our community.”

Over the past ten months, Leon Valley’s economic development team (consisting of the City Manager, Economic Development Director and two City Council members serving as the City Council liaisons, and representatives of the Leon Valley Economic Development Corporation, LVEDC) has encouraged the owners and developers to choose this location for their next aquarium. The City team promoted the site as an ideal location believing the economics, entertainment, education and conservation messages the aquarium will bring to the community to be supportive of city goals and objectives. In addition, the team emphasized the City’s business-friendly attitude and one-stop development process to encourage the selection of the property in Leon Valley. LVEDC Board President Stephen Ynostrosa stated “Building partnerships is important to the success of our development and redevelopment initiatives. Our pro-business attitude is reflected in how, as a team, we work together to attract new business to Leon Valley, and assist them through the development process.”

The aquarium owners say the San Antonio Aquarium, at 50,000 square feet, will be more than twice the size of their most recent project, the Austin Aquarium, which in turn was twice the size of its predecessor, the Portland Aquarium. "We continue to identify new ways to create more interactive and more exciting exhibits, so we decided we had better Texas-size this one,” said Alui Cleaver, San Antonio Aquarium COO.

Annual Pass Holders to one aquarium will enjoy free unlimited access to the others, meaning those who buy passes now at the 50% limited time discount need not wait until San Antonio opens to see thousands of species of fish, reptiles and birds. 50% off passes can be purchased at Other Aquarium discounts currently 50% off include an overnight Sleep with the Sharks (with private and public event options), Octopus Encounters, Private Events (where the aquarium can become exclusively yours for the evening) and Birthday Parties. Field Trips will also be a mainstay of the aquarium.

The largest exhibit will be a 125,000 gallon tunnel tank filled with various sharks and tropical fish where aspiring scuba divers will be able to take a plunge. While developers are hopeful to open in 2014, they do not expect this exhibit to be completed until March, 2015. The aquarium will also feature a Jump Jungle, where kids can enjoy multiple bounce houses and trampolines. An area for toddlers is also expected.

City Manager Manuel Longoria, after meeting with aquarium owners and brokers commented, "We have reviewed the project to make sure it fits our community’s development objectives and have approved the preliminary plans. This is going to be a great addition to our city with a positive economic impact for our City and regional businesses.” Tens of thousands of local field trip students will get the opportunity to have the aquarium as their classroom for the day.” International Zoo Educators Association states that students gain a “desire to understand animals…..joined by the need to conserve their populations and ecosystems” when they visit aquariums.

Non-profit agencies serving underprivileged children and families are encouraged to email San Antonio Aquarium at to apply for free annual passes. “Foster children, as well as select charities helping families, never have and never will pay admission at any of our aquariums. When we see the positive impact a few hours of animal interaction can have on children, particularly the underprivileged, we want to make sure they feel and know that here, they are VIP’s,” said Alui Cleaver.

Animal exhibits will range from warm and cold water touch tanks, tropical bird and reptile. A variety of stingrays, corals and other invertebrates, as well as hundreds of species of tropical and cold water fish will be at eye level and open to touch for children. Touch tanks are a cornerstone of the aquarium theme with feedings of the sharks and rays a highlight of any visit to the aquarium. Children and adults alike will be amazed at the soft feel of the stingray skin. Patrons will be able to view the beautiful glow of jelly fish, the timid stillness of the sea horse and the hide and seek behavior of the moray eel. Larger species include the Giant Pacific Octopus, various shark species and Caiman crocodiles. A bird aviary will allow feedings of Lorikeets and Macaws accompanied by a biologist, and a tropical rainforest area will house multiple species of reptiles. Daily talks by biology educators will offer a more detailed understanding of many of these species.

The aquarium will be open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Hours will be 10-7pm Sunday through Thursday and 10-8pm Friday and Saturday.

About San Antonio Aquarium:

San Antonio Aquarium, opening in Leon Valley, TX in December 2014 provides children and families access to the excitement and learning opportunities of the ocean without a long trip to the coast. Guests can watch jellyfish float and glow, admire the bright and colorful corals, feel the soft ray on their fingertips, interact with tropical birds and reptiles, … all within easy reach of home. San Antonio Aquarium offers multiple educational programs and events for kids. Popular activities include Birthday Parties, Sleep with the Sharks and Morning Rounds where students can learn how prepare the aquarium and the animals for the day.

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Susan Elcox
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