Sobela Ocean Aquarium contains 650,000 gallons in total. It features six zones with 34 habitats that tell the story of how ocean currents connect animals across the globe.
The Aquarium includes nearly 8,000 animals representing more than 200 species, including sea otters, a sea turtle, sharks, and giant Pacific octopus.
To help keep all those animals healthy, more than five miles of pipes are located behind the scenes in a state-of-the-art water filtration system.
The total cost of the project was $77 million, with $45 million coming from the Zoological District and $32 million from private donations. The Zoological District is made up of Jackson and Clay counties, which approved a one-eighth cent sales tax in 2011 to support the Zoo.
An additional $10 million in private donations is being raised for an endowment to support the aquarium into the future.
JE Dunn Construction was the general contractor on the project, designed by the architectural firms El Dorado and EHDD.
Its name, Sobela Ocean Aquarium, was selected by benefactors Barnett and Shirley Helzberg to honor their grandchildren, Sawyer, Oliver, Benton, Elias, Leo, Amelia, and Arthur.
Sobela Ocean Aquarium is free with Zoo admission but timed reservations are currently required to ensure the best experience for all guests. There is no limit as to how long you can stay inside the Aquarium.