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Toledo Zoo Aquarium: Tanks for the memories

Associated Press • Oct 1, 2012 at 6:35 AM

The renovation shutdown began after Sunday’s final day open to the public. The aquarium is expected to reopen in April 2015.

Fishes and invertebrate curator Jay Hemdal said the inside of the building, which opened in 1939, will undergo an extensive renovation.

The interior size will stay the same but the water volume of exhibits will more than triple to 178,000 gallons from 46,000 gallons.

The largest exhibit will expand to take up an entire rotunda.

Hemdal told The (Toledo) Blade the renovated aquarium will be more interactive and engaging.

According to Hemdal, the aquarium will have several hands-on exhibits, and the large tank will include a microphoned diver who will give educational talks while feeding the fish.

The brick and stone features of the last of the zoo buildings created by the Works Progress Administration won’t be sacrificed in the remodel, said Jeff Sailer, the zoo’s executive director.

‘‘The outside of the building will remain mostly untouched,’’ Sailer said.

About 80 percent of the money for the project is coming from the proceeds of the 2006 Lucas County tax levy. The remaining 20 percent is coming from private donations.

It will be the first major renovation of the building in its 73-year history.

Boilers dating from the 1950s were replaced in 1998 with a geothermal heating system, which will be incorporated into the renovation

Preparation for the renovation goes back several years when the zoo stopped receiving new fish and started making plans on where to move the fish that would not be staying at the zoo during the move.

About 25 percent will be moved and remain at a warehouse on the zoo grounds. The remaining 75 percent have already started off for about a dozen other accredited zoo aquariums.

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