The NorthTown Mall is getting a new shop. Not exactly a “store,” mind you, because the unique and beautiful creatures on display aren’t for sale, but rather an interactive aquarium where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the mysterious undersea world and get to know its inhabitants.
When Blue Zoo Spokane, a family friendly aquarium and small-animal exhibit, opens in July, it will be the first of its kind between Spokane and Seattle. The 11,000 square foot exhibit features more than 150 species of animals including fish, reptiles and birds.
The concept of an aquarium built into a small space is relatively new, says owner Wesley Haws. Indoor public aquariums like Blue Zoo are possible thanks to modern technologies, such as LED lighting, which is low-energy and can simulate varying light conditions in the tanks. Blue Zoo uses 5,000 square feet of highly efficient filtration systems to maintain the aquarium’s 50,000 gallons of water.
Among the attractions and specially designed environments, you’ll find marine animals including clown fish, electric eels, seahorse, lion fish, jellyfish, and a giant pacific octopus. There are hands-on exhibits where visitors can touch stingrays and starfish, pet snakes, lizards, turtles, and exotic birds, and get up close and personal with sharks.
Don’t expect to come nose to nose with a great white, but Blue Zoo’s 30,000 gallon shark tank will include blacktip reef sharks, zebra sharks and nurse sharks that can grow to eight feet long and 300 pounds.
Blue Zoo will have live-entertainment, including an underwater mermaid show and daily shark feedings.
Education is an important part of the experience, Haws says. “Blue Zoo is not about having the fanciest, rarest or most endangered species. Our goal is to engage people and give them the opportunity to interact with a world they may not have experienced before and to be inspired.”
Blue Zoo Spokane is located at the North end of the mall, near Buffalo Wild Wings. Discount annual passes are on sale now for a limited time. For more information, visit them on Facebook or online at bluezoo.us.