Toledo Zoo aquarium makes a splash at grand opening

Toledo Zoo aquarium makes a splash at grand opening

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The Toledo Zoo's brand new aquarium opened its doors to the public for the first time Friday morning.

The aquarium building was closed for more than two years to allow for a complete renovation.

Two 90,000-gallon tanks greet visitors in the aquarium building's entrance area. One tank represents the Gulf of Mexico, the other the flooded Amazon River. Both sit where the old rain forest exhibit once stood.

The aquarium also features art from local artists.

One exciting feature of the new aquarium is the touch tank, where visitors can touch rays, crabs and other underwater creatures.

Many people say they've been waiting a long time for this day.

"I think it's amazing," said Connor Hartsel. "I waited two-and-a-half years for this to open and it's pretty amazing."

There are more than 3,000 animals at the aquarium, ranging from sharks, to sea turtles, to colorful tropical fish and glowing jellyfish.

"We've been to other zoos and aquariums that have the touch tank and our son loves it," said Kristie Joseph. "And now that [our daughter's] getting older, she's going to love it just as much. It's a wonderful thing that we can have it here in Toledo."

"I think this is great. This is going to bring people from other counties to come to Toledo and spend the day here," said Sarah Andrews. "It's great for families; I just think it's wonderful for Lucas County."

The renovations cost $25.5 million. Zoo officials say about 80 percent of the funds came from a 2006 Lucas County capital levy. The rest came from donors.

The zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

See a full schedule of opening weekend events here. See more about what you can expect at the new aquarium here.

Copyright 2015 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.