Aquarium to Temporarily Close for Renovation
Aquarium and Insectarium to Reopen Summer 2023
Since it opened in 1990, Audubon Aquarium has delighted and inspired guests by teaching them about the wonders of marine life and the important connections between humans and the oceans, rivers, and bayous that surround us. The popular riverfront attraction is undergoing a major renovation project that will result in a dynamic, cutting-edge Aquarium and create a combined experience with Audubon Insectarium, which is being relocated from its former home at the US Custom House.
Construction work is entering a new phase and the Aquarium will temporarily close November 28, 2022 to allow for work inside the facility itself. Work will take several months to complete, and both the Aquarium and Insectarium will reopen in summer 2023.
Among the updates to the Aquarium is creation of a new, downriver entrance that features a multi-story bird-safe glass curtain wall, a monumental stairway and a 2,500 square foot lobby that will tell the story of Audubon’s conservation work around the world. Once inside the Aquarium, galleries will also have entirely new looks including the Mississippi River, Amazon Rainforest, and a new Top of the Gulf of Mexico experience. The project will include approximately 17,000 square feet of separate new exhibit space constructed inside the existing walls of the Aquarium to house the Insectarium.
“This renovation gives us the opportunity to bring new animals into our collection,” said Rich Toth, Senior Vice-President and Aquarium Director. “In addition to several new bird species, we are excited to introduce a sloth into the Amazon Rainforest. Sloths live in rainforest canopies in south and central America and ours will be a guest favorite when we reopen.”
The Aquarium’s penguin exhibit will undergo new rockwork construction during renovation. The birds will remain at the Aquarium in a specially designed holding area where they can swim and behave as usual. Toth added that the Aquarium’s two sea otters were relocated to new homes where they are thriving and continue to serve as excellent ambassadors for their species.
Insectarium exhibit galleries, including a Butterfly Pavilion, will be relocated to the building’s second floor. The space formerly housing the Entergy Giant Screen Theater will be split into two floors with the first floor becoming a unique special events area and the second floor will be part of the new Insectarium space.
“The initial construction of Audubon Aquarium and adjacent Woldenberg Riverfront Park opened the New Orleans riverfront to visitors like never before. This extensive renovation continues the growth and expansion of the foot of Canal Street that includes new luxury hotels, restaurants, and green space,” said Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO. “Our goal is to give our guests a place to learn about nature and wildlife and ways to help by taking action in their own lives.”
Audubon Nature Institute is a family of facilities, events, experiences, sustainability initiatives and conservation programs united in the belief that each of us has the power to impact nature and wildlife for the better. This includes Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. We inspire visitors, members and our community to support nature and wildlife — and leave the world better than we found it.