Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium Announce First Month Visitation Numbers
Attendance Exceeds Expectations
In its first month of operation, 140,000 guests explored the oceans’ wonders at Audubon Aquarium and marveled at amazingly diverse animals at Audubon Insectarium, greatly exceeding projected attendance estimates.
Part of the $41 million project involved relocating the popular Audubon Insectarium into the Audubon Aquarium building, creating the only place of its kind in the world that houses both types of attractions, more comprehensively engaging and educating guests about the natural world.
Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO, says the freshly redesigned Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium will drive increased tourism for the city, “Our guests are engaged in nature from the moment they arrive and throughout their visit. As we share our love of nature with our guests, they will also experience the glorious New Orleans riverfront like never before.”
"These are world-class experiences for our community and visitors," said Walter J. Leger, III, President and CEO of New Orleans & Company. "We expect to see people come from all over the globe to enjoy these beautiful attractions on the Mississippi River. The attractions of Audubon Nature Institute entertain, engage, and educate visitors and locals about the importance of nature, building awareness and respect for easily actionable conservation efforts through positive, memorable experiences that raise sensitivity to environmental and social climates.”
The redesigned complex features a two-story glass lobby designed to immerse guests in nature:
· Giant living plant walls,
· Colorful oversized images,
· A sweeping view of the Mississippi River, and
· A first glimpse into Audubon Insectarium’s spectacular new indoor butterfly garden.
Audubon Insectarium colorfully showcases the roles insects play in our environment – from pollinating crops and flowers to breaking down waste – as well as their incredible diversity and beauty.
“We give guests a chance to see up close some of the amazing work insects do,” said Zack Lemann, Curator of Animals in Audubon Insectarium. “From tiny leaf cutter ants that busily carry their loads to their colony, to the honeybees that guests watch fly out of the building and return to make honey in their hive here in the Insectarium, we give guests a stunning front-row seat to how insects work, their unique designs, and the amazing things they accomplish every day.”
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently toured the facilities and assisted curators in releasing some of the hundreds of butterflies now seen soaring in the butterfly garden. “These attractions are truly one-of-a-kind, much like the city of New Orleans. Having them on the riverfront gives our local residents as well as those who visit our beautiful city two world-class experiences in one place. The Aquarium and Insectarium are truly two of the crowning jewels of our city,” said Mayor Cantrell.
Audubon Aquarium opened to tremendous fanfare when it debuted in 1990, and more than 40 million people have visited the downtown facilities since then. Updates through the years have increased their popularity, and Audubon Aquarium was recently named one of the top five aquariums in the country. Crowd favorite exhibits, including the Amazon Rainforest and ‘Down the Bayou,’ have new looks as part
of the renovations, and for the first time, guests can step to the edge of the massive 450,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico and peer into its depths from the ‘Life in the Gulf’ exhibit.
“While we celebrate the return of two of New Orleans’ most popular family attractions, we do so with gratitude for Audubon Nature Institute and its ongoing commitment to our natural world,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “As a sportsman myself, I appreciate the conservation messages and connections between plants, animals, and people that are featured in both Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium.”
Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium are open from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. Tickets are available online at audubonwonder.com.