First look: Loveland Living Planet Aquarium opening Tuesday

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The Journey to South America exhibit has a ramp that takes you through the different layers of the rainforest. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

The Journey to South America exhibit has a ramp that takes you through the different layers of the rainforest. (Photo by Rebecca Lane)

DRAPER — The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium will make a considerable splash in Utah as it opens its doors on Tuesday, March 25 at 10 a.m.

Ari Robinson, one of the designers, started writing blueprints for the new aquarium in 2009. Construction began two years ago. Now five years later, the Draper aquarium is three times larger than the previous Sandy location with 136,000 square feet. It is the ninth largest aquarium in the nation.

“The aquarium is going to exceed anyone’s expectations,” said Suzy Broadbent, a public relations representative for the aquarium. “Not only are we going to be the ninth largest aquarium in the country, but there are going to be things here that people in Utah just won’t see anywhere else.

The aquarium has four unique galleries that explore different ecosystems: Discover Utah, Ocean Explorer, Journey to South America, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Research Vessel. This includes over 74 exhibits including three touch pools.

There is about 600,000 gallons of water used in the aquarium exhibits — the largest exhibit is the shark tank which is a 300,000-gallon tank.

“I think little kids will be blown away, because they will feel like they are right there with the animals,” Broadbent said.

The aquarium opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 25 at its new location, 12033 South Lone Peak Pkwy. in Draper. Admission costs $15.95 for adults, $12.95 for students ages 13-17 and $10.95 for children.

Get a first look at the aquarium by clicking on the far left picture to view the slideshow.

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Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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