Kansas City Zoo reveals Sobela Ocean Aquarium in public opening event

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Sobela Ocean Aquarium ribbon cutting ceremony. // Photo by Zoe Strohm

The Kansas City Zoo opened its doors to the brand new Sobela Ocean Aquarium Friday morning.

The aquarium boasts 650,000 gallons of water and nearly 8,000 animals. The ribbon-cutting event was attended by Friends of the Zoo members and their families to get a first look at the aquarium.

The execution of this project cost $77 million dollars, with $45 million coming from the Zoological District and $32 million from private donations, according to a statement released by The Kansas City Zoo and Aquarium.

“Today has been more than ten years in the making,” stated Sean Putney, executive director and CEO of the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium. “We are excited to bring this new experience to those in Kansas City as there are people here who have never been, and may never go, to the ocean. We now have the ability to talk with them and discuss why the oceans are important, how we have a connection to them, and, hopefully, encourage them to support aquatic life and the realms in which they live.”

Barnett and Shirley Helzberg joined Putney, along with Mayor Quinton Lucas, Executive Director Randy Wistoff and other zoo board members for the ribbon cutting. This is the second zoo addition attributed to the Helzbergs, the first being the Helzberg Penguin Plaza.

Albeit on the smaller side—you can easily see everything here in less than 15 minutes—the Sobela Ocean Aquarium is a beautifully done addition to the newly named Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium.

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