It is located at the intersection of Interstate 25 and 23rd Avenue in Denver, Colorado area. Downtown Aquarium (formerly known as Colorado’s Ocean Journey) is a public aquarium and café. On a 17-acre (6.9-hectare) parcel of land near the South Platte River, the main building has a floor area of 107,000 square feet (9,900 m2) and is surrounded by trees. Its freshwater and marine aquaria are around 1,000,000 US gallons in size and are home to a diverse collection of fish and other animals.
The Downtown Aquarium in Denver is owned and operated by Landry’s Restaurants, Inc. It has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Founded by Bill Fleming and Judy Petersen Fleming as a non-profit organization, Colorado’s Ocean Journey is dedicated to environmental conservation. It was supported financially by a bond loan of $57 million as well as HUD loans, for a total cost of $93 million in financing and construction. Opening on June 21, 1999, the facility was rapidly recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as a top-tier institution (AZA).
At one point, it was referred to as “Ocean Journey” since the goal was to demonstrate to visitors how the Colorado River, which runs from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, has an impact on the entire planet. It was developed in order to communicate ecological and environmental messages regarding ecosystems in the mountains, rivers, and oceans. It was discovered that two rivers, the Colorado and the Kampar, in Indonesia, had been traveled, and that tigers, birds, and other animals had been discovered on both rivers. It was never intended to be a seafood restaurant in the first place. On the contrary, in fact.
However, despite the aquarium’s profitability and great attendance over the years, Mayor Wellington Webb chose to invest more than $100 million in a new competitive Aquarium at the Denver Zoo, which was in direct competition with Ocean Journey at every turn. Denver did not require two aquariums, and as a result, funding for and attendance at both aquariums decreased significantly.
In March 2003, Landry’s Restaurants, Inc. purchased the land for $13.6 million, after a last-minute struggle with Ripley’s Entertainment over ownership of the property.
As a result of the purchase, the institution remained open for business to the general public until the summer of 2005, when it was temporarily shuttered for renovations. There were other changes, including the establishment of a bar, a full-service restaurant, and a ballroom. The restaurant presently includes a marine aquarium with a capacity of 150,000 gallons (568,000 liters). When it reopened on July 14, 2005, the institution was renamed Downtown Aquarium to better reflect its location in the city.
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