The Kansas City Zoo is set to “Make Waves KC,” as we kicked off our $75 million Aquarium project on October 25. Work has already begun, and we’re excited to be kicking off the public fundraising campaign and to share the details of the coming addition. Opening in mid-2023, this is the single largest project in the Zoo’s 112-year history and the capstone of CEO Randy Wisthoff’s career at the KCZoo. “We want to make sure that every child in Kansas City can experience the ocean and realizes the importance of conserving it, even here in the middle of the country,” said Randy Wisthoff, KCZoo Executive Director and CEO.
At 600,000 gallons of total volume, the KCZoo Aquarium will make you feel like you have traveled to the bottom of the ocean and back again as you move through its six zones containing about 30 exhibits. From the moment you step in the door to see and hear waves hitting the shore, you begin your descent to see sharks and other creatures at its darkest depths, then you’ll come back out on the opposite shore where sea otters play. The Aquarium will be home to thousands of marine animals from around the globe, including sharks, octopus, sea turtles, and rescued sea otters.
Currently, the Zoo averages about one million visitors a year but an outside feasibility study estimated that the aquarium could increase attendance about 300,000 annually. “It is the Zoo’s mission to connect all people to one another and to the natural world and in doing so, it has become one of the most popular attractions in the city,” said Hayley Hanson, Friends of the Zoo board chair. “We are making an investment in the future, ensuring the amenities of a world-class Zoo are available for everyone to learn from and enjoy.”
Funding for the Aquarium is being provided by the Zoological District of Jackson and Clay Counties in Missouri as well as through private donations. There is approximately $5.5 million left to raise. To donate or for more information, visit kansascityzoo.org/aquarium.