- Public aquarium
A public aquarium (plural: public aquaria or public aquariums) is the aquatic counterpart of a
zoo, housing living aquatic species for viewing. Most public aquaria feature tanks larger than those which could be kept by home aquarists, as well as smaller tanks. Since the first public aquariums were built in the mid-1800s, they have become popular and their numbers have increased. Most modern accredited aquaria stress conservation issues and educating the public. [http://www.aza.org/Newsroom/PR_VisitorImpact/ Visitor Impact] , [http://www.aza.org/ AZA official website official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.]
The first public
aquariumwas opened in London Zooin May 1853; the "Fish House", as it came to be known, was constructed much like a greenhouse.cite book | last = Brunner | first = Bernd | title = The Ocean at Home | publisher = Princeton Architectural Press | date = 2003 | location = New York | isbn = 1-56898-502-9 | pages = 99] P.T. Barnumquickly followed in 1856 with the first American aquarium as part of his established Barnum's American Museum, which was located on Broadway in New Yorkbefore it burned down. In 1859, the Aquarial Gardens were founded in Boston. A number of aquaria then opened in Europe, such as the Jardin d'Acclimatationin Parisand the Viennese Aquarium Salon (both founded 1860), the Marine Aquarium Temple as part of the Zoological Garden in Hamburg(1864), as well as aquariums in Berlin(1869) and Brighton(1872). The oldest American aquarium is the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C., founded in 1873. This was followed by the opening of other public aquaria : San Francisco ("Woodward's Garden", 1873-1890), Wood Hole ("Science Aquarium", 1885), New York ("Battery Park", 1896-1941), La Jolla ("Scripps", 1903), Detroit ("Belle Isle", 1904-2005), Philadelphia ("Fairmount Water Works", 1911-1962), San Francisco ("Steinhart Aquarium", 1923), Chicago ("Shedd Aquarium", 1929). For many years, the Shedd Aquariumin Chicagowas the largest aquarium in the world, until the Georgia Aquariumin Atlantaopened.
In 2005, the
Georgia Aquarium, with more than 8 million US gallons (30,000 m³; 30,000,000 liters) of marine and fresh water, and more than 100,000 animals of 500 different species opened in Atlanta, Georgia. The aquarium's notable specimens include whale sharksand beluga whales.
Current public aquaria
Modern day aquarium tanks can hold millions of U.S. gallons of water and can house large species, including
dolphins, sharks or beluga whales. This is accomplished though thick, clear acrylic glasswindows. Aquatic and semiaquatic mammals, including otters, [http://www.aquarium.org/exhibitsSeaOtters.asp?sid=2 Sea Otters] , [http://www.aquarium.org/ Oregon Coast Aquarium's official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.] and seals [http://www.aquarium.org/exhibitsSeals.asp?sid=2 Seals] , [http://www.aquarium.org/ Oregon Coast Aquarium's official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.] are often cared for at aquaria. Some establishments, such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium, have aquatic aviaries. [http://www.aquarium.org/exhibitsBirds.asp?sid=2 Birds] , [http://www.aquarium.org/ Oregon Coast Aquarium's official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.] [http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/sandy.asp Sandy Shores] , [http://www.mbayaq.org/ Monterey Bay Aquarium's official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.]
Most aquaria will have special exhibits to entice repeat visitors, in addition to its permanent collection. A few have their own version of a "petting zoo"; for instance, the
Monterey Bay Aquariumhas a shallow tank filled with common types of rays, [http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/smm_meet.asp Sharks and Rays] , [http://www.mbayaq.org/ Monterey Bay Aquarium's official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.] and one can reach in to feel their smooth skins as they pass by.
Also as with zoos, aquaria usually have specialized research staff who study the habits and biology of their specimens.
Most public aquaria are located close to the
ocean, for a steady supply of natural seawater. An inland pioneer was Chicago's Shedd Aquarium[http://www.sheddaquarium.org/history.html Shedd History] , [http://www.sheddaquarium.org/ Shedd Aquarium's official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.] that received seawater shipped by rail in special tank cars. The early (1911) Philadelphia Aquarium, built in the city's disused water works, had to switch to treated city water when the nearby river became too contaminated. [http://www.nps.gov/phso/rtca2001/news_waterworks.htm] , [http://www.nps.gov/ Philadelphia Inquirer article] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.] Similarly, the recently opened Georgia Aquariumfilled its tanks with fresh water from the city water system and salinated its salt water exhibits using the same commercial salt and mineral additives available to home aquarists.
In January 1985, Kelly Tarlton began construction of the first aquarium,
Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, to include a large transparent acrylic tunnel in Auckland, New Zealand, a task that took 10 months and cost NZ$3 million. The 110-meter tunnel was built from one-tonne slabs of German sheet plastic that were shaped locally in an oven. A moving walkway now transports visitors through, and groups of school children occasionally hold sleepovers there beneath the swimming sharks and rays. [ [http://www.viewauckland.co.nz/kelly_tarltons_antarctic_encounter_underwater_world_auckland_index.html Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, Auckland ] ]
Public aquaria are often affiliated with oceanographic research institutions or conduct their own research programs, and sometimes specialize in species and ecosystems that can be found in local waters. For example, the
Vancouver Aquariumin Vancouver, BCis a major center for marine research, conservation, and marine animal rehabilitation, particularly for the rich ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest. [http://www.vanaqua.org/research/ Research] , [http://www.vanaqua.org/ Vancouver Aquarium's official website] , accessed February 3rd, 2007.] The Vancouver Aquariumwas the first aquarium to capture and display an orcawhale, Moby Doll, for 3 months in 1964; as well as belugas, narwhals[ [http://www.mi.mun.ca/mi-net/fishdeve/cetace14.htm Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)] ] and dolphins. None of these whales has ever left the aquarium alive, with the exception of Bjossa, a female orca who was sent to SeaWorldSan Diego in April 2000 and died shortly afterward in October 2001.
List of aquaria
* [http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/travel/Norfolk_Freshwater_Havana_Aq.html Norfolk, Howard. My Visit to the Freshwater Public Aquarium in Havana, Cuba, Aquarticles.com, January 2004] , retrieved on: June 22, 2007
* [http://etd.lib.fsu.edu/theses/available/etd-07022007-192923/ Case Studies in Aquarium History]
* [http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM1AGT Sao Paulo Public Aquarium (Aquário de São Paulo) - Brazil]
* [http://www.public-aquarium.com/ Public Aquaria in the United States]
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