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Update 9/13/18: The City Council approved the revised resolution directing the city manager and FOTZ leadership to identify all potential funding sources for the proposed aquarium, and to report back to the council within 60 days with recommended funding options.
Update 9/12/18: On September 12, a substitute resolution was approved by the Finance and Governance Committee of the City Council regarding the proposed aquarium. This revised resolution directs the City Manager and Friends of the Zoo leadership to identify all potential funding sources, both private and public, and develop a financial plan with recommended funding options to be submitted in a Report to Council within 60 days. The resolution now proceeds to the full City Council.
Update 8/20/18: A resolution (No. 180659) was introduced to the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, expressing the City’s financial support in the amount of $7 million for the construction of a new $75 million aquarium at the Kansas City Zoo. This resolution was assigned to the Finance and Governance Committee where it will be considered.
Why an aquarium?
We want to bring the experience of the ocean to Kansas City residents who may never get the opportunity to see it first-hand. Building ocean awareness and engaging in ocean wildlife conservation would be a big part of the aquarium experience at the Kansas City Zoo.
- The ocean covers 70% of the earth’s surface.
- The closest ocean to Kansas City is 13 hours away.
- The closest aquarium of this size is 160 miles away.
This $75 million project will be funded through a variety of sources. The Zoological District will provide up to $40M over the next four years. Private funders have already pledged $22 million to the project if city funding is secured, and the Zoo will raise an additional $5-7 million of private funding. Private funding is contingent on receiving the city funding.
Under the current plan, this aquarium would include 750,000 gallons of saltwater and would open in Spring 2022. Admission to the aquarium would be included with Zoo admission.
What are the benefits to Kansas City and my family?
- Economic Impact. Adding an aquarium at the Kansas City Zoo will create jobs. Approximately 100 jobs would be added to support the new facility and its associated operations. Adding an aquarium will also result in increased annual tourism income for the city, through additional visitors as well as longer stays. The aquarium would add $14 million to the Kansas City economy EVERY YEAR, bringing the zoo’s annual economic benefit to $43.8 million.
- Free and reduced price access to a world-class facility. Residents of the Zoological District, which includes all of Jackson and Clay counties, would continue to get four free visits to the zoo every year, but now that experience would include an aquarium as well! In addition, Zoological District residents will continue to get half off of Friends of the Zoo memberships and daily admission tickets. About 400,000 Jackson and Clay county residents redeem free and reduced admission to the Zoo every year.
- Increased educational opportunities. Schools in the Zoological District will continue to get free field trips to the Zoo, meaning that every child in Jackson and Clay counties can have the opportunity to experience the ocean away from the ocean. In 2017, more than 53,000 students visited the Zoo on free field trips. New aquarium-themed curriculum will also be incorporated into ZooEd, our STEAM-based, standards-aligned curriculum, which is also free to all Jackson and Clay county schools and reaches more than 23,000 students annually.