Cleveland, OH, USA (January 19, 2012) — The grand-opening ceremony for the Greater Cleveland Aquarium took place today in the FirstEnergy Powerhouse at the Nautica Entertainment Complex to officially open the new world-class aquarium. The festivities included Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Council President Martin Sweeney, Councilman Joe Cimperman, and private partners of the project joining together to release dozens of balloons from a 200-gallon container, creating a water-like cascade above the entranceway to symbolize the “Just Add Water” theme of the aquarium.
Partners in the Greater Cleveland Aquarium include Jacobs Entertainment, Inc., owner/developer of the Nautica Entertainment Complex, and Marinescape NZ Limited, the world’s leading developer of walk-through aquariums. The aquarium is also supported by FirstEnergy Corp. and AMPCO, the parking lot operator for the Nautica Entertainment Complex, both contributing funding to the project.
The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is offering preview days for annual pass holders on January 19th and 20th, and will open to the public beginning January 21st. Features include 10 aquarium exhibition areas with 35 tanks integrated into the historic FirstEnergy Powerhouse that create an exciting underwater environment with special emphasis on the building’s unique architectural elements. Visitors will experience Marinescape’s SeaTube®, a world-class attraction that allows people to walk through a 500,000 gallon tank offering panoramic views of marine life, including 15 sharks of various species, some up to 7 feet long.
Exhibition areas are identified by themes, including Everglades, Florida Keys, and Ohio Lakes and Rivers. A “Touch Tank” exhibit actually allows visitors to lean in and touch marine life including rays, baby sharks and starfish.
The Greater Cleveland Aquarium utilizes Windows on the River’s banquet facilities and Jacobs Pavilion for aquarium-related special events. Annually, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is expected to attract 400-500,000 visitors to downtown Cleveland, generate $9.6 to $27.2 million of local economic impact and create 50 full and part-time jobs with a payroll of $1.6 million.
“The Greater Cleveland Aquarium adds a new dimension to tourism in Cleveland and continues the wave of new development on both sides of the river,” said Jeffrey P. Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs Investments, Inc.
“The aquarium is one of the many new attractions that will help reinforce downtown Cleveland as a destination for residents, international visitors and businesses,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Cleveland has tremendous assets to build off of such as our waterfront, and projects such as this help to transform our city into an international destination,” added Mayor Jackson.
“We’re proud to play a role in this exciting project, which will continue to preserve the value of Cleveland’s historic Powerhouse while fostering economic development in the region,” said Charles E. Jones, President of FirstEnergy Utilities. The FirstEnergy Powerhouse originally served to generate electricity for Cleveland’s streetcar system back in the late 19th century.
Marinescape has developed 23 major walk-through aquariums throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Russia over the past 26 years. The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is Marinescape’s first aquarium development in the United States and builds on its successes with new, cutting-edge technologies. Marinescape created a winning formula that helped transform aquariums into dynamic visitor attractions with the SeaTube® and its “Three E’s” philosophy. Marinescape aquariums have successfully used this “Environmental Education through Entertainment” formula to provide environmental education to over 150 million aquarium visitors worldwide.
“The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is our first aquarium in North America and we have made it a special one,” said Ian Mellsop, Managing Director of Marinescape. “Our designers worked overtime to develop some very creative ideas in this extraordinary building,” he added.
The Greater Cleveland Aquarium has classrooms and a teaching staff that will offer lessons developed in conjunction with local boards of education. The staff is expected to collaborate with local schools and universities on research projects and develop local community-based ecological and educational outreach programs.
For further information, visit www.GreaterClevelandAquarium.com.
ABOUT JACOBS ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
Jacobs Entertainment, Inc. is the owner/developer of the Nautica Entertainment Complex which includes the FirstEnergy Powerhouse, the home of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. The Nautica Entertainment Complex attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually to its many entertainment venues, including the Nautica Charity Poker Festivals, which generate more than $2 million annually on behalf of Northeast Ohio charities. Jacobs Entertainment is a gaming and entertainment development company. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jacobs Investments, Inc., the investment vehicle of the Jeffrey P. Jacobs family.