A new aquarium in the works for Harrison County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

A new aquarium in the works for Harrison County

By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A new state of the art aquarium is in the works for Harrison County. Right now three cities; D'Iberville, Biloxi and Gulfport are in the running to become the home for the newest interactive aquarium in our state.

This two year old dolphin that was saved from Hurricane Ida will soon have a new place to play when a site is chosen for the aquarium. So how will that site be chosen?

Moby Solangi, Executive Director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, said, "We have appointed a panel that consists of architects, we have environmentalists, engineers they're all independent no dog in the hunt so to speak and they'll give us their opinion and ranking."

Executive Director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Moby Solangi, said the panel is looking for the availability of land, infrastructure and future development plans.

He said they will be able to build the first phase, which will be about 30,000 square feet, because of a $10,000,000.00 federal grant.

"Ultimately we want probably end up 100,000 square foot," said Moby Solangi, Executive Director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.

Solangi said once the first phase is built people will be able to be inside the exhibit touching and feeling, not just watching from the window.

Moby Solangi, Executive Director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, said "Getting a kiss from the sea lion or petting or being in avery with birds and free flying butterflies."

Solangi says he wants to start the architectural planning as soon as a city is chosen so construction can begin before the end of 2010. He says he hopes the panel will have all its information gathered by the end of the week. And that's when a decision should be made about where the aquarium will be located.

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