GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s been a rough start for the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport. The Aquarium opened in August in the middle of the pandemic and that has kept crowds small.
Attendance at the Mississippi Aquarium have been on the rise since March where they set a single-day record of 2,800 guests. That well exceeds the daily attendance the park needs to break even, and this weekend could top those numbers.
“We’re expecting some pretty high attendance records and we’re ready for it,” said Lauren Fuller, Mississippi Aquarium education program analyst. “We’re very excited for everyone who is coming in for Easter and wants something to do with the family.”
Families were streaming into the aquarium on Friday in the kind of numbers hoped for when the facility was conceived in 2015. There are plenty of animals inside to make everybody happy.
“Alligators, fishes, dolphins, turtles, said members of the Stamatovich family of Ashville, N.C., who stopped at the aquarium on their way to New Orleans.
Louisiana resident Savannah Dennis said she loved it.
This weekend, the aquarium is staying open until 6 p.m. to take advantage of the perfect weather and accommodate the crowds.
“We also have additional activities throughout the day,” Fuller said. “We have added some animal chats about our animals and also educational activities in the park as well.”
The aquarium is still limiting attendance with time-stamped tickets, but there has been enough capacity to handle the crowds that are eager to get out, after being shut in by the pandemic.
“It feels great to be able to actually breathe,” said Dennis.
“It’s amazing to be out,” said Ryann Stamatovich. “And it’s nice to see the majority of people wearing masks and still taking precautions and stuff, that’s been great.”