Penguins, a party, and giant tunnels: Progress continues on Gulfport aquarium

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Piece by piece, the Mississippi Aquarium is coming together in Gulfport. On Wednesday, acrylic panels for the new facility arrived at the Port of Gulfport all the way from Italy.

The panels, which were shipped from Rome, will be the windows to the aquarium's habitat, providing guests with stunning views of the marine life and their environments. The thick acrylic also includes two tunnels guests can walk through, surrounding them with aquatic creatures.

As construction on the aquarium progresses, officials continue to raise excitement across the Coast about the mulch-million dollar facility.

Aquarium CEO David Kimmel said the next big event for the aquarium will be the Splash Bash fundraiser in September. It's a way to raise money for Mississippi Aquarium and give the public a chance to be involved in supporting the organization.

"We've always talked about from day one the public-private partnership that needs to come together," said Kimmel. "Now we need the public side to really help us with that last bit. This is what we need to close that gap at the end to help us past the start up phase."

The Splash Bash is being held Sept. 21 at the Barksdale Pavilion in Gulfport from 7-11 p.m. The adults-only fundraiser gala will include coastal cuisine, cocktails, and live music from the band Chinatown. Tickets are on sale for the all-inclusive party, which is sponsored by Hancock Whitney Bank.

One exceptionally well-dressed group of guests will make an appearance at the Splash Bash -- penguins! The flightless fowls will visit from the Columbus Zoo Ambassador Animal Program.

All proceeds from the event will go towards the Mississippi Aquarium, helping care for the marine life inside the aquatic education and research facility, as well as assisting in making the aquarium a premier attraction on the Coast.

For more information to the Splash Bash or to buy tickets, click HERE.

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