Brevard Zoo to build new world-class aquarium

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Brevard Zoo has plans to build a world-class aquarium and conservation campus that will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Port Canaveral every year.

Port commissioners approved the development agreement on Wednesday, but there is still a lot of money that needs to be raised for the project.

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The Brevard Zoo is now planning a three-year fundraising campaign for the new $85 million aquarium.

Photos: Brevard Zoo to develop fundraising campaign to build new, world-class aquarium

“Like Brevard Zoo, it’s actually going to be a covered walkway that’s a loop and then indoor pavilions that are climate controlled,” said Brevard Zoo Executive Director Keith Winsten. “Our plan is to complete the fundraising in the next three years, if not quicker. Then about two years of construction. If we raise it quicker, we’ll build it quicker.”

Winsten said the past year was spent redeveloping design for the aquarium and putting a solid fundraising plan in place.

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But $31 million is already committed to the project that is expected to generate 1,000 jobs and attract half-a-million visitors to the area every year.

“It’s a big project,” said Capt. John Murray, CEO for the Canaveral Port Authority. “It’s a long-term project for both sides, so we had to engage the right counsel to get the right document in place.”

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The Brevard Zoo officials said the project will also fund restoration and research projects across the entire length of the Indian River Lagoon, with $1 of every paid admission going to the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary program.

“Now, we’re on this sprint to raise the balance of the funds we need and turn it into reality,” Winsten said.

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