New Orleans, LA

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas to close for 6 months for renovations

Tina Howell

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans is getting a facelift. On Monday, the aquarium will close for about six months as part of an ongoing $41 million dollar renovation. Audubon's plan is for the aquarium to reopen next summer as a new attraction that will combine the aquarium with the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, which has been closed since last year.
Audubon Aquarium of the AmericasPhoto byAudubon Nature Institute

This is the biggest renovation of the aquarium since it opened back in 1990. According to Audubon officials, the renovation will add 17,000 feet of exhibit space inside the existing walls of the aquarium as well as an additional 2,500 square feet of breezeway space that will be enclosed. The Entergy giant screen theater is being removed to make room for the insectarium exhibits. The first floor will be a special event space and the second floor will be used to house the insectarium galleries, including the butterfly pavilion. Plans also call for the new butterfly exhibit to have lower ceilings than the previous space so visitors will be able to get a better view.

As for the aquarium, several exhibits are getting upgrades, including the Mississippi River Gallery, Amazon Rainforest Gallery and the Top of the Gulf Experience. According to Melissa Lee, a spokesperson for the Audubon Nature Institute, Parakeet Pointe, the outdoor area where visitors could feed parakeets, will not return and the birds have already been moved to other facilities.
Audubon Aquarium of the AmericasPhoto byExpedia

The target re-opening date for the aquarium has not been announced yet, but it is expected to be closed for at least six months. Prior to the pandemic, the aquarium averaged around 700,000 visitors annually and the insectarium averaged around 200,000 visitors. The new name for the combined attraction will be the Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium and they will be offering a 15% discount off memberships for new and returning members.

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