Make us your home page
Instagram

Aquarium at John's Pass plans November opening

A rendering of Secrets of the Sea at John’s Pass Village. Opening is planned for Nov. 12.

Phillip Gary Design

A rendering of Secrets of the Sea at John’s Pass Village. Opening is planned for Nov. 12.

MADEIRA BEACH — Construction will finally begin in May on the Secrets of the Sea aquarium at John's Pass Village. If its aggressive timetable stays on course, the new and much improved home of the St. Petersburg Pier Aquarium will open Nov. 12.

The facility had hoped to start welcoming an estimated 250,000 annual visitors on Dec. 12 of last year. But financing setbacks delayed the "12-12-12" opening to "11-12-13."

"There will be a yeoman's effort on everyone's part to make sure this happens for us," said Lari Johnson, chairwoman of the Secrets of the Seas project. "Everyone understands the urgency to get the attraction open because it has taken longer than we anticipated to get our financing."

The buildout of the aquarium in existing space at John's Pass Village will cost $4 million.

The Pier Aquarium will close to the public May 31, as will the other remaining businesses at the Pier. Marine life, from tarpon to coral to sea horses, will be stored at tanks in Clearwater that are not open to the public. Since Secrets of the Seas will not be generating income for six months, getting the new facility open before the holidays and the start of the high tourism season is crucial.

"We're all very anxious to get it open but we know it has to be perfect," Johnson said. "We have one opportunity to really, really wow the public. We are on an aggressive schedule but we are not going to reduce the quality."

The 13,500-square-foot facility is going into space that has never been occupied at John's Pass Village, at Gulf Boulevard and 129th Avenue. Belleair-based Biltmore Construction and St. Petersburg's Harvard Jolly architects are working on the interior, which will include 13 aquarium environments and 14 interactive exhibits. Financing comes from a loan with C1 Bank and funds raised in a capital campaign by the aquarium.

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at kssmith@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8785.

Aquarium at John's Pass plans November opening 04/23/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 28

    Events

    Alabama: The country music all-timers hit the road for the Southern Drawl tour with openers, the Charlie Daniels Band. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $26-$86. (813) 301-2500.

    Handout photo of Alabama, performing 5/28/17 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Credit: Alan Messer
  3. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach

    Travel

    GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND

    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  4. Karen Bail, who helped Gibbs kids get to Broadway, retires

    Stage

    ST. PETERSBURG — When neatnicks retire, they leave no trace behind. Their desks are clean, like a runway after the plane has taken off.

    Karen Bail warms up seniors Jonathan O’Brien, left, as Juan Peron and Addam Setzer as Che Guevara before the dress rehearsal of Evita in April.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 27

    Events

    Tampa Bay Margarita Festival: The Barenaked Ladies will headline this festival with opener Cowboy Mouth. Enjoy more than 50 varieties of margarita drinks including a Sriracha strawberry, a bacon rita and even a jalapeno Cabo rita. There's beer and vodka for the non-tequila drinkers. Noon, Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N …

    istockphoto