The centerpiece of the aquarium complex is a 145-foot-high turquoise glass drum with a diagonally cut roofline, which is set amid lower wings faced with white and pastel-colored tiles. Around the Aquarium are brick-paved plazas that extend to the river and to Woldenberg Riverfront Park (OR8). In the Aquarium’s dimly lit interior, visitors proceed past the exhibits, the most engaging of which is a clear acrylic barrel-vaulted tunnel that surrounds the observer with 132,000 gallons of water inhabited by fish. The glass drum houses a tropical rainforest. A second-phase expansion included an IMAX film theater and exhibition gallery. The Aquarium’s location was controversial. Critics rightly saw that by attracting more tourists to an already overcrowded Vieux Carré, the Aquarium would dilute the quarter’s residential and business character and encourage the tendency to view it as an amusement park. It is unfortunate that the developers succeeded in locating the Aquarium on the edge of the Vieux Carré, a part of downtown that does not need additional tourist venues, rather than in an area that would have benefited from the revitalization this popular attraction could create.
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Aquarium of the Americas
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