An aquarium may be coming to Fresno in the next year of two.
The nonprofit 501(c)(3) Aquarius Aquarium Institute of Fresno was founded in 2000 with the goal “to foster respect, understanding and conservation of the world’s aquatic ecosystems through educational programs, interpretive exhibits, scientific research and aquarium propagation of aquatic species.”
Since then, they have established environmental teaching programs utilizing aquariums to help bring education to students and citizens of the central San Joaquin Valley. But their big dream since early on was to build an aquarium in Fresno, with an even bigger dream of doing it debt free.
In 2006, the organization received a generous donation of 10-acres of land on the west side of 99, South of the San Joaquin River and North of Herndon. The property was formerly a sand and gravel mining operation and asphalt plant. They have cleared the property to prepare it for building.
In 2009, the Fresno City Council voted to include the Aquarium property in The City’s 2025 General Plan. The City of Fresno received unanimous approval from the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) on April 15, 2009 to bring the project site into its adopted Sphere of Influence. This approval was required in order to extend the City water and sewer lines to the Aquarium.
The Aquarius Aquarium Institute recently announced their plans for a invitation-only ground breaking ceremony on May 25, 2016. Shortly after the ground breaking, they will begin to pour concrete. They state that while they are moving forward with building, they are still in need of a lot of donations in order to complete the project. $461,800 is still needed to complete the first building.
One of their Fundraisers is called “From the Ground Up,” a campaign that sells concrete blocks that will be used for the Building’s infrastructure. If you would like to purchase a block to help build the aquarium or to donate as little as $5.00, visit their website.