© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts/Culture

Aquarium reopening goes swimmingly after 100-day shutdown

20200705_151647.jpg
Mike Desmond
/
WBFO News

Tourist attractions are now opening, after closing for 100 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Aquarium of Niagara opened on Saturday and welcomed 1,300 visitors. Sunday, there was a steady stream of locals and tourists moving through the facility and watching the cavorting sea lions and the swimming penguins and the other exhibits in the long-time tourist attractions.

aquarium.JPG
Credit Aquarium of Niagara
/

Executive Director Gary Siddall said Niagara County Cultural attractions are working together.

"We’re seeing a reduction in the tourist numbers, but we’ve tried to look at this somewhat optimistically because we are seeing folks changing their mindset," Siddall said. "They had their summer vacations planned and oftentimes, those were out of state or even out of country. So we’re encouraging folks, like all of our other Niagara County tourism partners, to consider revisiting their own backyard. Coming out to the Aquarium, visiting Fort Niagara. There’s lots of great things here in Niagara County."

20200705_152334.jpg
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
/
WBFO News

Siddall said the long shutdown has been hard on the aquarium, with an annual food bill of $2 million and no visitor revenue coming in from more than three months. That total raised slightly by the herd of baby penguins who arrived during the shutdown.

Siddall said the return of faces on the other side of the glass may have surprised some Aquarium residents.
 
"Their initial reaction was surprise. It’s been a while since they had seen them," he said. "But when we started welcoming the larger groups again, their reaction was certainly was a positive one. They didn’t show any signs of anything except a forward-looking sense for their environment."

Related Content