After being closed for nearly two and a half years, the newly renovated Toledo Zoo Aquarium reopened to the public today, thanks in large part to the members of the Northwest Ohio Piping Industry.
The $25.5 million renovation helped take the aquarium from a 1930s era design into an artistic and sensually pleasing display of marine life. Hundreds braved the cold Toledo weather as they gathered for the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the aquarium, which has been closed since October 2012.
The newly renovated Aquarium is home to more than 3,000 aquatic animals living in about 178,000 gallons of water, which, according to the zoo’s website, is nearly four times the volume as the previous Aquarium.
Members of the Piping Industry helped install new filtration systems throughout the aquarium. One of the more advanced systems found within the interactive petting tanks requires special filtration systems to handle the body oils, sunscreen, dirt, and other contaminants that will naturally be introduced to the tanks as part of the interactive experience, according to the Toledo Blade.
The Piping Industry helped bring to life a number of new exhibits, including the building’s largest tank and focal point of the entire museum, the Reef. The 90,000-gallon tank features a two-story viewing window for visitors to interact with divers who will feed the fish at scheduled times during the day.
The aquarium’s second largest exhibit – the Gulf of Mexico tank – features sharks, rays and a sea turtle and is designed to provide a conservation education program to help wild turtles. The Deep Sea Tank is home to deep-sea creatures rarely seen in aquariums, like the giant Japanese spider crabs.
Our members also helped with the Kelp Forest tank, which features leopard sharks and bat rays, and the Flooded Forests tank, home of piranhas from South America’s Amazon ecosystem and other exotic wildlife from Asia’s mangrove forests.
Our sportsmen members also enjoyed working on the Lake Erie Islands and Ohio Waterways Tank, which displays the habitats found in our main lake and streams.
According to the Toledo Blade, the zoo relocated about 80 percent of its marine life to other accredited institutions during the renovation, while housing the remaining 20 percent in a temporary aquarium built in the zoo’s warehouse.
Around 80 percent of funding for the aquarium renovation came from proceeds of the 2006 Lucas County tax levy, with the other 20 percent procured through private donations, according to Jeff Sailer, the zoo’s executive director.
The Piping Industry is proud to have equipped the Toledo Zoo Aquarium for the future and to be a part of such an important project for the community’s residents and visitors.
Pictured, left to right: Bill Bailey (Project Manager), Darrell Daniels (Business Manager, UA Local 50), Steve Smith (Project Manager), Mark Pappas (Project Manager), John Nadolny (Field Superintendent)