Toledo Zoo Aquarium Renovation – Update 5: Pacific Rainbow Reef

The upcoming Pacific Rainbow Reef exhibit

The upcoming Pacific Rainbow Reef exhibit

With the Toledo Zoo’s Aquarium currently closed for a $25.5 million renovation (slated for completion in 2015), one common question curious visitors ask is, “What exhibits and animals will the new Aquarium have?”

To help answer this question, the next few installments of this series will examine these new exhibits. Please bear in mind that the planning process is fluid; things can (and likely will) change before the Aquarium’s grand opening. Additionally, the names for the exhibits are only placeholders—the final names may reflect helpful donors or be more descriptive of the exhibit itself.

Exhibit: Tropical Pacific—Rainbow Reef
Water type: Tropical marine
Tank volume: 90,000 gallons

Side-view diagram of the Pacific Reef Exhibit

Side-view diagram of the Pacific Reef Exhibit

This exhibit, at 30 feet long and 16 feet deep, will be the largest in the new Aquarium. It will showcase swarms of colorful tropical Pacific reef fishes, including stingrays and a zebra shark. This exhibit will also feature diver feeding demonstrations, and the divers will have the ability to speak to the Zoo audience through a microphone in their dive mask. A webcam (possibly interactive) will also be installed here. Due to the predatory nature of some of the fish species in the exhibit, the coral decorations will be artificial. Sessile invertebrate enthusiasts needn’t worry, however; we’ll have live corals in two other exhibits. This large exhibit will also provide opportunities to share educational stories that touch upon a wide range of topics, such as colorful fish, diverse shapes, a myriad of adaptations, and human interaction in the aquatic environment.

Top-down “plan view” of the Pacific Reef Exhibit

Top-down “plan view” of the Pacific Reef Exhibit

One exciting aspect of this exhibit for local divers is that we will be asking for volunteers from the local community to become divers for us. Imagine diving on a warm Pacific coral reef in February without ever having to drive outside the city limits! We anticipate a waiting list for divers interested in helping us clean and feed this exhibit.

Artist’s rendition of one side of the Pacific Rainbow Reef exhibit

Artist’s rendition of one side of the Pacific Rainbow Reef exhibit

Pacific Reef exhibit site after the concrete floor was poured

Pacific Reef exhibit site after the concrete floor was poured

Check out the Toledo Zoo Aquarium renovation page for all updates.

Photo Credit: Toledo Zoo

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About Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal is the Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates for the Toledo Zoo. He has written over 150 articles and six books on aquariums since 1981.

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