Kansas City Zoo constructs a world-class aquarium

A rendering of the entrance to the new Kansas City Zoo aquarium.

A look at the entrance » Rendering via @kansascityzoo

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It’s o-fish-al. Thanks to the Kansas City Zoo, the metro is about to make waves. The zoo celebrated the start of construction on a world-class aquarium Mon., Oct. 25 — the single largest project in the zoo’s 112-year history.

Dive into the details

🗓️ Aquarium will open mid-2023
💰 $75 million
📍 60,000 sqft building between Helzberg Penguin Plaza + Elephant Expedition
🌊 600,000 gallons of water
🐙 Feature thousands of species, including octopuses, sharks, sea turtles + rescued otters
🌎 34 habitats tell the story of how ocean currents connect animals across the globe

A decade of development

2010: $10 million polar bear exhibit
2014: $15 million Helzberg Penguin Plaza
2015: $6 million Orangutan Canopy
2018: $3.5 million Stingray Bay exhibit

Rendering of a glass ceiling fish exhibit.

The aquarium is divided into 6 zones | Rendering via @kansascityzoo

How to visit

Admission to the aquarium will be included as part of a visitor’s regular zoo ticket, according to the zoo’s website. Residents of Jackson and Clay counties will continue to receive 50% off their ticket price, as well as opportunities for 4 free visits a year.


Zoo officials estimate an attendance increase of ~300,000 people annually. A third party feasibility study conducted for the aquarium predicts $14 million in economic return annually, bringing the Zoo’s economic benefit to $43.8 million each year.