South KC Perspective
New Zoo Aquarium?
By John Sharp
The possibility of building a world class aquarium at the Kansas City Zoo is resurfacing again.
I recently answered a poll on my home phone asking if I would support building such an aquarium and if I would support the city contributing $7 million for its construction which would be a very small portion of its overall cost.
I wasn’t sure who initiated the poll since it also asked my preference for mayor, but a reliable source has since confirmed the Zoo was responsible and roughly 70 percent of respondents favored the proposal. The source said the vast majority of the money for the project would come from private donations and the one-eighth cent zoo sales tax in Jackson and Clay Counties.
Building a world class aquarium in Kansas City at different locations has been discussed on and off for decades. The last serious public discussions took place in 2016 when proponents hoped it could be part of the city bond package that was approved in April 2017.
Large aquariums such as the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, the Downtown Aquarium in Denver and the Suzanne & Walter Scott Aquarium in the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in Omaha are major tourist draws, and a new aquarium is being built in Union Station in St. Louis that is expected to open next year.
The Kansas City Zoo recently opened Stingray Bay, an extremely popular 20,000 gallon touch tank that holds 28 of two different species of stingrays and 12 white spotted bamboo sharks known as “cat sharks”, the smallest species of shark.