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Loveland Living Planet Aquarium facts for kids

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Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium logo.png
Date opened February 28, 1999
Location Draper, Utah, United States
Coordinates 40°33′36″N 111°52′17″W / 40.5599°N 111.8714°W / 40.5599; -111.8714Coordinates: 40°33′36″N 111°52′17″W / 40.5599°N 111.8714°W / 40.5599; -111.8714
Number of animals 2,484
Number of species 450+
Volume of largest tank 300,000 US gallons (1,100,000 L)
Total volume of tanks 600,000 US gallons (2,271,000 L)
Annual visitors 1 million +
Memberships 30,000
Major exhibits 74

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium' is located in Draper, Utah, United States. It currently houses 4,500 animals representing 550 species. The public aquarium currently consists of five main exhibits.


The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium was founded in 1997 by Brent Andersen, a Utah native and marine biology graduate from the University of California Santa Barbara. It is a regional attraction with over 850,000 annual visitors. The initial plan was to build a 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) aquarium that showed ecosystems from around the world. Site locations for the aquarium were considered in Salt Lake County and Utah County, and feasibility studies indicated downtown Salt Lake City would be the best location. The first education component was launched in February 1999, when the Aquavan was outfitted with educational portable marine exhibits and began visiting Utah schools.

In 2004, in order to garner support for the full-size aquarium, the young organization opened a 10,000 sq ft exhibit at the Gateway Mall in downtown Salt Lake offering an exclusive experience of marine and freshwater life that was not then available in Utah's arid climate. The Living Planet Aquarium Preview Exhibit featured freshwater fish, sharks, stingrays, eels, a coral reef, a giant octopus, a small theater, and other interactive exhibits. Attendance reached over 150,000 visitors per year the first two years and the small space was quickly outgrown. The Aquarium relocated in June 2006 to a much larger 43,000 square feet (4,000 m2) space in Sandy, Utah. Attendance reached 460,000 visitors per year. The long range plan to eventually construct a campus that would house an Aquarium and a Science Learning Center continued to get support from the community over the next 4 years and in 2010 several prominent members of the business community joined to lead the Board of Trustees including Ken Murdock, Jim Loveland, Tim Cosgrove, Jeff Flamm, Rick White, Ron Nielsen, Michele Hilton and Paul Hutchinson. . The Loveland Family Foundation had been a long time donor, and in 2011 presented a lead gift that allowed the organization to accelerate fundraising, purchase 17 acres of land and raise $27 million to build the Aquarium's permanent home in Draper, Utah.. The 136,000 square feet (12,600 m2) Loveland Living Planet Aquarium opened to the public on March 24, 2014 and saw over 1.1 million visitors the first year of operation. The Aquarium is a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization.


Ocean Explorer

Ocean Explorer features saltwater species from all over the world including sea jellies, eels, seahorses and seven species of sharks. Shark species include brown-banded bamboo sharks, nurse sharks, sandbar sharks, blacktip reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, and zebra sharks. One of the most popular features is the 40-foot shark tunnel. Guests can view the sharks, sea turtles and sting rays swimming just inches away! The shark tunnel weighs 26,000 pounds and was lifted through the roof of the aquarium with a crane. The tunnel is made from 3.5 inch thick acrylic.

Journey to South America

Journey to South America takes you through the rain forests of South America, where you will encounter a 14-foot anaconda, piranha, caiman, desert insects, tree boas, electric eels, tree frogs and Amazon giants. The exhibit also educates guests about the biodiversity of rain forest ecosystems, the benefits rain forests provide us and how we all can help protect these amazing habitats!

Discover Utah

Discover Utah houses some of Utah's threatened and endangered species such as June suckers and least chub. The largest exhibit in this gallery features three male North American river otters which will serve to educate visitors about river otters, otter reintroduction efforts, and release locations in Utah. Families can learn all about the importance of preserving and protecting Utah's waterways as they explore and experience this exhibit.

Antarctic Adventure

Antarctic Adventure immerses guests in a Falkland Islands research station where they will meet gentoo penguins.

Expedition: Asia

Expedition: Asia opened on June 15, 2016. The traveling exhibit features three male Asian small-clawed otters, three Asian arowana, and many different species of Asian birds, fish, and reptiles. The main feature of Expedition: Asia are the aquarium's two clouded leopards, Koshi and Rhu.

New Expansion

A new expansion was added to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. The large, alien-like structure was once used in U2's stage for their 360° World Tour. Now, visitors will have the opportunity to experience more sights and sounds in the plaza.

Community outreach

The aquarium's education department currently operates two outreach programs: the Utah Waters Van and the Rain forest Van. The outreach programs visit over 450 elementary schools statewide each year, reaching nearly 80,000 students. Field trip programs for pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade and a teacher professional development program with resources for fourth grade teachers are offered.

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