The Aquarium of Niagara revealed its new Shark & Ray Bay exhibit on Thursday.

The interactive touch exhibit features a shallow tropical pool where visitors can interact with sharks, stingrays, and other marine invertebrates. The exhibit also includes art and graphics highlighting each species’ role in a healthy ocean ecosystem and the importance of conserving essential coastal habitats such as mangroves and lagoons.

It's the third major project at the aquarium in three years, including Penguin Coast in 2018 and Aliens of the Sea in 2019. 

Support of the $1.9 million project was provided by the WNY Regional Economic Development Council, presenting sponsor M&T Bank, the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, John R. Oishei Foundation, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, City of Niagara Falls and Niagara Aquarium Foundation Board of Trustees.

“As someone who brought my children here since they were little, it is incredible to witness their excitement about the beauty of nature while exploring the aquatic life that is featured at the Aquarium of Niagara,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “What is even more impressive is the transformation I’ve been able to witness not only in Niagara Falls, but at the Aquarium, welcoming the Humboldt penguin exhibit, jellyfish exhibit and now the Shark and Ray Bay. While we continue to have the world’s most famous attraction in Niagara Falls, New York will continue to invest in the surrounding community so that places like the Aquarium can grow and capitalize on the post-pandemic future.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the aquarium has implemented special policies and procedures to ensure the safety of guests who interact with the new exhibit. To maintain appropriate social distancing, no more than 15 people will be at the touch pool at any given time. Visitors are asked to remain with their parties and experience the touch pool at a safe social distance from other groups. Surfaces around the exhibit will sanitized regularly, and guests are asked to wash their hands both before and after interacting with the exhibit. 

The sharks, sting rays, and marine invertebrates living in the new exhibit join the aquarium’s diverse range of more than 120 species, which includes penguins, marine mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The aquarium annually welcomes more than 305,000 visitors, which is anticipated to increase with the addition of the new exhibit.

Due to the anticipated heightened interest surrounding any new exhibit, visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase general admission tickets online. For more about the Aquarium of Niagara, visit: http://www.aquariumofniagara.org.

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