Mississippi Aquarium cuts ribbon on new indoor exhibit

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Hanging with a sloth? Chilling with an octopus? The Mississippi Aquarium is giving you and your family even more ways to beat the heat this summer.

Thursday morning, the aquarium held a ribbon-cutting for “Changing Tides,” a brand new space inside the aquarium presented by Keesler Federal Credit Union.

The space is home to three new biomes, including 23 habitats with over 120 new species. The addition adds 7,000 square feet of indoor space to the aquarium.

The expansion is the aquarium’s first since it opened back in 2020. Patrick Pearson, Mississippi Aquarium’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, says the addition is an answer to early comments and reviews.

“People said they wanted to see more, so we’re giving them more,” Pearson said. “This is our answer to that request.”

The new biomes include a kelp forest, a rainforest and a coral reef. The rainforest is home to both speedy friends and those who like to take their time- Pelé the Brazilian Armadillo and Tito the sloth.

“By separating it by biomes, we have a cold water, we have a rainforest, and then we have a warm water, where we’ll have lots of tropical fish and tropical animals,” Pearson said. “Here in the coral reef, the star is going to be a giant Pacific octopus, which arrives today right before our ribbon-cutting...”

The ribbon-cutting was held Thursday, August 24 at 11 a.m.

Admission is free August 28th for hospitality workers and again on Labor Day weekend for first responders.

The aquarium is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit their website for tickets.

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Flora Dedeaux

Flora Dedeaux

Flora Dedeaux was born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi. She graduated from Mississippi State in 2022 with a communication degree, concentrating in broadcast and public relations and minoring in marketing.

Harper Robinson

Harper Robinson

Harper Robinson originally hails from the Hoosier State and graduated with her Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. (Chirp, chirp!)