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kayman

The Alabama Aquarium

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Alabama is the only state in the United States to have 4 distinct ecosystems within its state's borders. I feel that this would be a perfect time to open discussion about the state think about constructing a facility that displays these 4 distant ecosystems.

There has been talk on the Mobile board recently to build it there on the possibly abandoned State Piers. However, there has been talk for nearly a decade of building an a facility such as a state aquarium or so in the Birmingham area. The original idea was to build it in proximity of Alabama Adventures, then Visionland in Bessemer, but those plans were shelved after the park's founder, Larry Langford, became a Jefferson County Commissioner.

So where should it be built?

IMO, I think it should be built in Birmingham since the Cahaba River, which is the world longest, unrestricted, and most ecologically diverse river in its region. We were also the first in the state to think of the idea of creating an official state aquarium.

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I tend to think that aquariums in states along the coast should be close to the coast, so it would seem to make sense to me to build it in Mobile. But I could also see one doing quite well in Birmingham.

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Birmingham's problem might be proximity to Atlanta (largest in US) and Chattanooga (one of most popular, oldest, and successful in the region). It would have to be built to similarly high standards to not be considered a major letdown, because

it would inevitably draw comparisons. Unfortunately, I doubt Birmingham and its 8,753,432 area municipal government entities

would come together enough to do it right. Not doing it all would be better than some half-assed attempt.

Yeah, if Birmingham came up and built something as nice as or even nicer than the ones in Atlanta and Chattanooga,

it could work, but the same could be said anywhere.

Mobile makes a lot of sense, if a suitable site became available (Civic Center site or maybe that housing

project area when you come into downtown on I-165). People already think "water" when they think of Mobile.

There is already the little Estuarium on Dauphin Island, plus the Gulf World (dolphin shows, etc) opening

in Orange Beach next year, but there's really not a large-scale, comprehensive aquarium.

The only one close to Mobile is in New Orleans, but there are millions upon millions of visitors to the FL Panhandle beaches,

Gulf Shores, and Biloxi who could very easily combine trips with a Mobile aquarium (plus the Earnhardt racetrack,

Maritime Museum, and other planned Mobile-area amenities).

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I think the state aquarium should be built in Mobile. Mobile is both a river city and a seaport, with over 300 years of aquatic history. The only problem is that it is near the far end of the state, as is Huntsville. Montgomery would be a good choice because it is a riverfront city and the state capital. Birmingham would also be a good choice because it's the largest metro, and centrally located between Huntsville and Montgomery.

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Either Mobile or Montgomery. But I would probably say the best choice would be Mobile. Put it right there by the new museum and the cruise terminal, it would look great. They could build 2 towers, much like the Tennessee Aquarium, one tower could be fresh water exhibits and the second tower could be salt water exhibits. I think the aquarium is a great idea, everybody else has one, why don't we!

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Why not a statewide system? There could be one in Huntsville or Decatur, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile. All of them could represent aquatic life from their region.

Decatur's or Huntsville's - The Aquarium of the Tennessee Valley (and/or) Tennessee Valley Aquarium - would blend in nicely along Flint Creek or on the north side of the Tennessee River in the city limits. There's that HUGE lot out there where they wanted to build the civic center, and now, no one wants it. It would work great, both 65 and 565 are right next to it. Interchanges could be easily constructed.

A neat exhibit would be something to imitate the flooding of the valley for Wheeler. Other TVA themed exhibits would be cool too.

Birmingham's - The Magic City Aquarium, The Birmingham Aquarium, (and/or) Central Alabama Aquarium - would be very interesting too. The Cahaba River area would be an awesome exhibit. All the native plants and animals would make for a cool educational experience.

Montgomery's - River Region Aquarium, Capital Aquarium, (and/or) Alabama Aquarium - would go nicely along the Alabama, that is if the city is still planning to try to reclaim that land that all the industry is sitting on. It could have exhibits of all the rivers and systems that drain into the Mobile.

Mobile's - Mobile Bay Aquarium, Aquarium of Mobile Bay, Mobile Aquarium, Gulf Coast Aquarium, Aquarium of the Gulf of Mexico, (and/or) Alabama Aquarium - of course would be the largest, along Mobile Bay, and exhibit all the sealife that exists in the estuary. I love the estuarium, and to me it's a great aquarium that should be expanded. So, that would work out wonderfully.

It would be awesome if we could build something to outdo the Georgia Aquarium.

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i think either B-ham or Mobile. But I think that Mobile should get it if it is ever proposed. Mobile is a lot closer to a larger tourist base (Miss gulf coast, AL coastline, and Florida Panhandle) than B-ham and being on the coast has that special coastal character. And the only aquarium close is New Orleans but the visitors in Miss., AL, and FL panhandlemight be more likely to visit Mobile as a day trip than New Orleans. But I think it could work in both cities.....just in B-ham there is a lot of competition for aquariums, but it could still work.

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The chairman of Montgomery's riverfront development foundation said in an interview that an aquarium wasn't under consideration in Montgomery, so I believe we can scratch the capital city off the list.

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I think a statewide aquarium system could potentially be overkill, and lawmakers might not go for it. It would be best just to build one outstanding facility in one city.

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The chairman of Montgomery's riverfront development foundation said in an interview that an aquarium wasn't under consideration in Montgomery, so I believe we can scratch the capital city off the list.

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It's easier to go to Chattanooga and see their Tennessee Valley tanks.

Aquariums are not the flavor of the month at the moment.

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I would rather see a zoo in Huntsville than an aquarium. I would like to see an "Alabama Aquarium" in Montgomery, but more than likely it would be located in Mobile. This state has a lot to offer in terms of aquatic wildlife- from the mountain streams and rivers in the northern part of the state to the Mobile-Tennsaw Delta and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.

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Similarly, some Tuscaloosa-area leaders had looked at the possibility of an aquarium a few years ago,

and decided not to pursue it further. I think the big money aspect of the Atlanta aquarium pretty well scared

off these smaller cities from going that route.

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What kind of problems is the Georgia Aquarium having?? Just curious.

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What kind of problems is the Georgia Aquarium having?? Just curious.

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al_aquarium.jpg

Some Auburn area officials want to bring a 6 million gallon, $120 million Alabama Aquarium to Auburn University as part of a comprehensive public facility for aquatic and environmental education on a 100-acre site at the E.W. Shell Fisheries Center on North College Street. A non-profit, "The Alabama Aquarium", was formed in Birmingham in 2002, and includes a member from Auburn on its board. The executive director of The Alabama Aquarium says that partnering with Auburn University is "intriguing and something we want to pursue."

Opelika-Auburn News

Auburn is too small and too far out of the way for a statewide project like this. If an Alabama Aquarium is built, it should be somewhere along the I-65 corridor. The organization is based in Birmingham -- I wonder why they aren't pitching this to Mayor Langford.

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Some Auburn area officials want to bring a 6 million gallon, $120 million Alabama Aquarium to Auburn University as part of a comprehensive public facility for aquatic and environmental education on a 100-acre site at the E.W. Shell Fisheries Center on North College Street. A non-profit, "The Alabama Aquarium", was formed in Birmingham in 2002, and includes a member from Auburn on its board. The executive director of The Alabama Aquarium says that partnering with Auburn University is "intriguing and something we want to pursue."

Auburn is too small and too far out of the way for a statewide project like this. If an Alabama Aquarium is built, it should be somewhere along the I-65 corridor. The organization is based in Birmingham -- I wonder why they aren't pitching this to Mayor Langford.

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There is nothing wrong with the location, it makes sense, most of the work envolving fish is done at Auburn. The focus is not the state population, if it was then every museum would be in

Birmingham. The Space center would be there, all the Civil Rights stuff, why not move the Battleship Alabama to Birmingham it's too far for North Alabama residents. The size of Auburn has nothing to do with it even though it is the fastest growing region in the state. North Carolina has three state aquariums scattered around the state I think. I just question the justification

of an aquarium period, wherever it is located.

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I still think it's a horrible location. When people are trying to decide which aquarium to visit, they'll look the GA Aquarium or the AL Aquarium. If they're in GA, they probably wouldn't mind traveling to ATL to go to the GA. If they're in AL like in Huntsville, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Decatur, Florence, Gadsden, or Anniston I promise you, they're more likely to go to the GA Aquarium.

Even if it's not about trying to please the state population, Auburn is still a bad location. It's too close to Atlanta to make much of a profit, if at all.

If you're going to use the argument that it would be a good idea to put it in Auburn because a lot of fish work is done there, then I guess we might as well move a few more hospitals to Birmingham. We should throw about 50% of the state's cargo through Mobile, gosh all government might as well pack up for Montgomery, and while we're at it lets just take all the North AL cotton farms and put them in the Black Belt since that's where most of the agriculture is.

I promise that wasn't a mean statement, it's a jovial one. Just because a lot of work is done in a certain region on a certain subject doesn't mean it should have a landmark establishment there. Yes, it would improve the work that they're doing, and maybe make it more famous, but the whole point of having an aquarium at this point is tourism. That's what the leaders are thinking. I think Auburn is just way too close to Atlanta.

But, I think you're right on the money with the justification. I think the Birmingham Zoo needs to be expanded first and get visitor numbers up, then we can see that there is demand for another wildlife type park.

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