Taraporewala aquarium, which is currently being renovated, is expected to open to the public by the end of this August, with a touch pool and fish spa, among other things.
The state government had originally intended to build a fancy oceanarium, but two years ago, it was forced to scrap its plans because of coastal regulations and development control rules.
After this, the fisheries department was entrusted the task of renovating the aquarium at a much smaller scale.
“After the possibility of the fifth-generation aquarium was turned down, we decided to go for a second-generation aquarium,” said Parag Jain Nanotiya, fisheries commissioner, told HT.
A fifth-generation aquarium requires a certain amount of space as it has to accommodate a 360-degree water tunnel.
Its aim is to educate as well as to entertain. What is now being built is a second-generation aquarium, which is smaller and will serve an educational purpose.
The renovated aquarium will allow visitors to handle fish and even swim with them in a huge fish tank.
“It will have an experience centre, touch pool and fish foot spa. People will be able to handle fish to learn more about them, while the foot spa will let them avail of foot treatments,” Nanotiya said.
The swimming tank will be a “one-of-a-kind attraction” as it will be the first in the country, the commissioner said. “But it will take a little more time as the materials required have to be imported. We plan to introduce it by end of September.”
The aquarium will also be illuminated. “We have brainstormed for the external façade, as the illumination added to it would be a landmark,” Nanotiya said.
The fisheries department started the renovation work in March. The project is estimated to cost the state government Rs19.5 crore.
The footfall had seen a sharp decline in the past few years as the aquarium was poorly maintained and the species were not in a good condition. By the time it closed, only 1,500 people were visiting the aquarium every day.
In its new avatar, the aquarium’s visitor footfall is expected to at least double in a month after it reopens. Tickets will cost more – it will be Rs40, Rs30 and Rs20 from the earlier Rs15, Rs10 and Rs5 for adults, children below 16 and students respectively.