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Cairns Aquarium development set to finally commence

Cairns Aquarium development set to finally commence
August 6, 2015

With the appointment of a main contractor to be announced later this month, construction of the much anticipated Cairns Aquarium is set to begin.

While work on the site of the $50 million attraction began two years ago, a series of setback related to parking issues and a colony of flying foxes on site have delayed the development.

Originally planned to open in July next year, with a detailed design and engineering phase finally completed, the aquarium and research centre gained planning and building approvals from the Cairns City Council in February.

Located in the centre of Cairns, the 7,500 metre² facility will be located in a two storey building designed by Peddle Thorp Architects and Ellik & Partners Architects.

Designed by Peddle Thorp Architects in association with Architects Ellick and Partners, the 10,000 metre² development will be home to more than 5,000 living creatures indigenous to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and surrounding Wet Tropics Rainforests.

Peddle Thorp’s design is made up of a series of ‘tectonic plates’, symbolising the movement of the earth over the centuries and subsequent creation of the Great Barrier Reef and far north of Australia’s tree-covered mountains.

When open, visitors will enter through blue glass atrium angled onto the street, while strategically-placed windows offer passers-by a glimpse into the aquarium.

Among the planned exhibitions are a two million litre Oceanarium, which will be home to Australia’s only school of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Meanwhile, ‘River Monsters’ will be an exhibit housing the freshwater Sawfish and will also be part of a dedicated research program to breed and repopulate the highly endangered species.

Other planned exhibits include exhibitions on reptiles and amphibians, insect and arachnid giants, life in the mangroves, the coral atoll, the dangers of the reef and a guided tour of the life support systems used to power the aquarium. A restaurant serving local produce and indigenous cuisine is also on the menu, complementing the first floor Quay Café.

Another much delayed Cairns attraction, the Adventure Waters waterpark, has also got underway in recent weeks.




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