Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a renowned aquarium in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
Recognized as one of the leading aquariums in the United States, it is run by the Audubon Institute, which also supervises the Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park (in a different part of the city). It is located along the banks of the Mississippi River by the edge of the historic French Quarter off Canal Street, at the upper end of Woldenberg Park. It opened in 1990.
As its name implies, the aquarium specializes in aquatic life of the Americas. The exhibits generally feature particular regions throughout North and South America. With 10,000 animals representing 530 species, noteworthy exhibits include:
- A Caribbean reef exhibit featuring a clear, 30 ft long tunnel surrounded by a 132000 USgal tank of exemplary sea life such as the bonnethead shark and clownfish;
- An Amazon exhibit, encased in a glass cylinder, effectively a humid, climate-controlled greenhouse that is a prominent feature of the riverfont, that includes macaws, piranhas, an anaconda, freshwater stingrays and other specimens from the area basin;
- A Mississippi River gallery, featuring catfish, paddlefish, owls and a leucistic white alligator; and
- A Gulf of Mexico exhibit, featuring a 400000 USgal, 17 ft tall tank of sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays from there.
The aquarium also has an IMAX theater, and exhibits for sea otters and African penguins
In popular culture
Several scenes of Werner Herzog's 2009 film ', starring Nicolas Cage, were filmed inside the aquarium.
Katrina damage and aftermath
In 2005, the facilities were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Though the structure survived the initial hurricane and was on high ground above the subsequent flooding of most of the city, electricity outages continued and the backup power generators were unable to fully operate the sophisticated life support systems needed to keep the animals alive. Aquarium staffers were forced to evacuate the facility only to return four days later to discover that most of the 10,000 fish did not survive.
The aquarium reopened on May 26, 2006. They are currently running an Adopt-an-Animal program to solicit funds for rebuilding. Since Hurricane Katrina, more species have been in the Caribbean and jellyfish exhibits, and there has been a large revamp to the Gulf of Mexico tank simulating ocean life below an oil rig.