Why Build an Aquarium in Fresno?

Arthur Dyson's design for the Fresno Aquarium (Phase One)

  • Fresno has a Great and Unique Water Story to Tell

Our region's rich fossil record tells us that Fresno and much of what is now the central and southern San Joaquin Valley was once a great inland sea with two connections to the Pacific Ocean extending to Santa Cruz in the north and to Santa Barbara in the south. We are planning to exhibit modern descendants of many of the sub-tropical marine species that once lived here. Fortunately, many inland Aquariums have developed methods to synthetically create seawater so the Fresno Aquarium's distance from the ocean does not present an obstacle for the project.

But beyond our historic connection to the saltwater of the ocean, Fresno today is at the center of numerous important issues regarding freshwater as well. In fact, water remains central to who we are as Fresnans. Located along the banks of California's second-longest river, the San Joaquin, which is fed by the mighty Sierra Nevada mountain range just to the east, the Fresno Aquarium is ideally situated to inspire visitors about why it is so critical to conserve and protect our region's water for people, agriculture and the environment.

  • Fresno is a Favorite Spot for Millions of Visitors
    1. Fresno is a stopping point for many people from all over the world on their way to and from Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks as well as a regional destination for visitors from surrounding communities. Students attending Fresno State, their families, friends and alumni in addition to people attending regional college and professional sporting events make up large segments of visitors to our area.
  • Better Jobs and Improved Quality-of-Life for Fresno
      As more and more national employers consider Fresno as a location for their operations, it is imperative that we create new, high-quality experiences like an Aquarium to attract and retain a quality workforce.
  • Aquariums are Successful and Fresno's will be too
    • According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), more than 195 million visitors visit AZA-accreditied Zoos and Aquariums each year. Many millions of people enjoy visiting Aquariums when they are vacationing or wanting to spend engaging and fun quality time with family and friends.

So, to recap...

What the Fresno Aquarium means to California's San Joaquin Valley:

  • Major Regional Tourism Destination
  • Educational Resource for our Children
  • Employment Opportunities for our Valley
  • Beautification of the Highway 99 Corridor
  • Amenity to Attract & Retain a Quality Workforce
  • Exciting Venue for Business
  • Model for Alternative Energy
  • Entertainment & Recreational Center

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