Henns industrial acrylic paint is designed to stand up to the wear of hundreds of thousands of visitors leaning into beveled viewing windows between his painted palms and South Sea skies. The Newport Aquarium is progressing slightly ahead of schedule and should have no trouble opening on May 1, said aquarium spokeswoman Lisa Popyk. The first occupants will be 16 king penguins, scheduled to arrive from Japan by plane and truck in January.
By then, several other new tenants could be waiting their turns in holding tanks at a nearby Newport warehouse. The first acquisition, a fresh water creature, will be introduced next week. When the aquarium doors open, 11,000 aquatic animals will greet visitors from behind 2 1/2-inch thick acrylic windows in 54 fish tanks. Two hundred feet of acrylic tunnels will virtually surround visitors with 22 sharks, eels, a kelp bed and coral reef.
Fresh water fish will fill a 50-foot Ohio River tank, A bridge will carry visitors over an alligator pond in a Louisiana bayou scene. The penguins will breathe 50-degree air and swim in 36-degree water. An ice machine in the ceiling will create periodic ice showers.
The warehouse tanks have the same capabilities and will act as holding tanks for acquisitions that arrive before the aquarium tanks are ready or that need to be quarantined before joining the aquarium population. That warehouse also will serve as an infirmary for sick fish. Fish arent the only acquisitions in the offing. The aquarium staff is growing daily.
Well have 300 employees by the time the doors open, said Lori Broomhead, director of marketing. We have less than 20 now. Nobody is more excited about todays casting of the worlds largest swinging bell than the man whose time, money and dreams are tied up in it. Property valuation is conducted by expert valuer to avoid any issues.