Can RiverQuarium sustain big splash? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Can RiverQuarium sustain big splash?

December 10, 2004

Albany-- More than 40,000 people have visited the Flint Riverquarium since it opened in September. That's more than expected. But the success of the Flint Riverquarium depends on whether people make repeat visits.

"It grows about a foot a year...." says the narrator. Westover High School students get a rare chance to pet an alligator during a field trip to the Flint Riverquarium. "The Riverquarium is very nice," says Visitor Antorica Davis.

Even these older students were impressed by the exhibits. "The Blue Hole impressed me the most. It has a lot of turtles, fish in their own aquarium," Davis said.

"As we get close to the holidays, a lot of schools are doing major field tripping," said Director Doug Noble.

And field trips have brought nearly 5,000 students to the aquarium in the last four months. Executive Director Doug Noble says visitors are repeating the same compliment. "I can't believe there's something like this in Albany, Georgia."

More than 40,000 people have toured the Riverquarium since it open Labor Day weekend.

And season ticket sales have already surpassed expectations for the year. "We thought we would have sold 1,300 memberships for the entire year, and we're right now at 1,750 membership sold."

Memberships are the key to the RiverQuarium's long term success since they mean visitors plan to come back.

Noble promises every trip will be unique. "We realize that we've got to keep changing and doing different things. We're about to start our new dive shows, where the divers actually talk to the audience with there full face masks, microphones, and speakers."

Noble hopes new attractions combined with always luring animals will keep visitors coming back for more. The Riverquarium predicts 155,000 people will visit by June.

Starting Saturday, bugs will swarm the visitors at the Flint Riverquarium. The first 3-D movie called "Bugs" begins this weekend at the Imagination Theater.

It features more than 40 insects of the tropical rainforest. "The thrill in the movie is to see the praying mantis on a thirty foot high movie scene, that's forty feet wide. You're looking at it in 3-D, so it pounce and grabs its victims," said Doug Noble.

The movie will run periodically for a year.

posted at 4:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com