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Water-Related News

Mote Marine’s new laboratory will feature the Gulf of Mexico—but miles from saltwater

Two massive windows that will allow visitors to see an under-the-water oceanscape hung high in the air above the 400,000-gallon tank where sea creatures will swim miles from any ocean.

The juxtapositions are two of many at Mote Marine Laboratory’s new $130 million science and education aquarium being built at Nathan Benderson Park along Interstate 75 in Sarasota County.

When complete at the end of next year, the aquarium will be a three-story testament to creative design and engineering for hands-on learning by school children throughout the region as well as visitors from afar.

In children’s lingo, this place is gonna’ be cool!

The building will be part of a 12-acre facility encompassing both land and water, made for children and adults, and considered a milestone between the old and the new at Mote.

An artist's rendering of the view through one of the giant acrylic panels installed at Mote Marine Laboratory's new aquarium

A normal window bound for a house might weigh 20 pounds. The larger of the two aquarium-wall-sized, curving pieces of carefully molded acrylic, weighs 27,900 pounds and measures 26 feet long, 17 feet high, and 11 inches thick. The other window weighs about 5,000 pounds less and is slightly smaller.