Make your reservations for Kansas City Zoo’s new aquarium now

Attraction to open Sept. 1, 2023
Artist rendering of the aquarium at the Kansas City Zoo.
Artist rendering of the aquarium at the Kansas City Zoo.(Kansas City Zoo)
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 10:01 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Years of planning will become reality in less than a month when the Kansas City Zoo’s Sobela Ocean Aquarium opens.

The zoo is now taking reservations for people and families who want to be some of the first to check out the new attraction.

Tickets to the aquarium are included with zoo admission, but an extra reservation ticket for a specific date and time is needed to enter the aquarium -- at least for now. The zoo is using the reservation tickets to help manage the number of people expected to visit the aquarium in the weeks following its opening.

General admission and aquarium tickets start at $9.50 per person for Jackson and Clay County residents. General zoo admission plus aquarium reservations start at $19. Reservations are available through the Kansas City Zoo’s website.

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The aquarium is expected to open Sept. 1. It will feature six zones, 34 exhibits, and will be open year-round. The facility will be a 650,000-gallon aquarium with 8,000 animals telling the story of how ocean currents connect animals across the globe.

The sea life includes otters, a sea turtle, sharks and a giant Pacific octopus.

The aquarium is named after the grandchildren of Barney and Shirley Helzberg, two of the project’s primary benefactors. Sobela is an acronym for their grandkids: Sawyer, Oliver, Benton, Elias, Leo, Amelia and Arthur.

The aquarium is located near Helzberg Penguin Plaza, an short distance from the front gate.

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The total cost of the aquarium project is $77 million, with $45 million coming from the Zoological District and $32 million from private donations, according to the zoo.