RIVERHEAD, NY (May 17, 2011) - Construction crews are setting into place stone columns and arches that will frame the 28,000-square-foot addition to Atlantis Marine World Aquarium http://www.atlantismarineworld.com that will open as the brand-new Long Island Exhibition Center and Sea Star Grand Ballroom.
On Saturday, July 1, the Long Island Exhibition Center will open to the public. This highly anticipated addition is part of Atlantis Holdings three-phased $24-million-dollar plan for the reinvention of downtown Riverhead's waterfront, and represents the transition between the second and third phase of the original expansion plans, the grand opening of the Sea Star Grand Ballroom and the adjacent Hyatt Place East End hotel (both scheduled for completion in summer 2011).
The Long Island Exhibition Center's first exhibit - Butterflies! - will showcase thousands of butterflies and birds set in an enchanted garden - a beautiful and colorful display of blooming flowers and trees throughout the year. The exhibit will feature more than 30 species of North American and exotic, tropical free-flying butterflies, 20 different types of birds, and archerfish.
"No matter what age you are, no matter what language you speak, everybody loves butterflies," says Executive Director, Bryan DeLuca. "And even though the exhibit will only be on display for a limited engagement, we encourage visitors to linger as long as they like while they can."
The butterflies on display will come from all around the world and through butterfly distributors in other parts of the country, from Los Angeles, CA, to Kissimmee, FL. The more than 5,000-square-foot exhibit will not only be the largest butterfly habitat in New York State, but has also been designed with a storybook theme like no other in the country. Visitors will wander a loop trail that includes a giant tree house, a pond, and numerous gardens. The message of the exhibit will talk about the life cycle of the butterfly, why pollination is so important, and what we can do to attract butterflies to our own gardens.
The new exhibit is part of a structure that includes a 28,000-square-foot exhibition, banquet, and conference center, and is part of a 97,498-square-foot, $24 million expansion that takes visitors beneath the waves and beyond the ocean.
"So much has happened here in the last decade since we first opened our doors - and tanks - to our public," says DeLuca. "Riverhead is steadily growing into a family-friendly destination where you can experience several attractions, as well as experience its natural beauty along the scenic Peconic River. We truly believe that the Long Island Exhibition Center is sure to be the next 'Must-See Destination' on Long Island."
Construction on the space began in summer 2010 and all components are slated to open to the public in summer 2011.
Long Island Exhibition Center at a Glance:
Site Location: Directly adjacent to the east of the original building (where the Aquarium's City Treasures Gift Shop currently stands)
Space / Size: Two-story Exhibition Center (on first floor) and banquet and conference center (on second floor); 28,207-square-feet
Architect: BBS Architects & Engineers
Groundbreaking: Spring 2010
Grand Opening: July 1, 2011
Hours of Operation: Open Daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm (Closed Christmas Day)
Pricing: Long Island Exhibition Center: $12.50/Adults; $10.50/Children & Seniors. The Center is able to accommodate large groups of children and teachers are encouraged to bring students on school trips.
Gift Shop: Enchanted Gifts will feature fun items, such as garden accents, clothing, hats, toys, and gifts, and for the more serious butterfly shoppers, a real chrysalis enclosed in acrylic. Butterfly plants will also be sold for those who want to attract butterflies to their own gardens.
About Atlantis Marine World Aquarium
Atlantis Marine World (AMW) opened in Riverhead, NY on June 15, 2000, as the first large-scale Aquarium to open in New York State in more than 35 years. Situated on 3.2 acres along the Peconic River, AMW is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily (closed December 25). AMW is also the home of The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, New York's only authorized marine mammal and sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center. Atlantis Marine World was recently ranked by Parents Magazine as one of the "Top Aquariums for Kids." Additional information can be found at www.atlantismarineworld.com