Written by Kim Lunman
posted on June 13, 2016 12:50
Brockville’s newest tourism attraction - The Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing has officially opened its doors on the shores of the ‘City of the 1000 Islands’ to positive reviews and thousands of visitors. Count me among them.
The 25.5-million discovery centre’s mission is to inspire curiosity about the 1000 Islands - and it is doing just that while appealing to youths and adults alike. During a recent tour, after its initial opening this spring, it was wonderful to see so many children, from toddlers to teenagers, so engaged in the interactive exhibits. The Aquatarium had its Grand Opening last week.
The 27,000 square-foot facility casts a spotlight on the wonders of the 1000 Islands on both sides of the border of the St. Lawrence River. It features exhibits including the ropes course to experience climbing through the rigging of a tall ship, a boat simulator to feel the thrill of driving a motor boat on the River, and a replica of Singer Castle’s mysterious library on Dark Island complete with hidden passageway. It also features a model of Round Island's Frontenac Post Office, a 1000 Islands boathouse and skiff house, and shipwrecks including the “Sir Robert Peel, HMS Ontario” and the “SS Kingston” steam ship. From salt water touch tanks to pirate’s ‘sunken’ treasure chests, dive tanks and the popular power of water exhibit, the 27,000 plus foot facility.
The playful live otters meet squeals of delight and giggles from children as the animals swim and tumble with each other in their habitat exhibit. Displays include the Aquaria, an underwater observation bubble to experience what it’s like to explore an underwater shipwreck, like the “Keystorm,” a Wind Wall to sail miniature sailboats, and a recreated tour through the 1000 Islands aboard a replica of the “Magedoma,” a steam yacht once owned by Brockville millionaire, Senator George T. Fulford. The Lighthouse Theatre explores the 1000 Islands with video footage showcasing the region’s natural beauty, cottage country and wildlife.
Tall Ships Landing Developer Simon Fuller, the visionary behind this project, the City of Brockville, the Ontario and federal governments, the steering committee, the Aquatarium’s enthusiastic team and the generous donors who made this new tourism attraction a reality on Brockville’s waterfront,deserve to be applauded for their efforts in bringing the Aquatarium to life. It has changed the face of my hometown - ‘The City of the 1000 Islands’ - for the better and will be appreciated for generations to come.
From the moment you enter the Aquatarium’s elevator, you know you are in for an extraordinary 1000 Islands adventure, an indoor voyage you won’t soon forget. The video on the elevator’s roof simulates as if you are rising from underneath the River’s surface only to splash above its surfaces as the doors open to the facility. Kids and big kids alike, will want to return to learn more about the many wonders of a very special place in the world: The 1000 Islands.
By Kim Lunman
Kim Lunman is the owner/publisher of Island Life Magazine www.islandlifemag.ca. Her company, Thousand Islands Ink, is based in Brockville. Lunman is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in the Boat U.S. Magazine, Lakeland Boating, Reader's Digest, Globe and Mail and The National Post.
To see all of Kim Lunman’s TI Life articles click here, and to read a more complete biography see our About page.