Thousands flock to aquarium grand opening

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DRAPER -- More than 3,000 people went to the grand opening of the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper Tuesday.

The new building features a new shark tank and South American rain forest, but not all the exhibits have opened yet.

"With construction there's always going to be delays and animal safety is on the highest priority. We felt we had enough to offer and hoping that people will understand," said Deana Walz, Director of Animal Husbandry.

The aquarium debated whether to open its doors before finishing all the exhibits.

The management decided to go ahead with it with some apprehension on their part, which is why they gave all guests free passes to come back.

"We loved the old one so we just wanted to come, we've just been waiting and waiting and waiting for it to open," said guest Melba Caldwell.

All the most popular animals are settled into their new home and more are moving in every day.

"Obviously the shark tank was our favorite, the penguins are cool -- we are looking forward to everything getting done. We were told we get to come back free because quite a few exhibits aren't opened yet," said guest R.T. Kendrick.

The living planet aquarium is now the ninth largest aquarium in the country.