The Children’s Aquarium in Fair Park is pulling the plug. It first opened in 1936.
After 80 years, the Children’s Aquarium in Fair Park — the oldest aquarium in Texas history — will close its doors to the public for financial reasons not entirely caused by the pandemic.
The Children’s Aquarium opened in 1936 under the name “Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park”. For the past several years, the aquarium has cited revenue losses between $150,000 – $300,000 each year. Given this steady loss, the city transferred operations to the Dallas Zoo Management Inc. in 2009., wherein the city would underwrite its losses.
In March of this year, the aquarium closed its doors to the public among other businesses. Since then, their losses have nearly doubled at up to $600,000. With the Dallas Zoo itself facing a financial strain under the present circumstances, it was forced to pull the plug on the aquarium.
“The reality is that the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park has never been a profitable operation, even when the city was running it,” president and CEO of the Dallas Zoo, Gregg Hudson, told the Dallas Observer. “The challenges in sustaining a positive financial situation for the aquarium predated the pandemic.”
In August, the Dallas Zoo stated its intention to cut payment of senior employees by 15 percent, and furlough a quarter of them, nearly 100.
A GoFundMe page and petition on change.org have been organized in an effort to salvage the aquarium. At the time of this article, the GoFundMe has raised only $710 of its $600,000 goals, while the petition needs about 700 more signatures.