Andrew Tanielian, NBCDFW
The Dallas World Aquarium lets visitors get close to nature.
As a popular destination for tourists and for locals wanting to know more about life under water, The Dallas World Aquarium is home to animals that live below sea level and also around it.
“This whole place is just very special” says Valentina Cammans
The aquarium is home to animals from five continents, three oceans, and 14 countries.
“I’m just awestruck. I think it’s just beautiful” says Valentina Cammans
Your journey starts at the top of the aquarium in the "Mundo Maya" exhibit where a 40-foot waterfall spills into a 200,000 gallon river that ebbs and flows through the experience.
“When you’re walking through the rain forest, especially, you need to make sure to look all around you because there are birds and things all above your heads” says aquarium Director of Husbandry Paula Carlson.
You’ll find toucans, a spectacled owl, a jaguar, baby penguins, crocodiles and lion monkeys -- just to name a few
The idea for the "Mundo Maya" exhibit came from one of the staff.
“Our director had traveled to the rain forest and was a little disappointed because he expected to see all these really neat animals that he had heard about in the rain forest, but, because it’s so thick, animals tend to hide, he didn’t get a chance to see everything that he wanted to see” says Carlson.
As you make your way downstairs you’ll find fish from South Africa plus two Antillean Manatees.
“And because they can walk up to the viewing panel, it’s almost like they are a part of that experience” adds Carlson.
You’ll find more water exhibits as you continue, and you might find an underwater worker cleaning the glass.
“A diver goes in the water everyday at 12:30 and sort of gets up close and personal with some of the animals. It’s a very popular thing for people to come and see” says Carlson.
It’s not just what’s on the inside. The building itself has history too. The warehouse that’s home to all the wildlife was built in 1924, but didn’t become an aquarium until 1992.” The warehouse sat vacant for decades after the removal of the railroad in the early 1970’s.
Now it is a valued part in Dallas’s concrete jungle that let’s you experience nature in a way that would hard to do in the wild.
“Sometimes it touches me so much, sometimes I’ll be on the verge of tears… it’s wonderful to walk around and listen to what the guests have to say” says Carlson.
Dallas World Aquarium
1801 North Griffin Street
Dallas, TX 75202-1503