Mote raises $28 million for new aquarium 

Mote Marine Laboratory recently announced it has secured $28 million in private donations and corporate sponsorships to build a multi-level, state-of-the-art aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park. The announcement was made less than a week after the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved the terms of the project agreement. The total projected price tag for the new aquarium is $130 million.

The project is being financed by a fundraising effort launched in February called Oceans for All: Improving Access to Marine Science & Technology. Mote has also requested a $20 million financial commitment from the tourism development tax.

The proposed aquarium will be built on 12 acres just south of University Parkway. Plans include a nature trail, water play areas and ocean-themed light shows swimming across the building’s exterior at night. More than double the size of its current location on City Island, the new aquarium will feature 110,000 square feet of space and 1 million gallons of exhibit water.

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