NADIM AL-HAMID | Arab News Staff
Published — Tuesday 22 January 2013
Last update 22 January 2013 4:40 pm
JEDDAH: The long-awaited Jeddah corniche aquarium finally opened its doors to the public yesterday with Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal handling the formalities. The project, developed by Fakieh Tourism Group, cost SR 250 million and has been under construction for six years.
Abdurrahman Fakieh, founder and chairman of the Fakieh Group, said the aquarium is only one part of a bigger dream that encompasses the transformation of Jeddah into a city full of educational entertainment possibilities. It could be thought of as serendipitous that the project was finally complete and opened just a month after north corniche was reopened to the public.
The aquarium as it now stands is only half of what was originally envisioned. According to Fakieh, a 100 meter tower dedicated to the study of outer space was originally planned as part of the project. Neighborhood opposition scuttled its inclusion in the aquarium project.
A source involved in the project told Arab News that construction work on the aquarium was stopped several times because of complaints from residents of the area, specifically about the tower. They claimed that the tower could potentially prove to be a threat to their privacy, allowing visitors to see onto their property.
The aquarium is home to more than 7,000 marine animals comprising 200 species in 155 tanks. It has a shark section, a dolphin show that can accommodate 400 visitors, sea lions, reef tanks, mangroves and interactive halls, in addition to laboratories for research and study.