According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, Blue Zoo will open a location in the Mall of Louisiana next spring, in either April or May. The attraction will cover about 16,000 square feet on the first floor of the mall, near Dillard's. The Mall of Louisiana hopes that the aquarium will bring potential shoppers to the mall at a time when traditional retailers are struggling with competition from online outlets, especially with the coronavirus.
Other shopping malls owned by Brookfield Properties have also opened similar-sized Blue Zoo aquariums.
The aquarium lets children and adults touch and feed stingrays, birds, and lizards. Guests can also see unique aquatic creatures, such as sharks, clownfish, seahorses, jellyfish, octopus, and starfish. According to the founder and CEO of Blue Zoo, Wes Haws, "The company opens their aquariums in malls because the industry is going through a transition, away from strictly being a retail hub. People are looking for experiences instead of buying things." Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the aquarium was on track to get 180,000 paid visitors during its first year.
The Blue Zoo is more than an aquarium. Their mission is to educate and inspire in a fun, hands-on environment. There are water play tables, predators, a saltwater center, interactive play, and even a pirate ship. When recovering from a freak accident many years ago, Wes Haws spent his time learning about sea life and therefore acquiring his love for sea creatures and their environment. Wes wants to pass his appreciation for aquatic life on to others, as well as inspire and educate the future generations about the importance of marine conservation.
The Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rogue is excited to come together as a community again after the coronavirus pandemic. The mall is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, from noon - 6 p.m. To ensure the safety of all guests, the mall will have hand-sanitizing stations, touch-free interactions, frequent cleanings, and a new filtered air system that captures airborne viruses. The mall is also offering curbside pickup and Spot Holder, which allows you to reserve a time to shop.