IMMS brings aquatic attractions back to Mississippi
With all the buzz surrounding ongoing preparations for the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport, Coast residents are getting nostalgic for the days when Marine Life Oceanarium and the J.L. Scott Aquarium in Biloxi were still open for business.
You won’t have to wait until 2019 to get up close and personal with some of your favorite sea creatures.
Long time Coast residents are about to be able to relive some of their fondest memories all thanks to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport.
Ocean Expo, a $15 million expansion of the institute’s facilities, will provide an interactive environment for visitors. The director of the IMMS, Moby Solangi, says the institute’s mission includes research, conservation, education, and public display. This expansion provides the public with an opportunity to come in and enjoy the marine life, but it won’t be just another attraction, it will be an immersive experience. Construction is expected to be complete within a couple of months.
“What we are doing is bringing nature close to you, you will be able to come in and swim with the sting rays and sharks, you will be able to go into an aviary and the birds will come to you and you can feed them. You can see a bird show and you can also see the dolphins and sea lions and be educated. We should be hopefully opening this summer, things are really wrapping up. Most of the big stuff is done. We started last March and hopefully by May or June, we will be done,” said Dr. Solangi.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Solangi ran Marine Life in Gulfport. His plans for the Institute for Marine Mammals Studies Ocean Expo will combine some of the elements of that once popular Oceanarium with his quest to educate the public.