NEW ORLEANS, La. (BRPROUD) – Audubon Aquarium will close for renovations at the end of November.

The riverfront attraction will temporarily shut its doors for six months. According to an official press release, the major renovation project will result in a new space and a combined experience with Audubon Insectarium.

“This renovation gives us the opportunity to bring new animals into our collection,” said Rich Toth, senior vice president, and Aquarium director. “In addition to several new bird species, we are excited to introduce a sloth into the Amazon Rainforest. Sloths live in rainforest canopies in south and central America and ours will be a guest favorite when we reopen.”

New rockwork construction will be built in the penguin exhibit, but the penguins will stay at the aquarium. The two otters were relocated. Toth says they are thriving.

The project will include 17,000 square feet of separate exhibit space inside the existing walls of the aquarium to house the new insectarium. Insectarium exhibit galleries, like the Butterfly Pavilion, will be moved to the building’s second floor. The space that held the Entergy Giant Screen will be split into two floors and one part will become the new Insectarium space.

“The initial construction of Audubon Aquarium and adjacent Woldenberg Riverfront Park opened the New Orleans riverfront to visitors like never before. This extensive renovation continues the growth and expansion of the foot of Canal Street that includes new luxury hotels, restaurants, and green space,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “Our goal is to give our guests a place to learn about nature and wildlife and ways to help by taking action in their own lives.” 

The Aquarium and Insectarium are scheduled to reopen next summer.