Builders broke ground today on the St. Augustine Aquarium, opening soon near I-95 on SR-16. Owners Shawn and Kathy Hiester participated during the groundbreaking ceremony, according to reports received by Historic City News.
The first stage of construction will be a zip line course and snorkel adventure that are scheduled to open by the end of June.
“The undersea world is truly magical, and I’ve had the opportunity to experience that through SCUBA diving over the years,” he said. “My wife isn’t able to SCUBA dive. It was her idea to bring the sea world to the people who can’t dive.”
St. Johns County Commissioner Jeb Smith and Chamber President Isabelle Rodriguez provided excellent remarks at today’s special ceremony.
“With support and encouragement from so many who believe in them, Shawn and Kathy Hiester have worked very hard to make this aquarium a reality for our community and region,” remarked Dr. Joseph Saviak, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Carol.
Sean Hiester says the snorkel tank in phase one will hold 80,000 gallons of water and a variety of marine life. Construction on phase two of the aquarium is scheduled to start this summer and require about a year to finish.
“It will be a wonderful attraction for residents and visitors as well as a tremendous educational and marine conservation resource for our region,” Saviak said.