Helping to further the revitalization of Coney Island, The Wildlife Conservation Society has received approval from the New York City Public Design Commission for a new 50,000-sq-ft exhibit called Ocean Wonders: Shark, at the nearly 115-year-old New York Aquarium in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

WCS’s New York Aquarium Receives Approval for New Exhibit
Rendering courtesy of WCS

“This exciting new shark exhibit will attract people from far and wide to visit the New York Aquarium,” said New York City Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “The revitalization of Coney Island is already attracting record-breaking crowds and Ocean Wonders: Shark is an important piece of our ultimate goal- establishing Coney Island as the biggest, best year-round tourist destination in the world.”

Inspired by nature and designed by a collaboration of WCS’s design team, the Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department, The Portico Group, and the consultant team including Doyle Partners, the new exhibit will include a shimmering spiral ramp that will wrap the building from inside the aquarium campus to the boardwalk and lead visitors to a roof deck with an interactive gathering space, a water play sculpture area, and a touch tank featuring local species. More than 500,000 gallons of water will be added to the new exhibit and will feature such species as sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, sandbar sharks, whitetip reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, wobbegong sharks, Port Jackson sharks, roughtail rays, clearnose skates, thorny skates, cownose rays, loggerhead sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, and thousands of schooling fish.

Another main feature of the building will include a 1,000-ft long dynamic wall that will be comprised of small aluminum squares that will move with the wind and sparkle in the sunlight. The Arhcitect of Record on the projects is New York City-based Edelman Sultan Knox Wood and Ned Kahn, of Sebastopol, California, is the artist of the shimmer wall.

Ocean Wonders: Shark is a key component of A Sea Change, a 10-year partnership launched in September 2009 by WCS, New York City, and Brooklyn that includes two transformative programs: a renewal of the New York Aquarium featuring new, innovative architecture and exhibits and a renewal of WCS's commitment to local conservation with the New York Seascape, a marine conservation program  that will build awaress and protection of the waters from Montauk, N.Y., to Cape May, N.J., and the Long Island Sound.

"Ocean Wonders: Shark will inspire New Yorkers to celebrate the city's maritime heritage and attract more visitors and businesses to Brooklyn's oceanfront," said Steve Sanderson, WCS President and CEO.

The new building featuring New York Aquarium's new Ocean Wonders: Shark exhibit is slated for completion in 2015.