Apr 17, 2023 - Business

Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium to reopen in June

The rendering shows a glass facade of the new lobby to the Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium. It has a point that juts out above the two-story building. In front of the building are palm trees and a paved walking area.

The Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium will reopen in June 2023 in a newly renovated building at the base of Canal Street along the Mississippi River. Rendering: Audubon Nature Institute

The Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium will reopen on June 8 after a $34 million renovation, Audubon officials said Monday.

Why it matters: The renovations are "key elements in the re-envisioning of the Mississippi Riverfront at Canal Street," said Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute's president and CEO.

The big picture: Other projects along the riverfront include:

  • Woldenberg Park is getting a $7 million upgrade, with redesigned landscaping and electrical infrastructure.
  • The former World Trade Center reopened in 2021 as the Four Seasons with a hot new restaurant from Chef Alon Shaya, Miss River.
  • The Canal Street ferry terminal reopened earlier this year after a $43.5 million makeover.
  • Further upriver, the New Orleans City Council has cleared the way for a riverfront development project that could include a United Soccer League Stadium, a park, residential units, office space, retail and hotel rooms, according to NOLA.com.

What's happening: The insectarium is moving into the same building as the aquarium. However, Audubon officials on Monday said the two attractions will require separate tickets.

  • The aquarium closed in November 2022 for the building's largest renovation since it opened in 1990.
  • The aquarium previously housed an IMAX theater, which has been removed to make room for the insectarium.
  • The insectarium previously was in the U.S. Custom House and closed early in the coronavirus pandemic.

What's new:

  • 17,000 square feet of new exhibit space.
  • A 2,500-square-foot lobby, along with a large staircase and glass wall.
  • 60 free-flying tropical birds.
  • Bug Appetit, cafe where guests can eat insects.
  • Hundreds of free-flying butterflies in a new indoor garden.
  • A Linnaeus' two-toed sloth.
  • Motion-reactive wall that interacts with guests.

What's next: Tickets are on sale already, with prices ranging from $25 to $35 per attraction. Audubon tells Axios that negotiations are ongoing for discounted parking rates with downtown lots.

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