Grand Rapids has so many opprotunities to see wildlife and plantlife of all sorts. Between our many parks, the John Ball Zoo and the Meijer Gardens, you can really explore nature at it's finest throughout West Michigan. However, if you want to see creatures from under the sea, you're going to have to travel quite a bit.

Stingray fishes swimming free in the aquarium

Currently the closest Aquarium is 2 and a half hours away in Auburn Hills, or you have to head all the way to Chicago. But hopefully that's all about to change for Kent County residents.

According to a letter, City leaders including Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and local executives, are discussing plans for a new aquarium in Grand Rapids. Initial discussions indicate potential funding through a hotel tax increase, pending approval from the Kent County Board of Commissioners.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

In 2021, John Ball Zoo explored the idea of an aquarium, with considerations for both Grand Rapids and Muskegon. However, Grand Action 2.0 has clarified that the current plans for the soccer stadium and Acrisure Amphitheatre do not include the aquarium.

So instead, it's seemingly an entirely different project. Funding for the project may come from a portion of our city's hotel tax, which could be raised from 5% to 8% under a new state law. The County Commissioners are scheduled to vote on this issue, aiming for placement on the Aug. 6 primary ballot.

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The proposed aquarium aligns with efforts to enhance entertainment opprotunities for the Grand Rapids area, alongside the planned amphitheater and soccer stadium. So while this is still in the works, it's looking hopeful that there will be another amazing place to take your family in West Michigan in the near future.

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Gallery Credit: Big Joe Pesh