US Mayor Article

Charleston’s New Aquarium, New Orleans Jazzland Theme Park New Tourist Attractions

By Jennifer Johnson
May 29, 2000

Nearly 200 South Carolina schoolchildren drawn from across the state and dressed as colorful schools of fish May 19 led Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. and thousands of guests into South Carolina Aquarium.

The $70 million science museum situated on historic Charleston Harbor features a stunning depiction of South Carolina habitats. Its theme, From the Mountains to the Sea, takes visitors on a journey through the five distinct regions of the Appalachian Watershed as represented in South Carolina.

The opening culminates a 17-year conception, design and construction process. The City of Charleston build the structure that will be operated and leased by the non-profit South Carolina Aquarium, Inc. The Aquarium serves its education and conservation mission on a site once bound for Super Fund status.

"We have built this extraordinary, inspiring, light- and magic-filled building for our citizens, and most especially for every child who lives in or visits South Carolina," said Mayor Riley, who was inspired to bring an aquarium to Charleston during a 1983 visit to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. "Today, we celebrate all that can be achieved through the power of a shared vision, and through the deepest feelings in the hearts of people in this state; that we connect with this land, and with our waterways, and that we will always fight to preserve them for future generations."

At the conclusion of the ceremonies, the Mayor, speakers and special guests were led into the building by the 200 school children. Once inside, they encountered the Aquarium’s many unique exhibits including a deep, lichen-covered mountain gorge with cascading waterfalls and the country’s deepest ocean tank, home to thousands of marine animals. Another original exhibit features a Salt Marsh Aviary with rays, oyster beds and vegetation native to the South Carolina Lowcountry. "Our mission is to foster and appreciation for these habitats. The best way to do that is to give the visitor the ‘real’ experience and create that emotional tie that inspires our visitors to preserve and protect our environment," said Executive Director Christopher Andrews.

In addition to its first-ever South Carolina theme, the Aquarium is also the first in the nation to open with a complete education curriculum in place. The Aquarium offers free admission to all South Carolina school groups participating in its curriculum program.

Meanwhile in New Orleans, Mayor Marc Morial also had something to celebrate May 1st.

Colorful barrages, streaming comets and towers airflames ushered in a wave of excitement and fervor as Jazzland Theme Park hosts its much-anticipated grand opening activities.

"Jazzland’s grand opening will be nothing less than magnificent and will be a reflection of the park’s commitment to maintain a world-class theme part," said Jazzland’s Vice President/General Manager Phil Clark. "Locals and visitors alike can look forward to an experience that is both exhilarating and entertaining."

Jazzland Theme Park opened on May 20 and is located 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans off 1-10 near the intersection of 1-510 and Lake Forest Boulevard. It will feature 30 rides and attractions in six themed areas: Jazz Plaza™, Cajun Country™, Mardi Gras™, Goodtime Gardens™, Pontchartrain Beach™ and kids Carnival™.

For more information, call 504-243-8000 or visit the website at     

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