The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is building an $1.8 million Otter exhibit that is expected to take about six months to complete and will cost roughly $1.8 million.
Construction is expected to begin in January on a new 3,000-sq. ft. habitat that will house Asian small-clawed otters, Spectrum News reports. The new exhibit, “Otters on the Edge,” will feature interactive water elements, living space for separate family groups, and behind-the-scenes care areas.
Construction was initially planned for early 2019 but was delayed due to Hurricane Florence impacts.
“The aquarium has been planning this build for a long time with design and funding in place,” Associate Director Brian Dorn said in a news release last December. “We developed a critical window for construction to limit the impact on guests and animals, but no one could plan for the impact of Hurricane Florence.”
The aquarium said then that the high demand for construction trade firms as a result of Hurricane Florence reduced the immediate interest and availability for the project by building contractors. This competing demand is expected to continue for some time. In addition, the aquarium says shifting the construction timeline later into the year would have a negative effect on the visitor experience during the summer months when the aquarium hosts as much as 50 percent of its annual visitation.