LUBBOCK, Texas – Plans for the Lubbock Aquarium were last announced six years ago with various efforts of fundraising still ongoing. 

Director of the aquarium, Kai Evans says planning is still underway, “It’s a lengthy process when we’re trying to bring the ocean to an area that an ocean wouldn’t normally thrive in.”

Evans said lots of momentum happened before the pandemic took place, putting a halt onto the speed of planning. 

“The foundation was year one and we did our feasibility study In year two. We have a grant writer that we work with, we have education programs in several schools with our education committee.” 

Evans said various teams have been created and hired to help take on tasks. 

“We’ve worked with Slaton on doing testing within Playa lakes and what can survive in our playa lake. So we’ve done a lot of neat education both with tech and then just area schools and then right before COVID, we’ve hired our architect team for the building and determined what species would do well in this area and the amount of space,” said Evans. 

Because of Covid, focus has instead shifted towards completing the aquarium’s discovery trail, an immersive nature trail with aquatic themed play structures.  

“It’s different things that are engaging and interacting but more on a play level. We’ll have some touch and feel where we may have some sting rays that are brought in for a weekend and some starfish that they can see on the weekend.” 

Evans says the trail will also have a series of themed neighborhoods that families can walk through. “We have an ocean neighborhood where you might climb on an octopus. We have a birds and butterflies area. This Playa area is home to lots of birds and so having them seek and find those and, you know, monarchs come through this area so having flowers that attract those, and shaded areas for kids to play in.”

Evans plans on having the trail completed within the next 12 to 18 months. 

“We’re kind of finalizing those plans without landscape architecture and we’re working with several playground companies and then some local artists. So we’re kind of bringing all that together and hope to have our final plan for Board approval here in the next three months.”

For updates on the aquarium’s progress you can head to their website here.