Aquarium Hall Closing For Roof Upgrade Work

September 8, 2014

The Aquarium Hall will close on October 5, 2014 in order to allow for roof replacement work to take place, though the North Rock Exhibit, as well as the Zoo, Museum, Azu Beastro, and the Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS] Gift Shop will remain open.

After the construction, which is expected to take 6-months, BAMZ said they “will have a safe, watertight Aquarium building which has all new electrics and all new lighting which will greatly improve the tank displays.”

In the latest issue of the BZS newsletter, Dr. Ian Walker said, “Now as summer comes to end, we are turning our attention to the upcoming renovations of the Aquarium Hall.

“The Bermuda Aquarium was built in 1926 and has a very well engineered roof comprised of long timbers and stone slate. Unlike normal Bermuda roofs which need treating for termites occasionally, we have been unable to tent it because of the permanent residents of the building. Consequently termite damage, sagging beams and water ingress have slowly brought the roof to the end of its useful life.

An area of the internal ceiling collapsed in the Aquarium Hall last month:


“Planning to replace it has been a multiyear process, because in essence it is not just a roof! All the water pipes and airlines for all the tanks, inside and outside the aquarium, run through the roof at some point. All of the life support systems such as tank lights, protein and Ultraviolet filters and associated electrical systems are also located in the roof,” added Dr. Walker.

“If you take into account that we need to keep all of it running to keep the tanks “alive”, the process of replacing the roof becomes much more complex. In addition, like many older traditional Bermuda houses, the aquarium was not built with foundations but limestone blocks laid directly on the surrounding rock. It also does not have any “belt” beams that tie all the walls together – all of this will have to be added or worked around.

Dr. Walker continued, “Consequently, in order to keep the construction timeline to a minimum and maintain the safety of the site, the Aquarium Hall needs to be closed during the much needed roof replacement. Work is scheduled to commence and the Aquarium Hall will close entirely starting on Sunday, October 5th 2014.

“This week will allow BAMZ staff to remove all the fish, corals and other marine invertebrates to prepared holding tanks and remove all the life support systems. Those animals that BAMZ does not keep in the collection will be released to the wild.

“The contractor is due to start the actual roof renovation on Monday, October 13th 2014. This time of year was specifically chosen to avoid any impact on our busy summer time guest experience as well as our Aqua Camps and visiting children’s summer camps.

“As the Bermuda Government begins this important work, please know that the facility will still be open and the BZS will continue to provide the majority of our Programmes, Activities and Events.

“We will be having another Open Day on Sunday September 28th. Our Zoobilee Extravaganza ‘The Hungry Games’ will take place on Saturday October 4th. We will continue to have a Schedule of Talks & Activities throughout the winter months. We will also be introducing some new Animal Encounters soon. And of course, Santa will still come to BAMZ this Christmas! So as you can see there will still be a lot going on!

“The entrance to BAMZ during the roof replacement process will be via a ramp beside the Seal Pool Walkway. Construction of the ramp is due to start in September. The Zoo, the Museum, AZU Beastro and the Discovery Room will all still be open.

“In addition, the North Rock Tank exhibit will still be open for the majority of time, although the rest of the Aquarium Hall will remain closed. The Gift Shop will also continue to be available, although it will be in a different location.

“At the end of the construction, which is expected to take 6-months, BAMZ will have a safe, watertight Aquarium building which has all new electrics and all new lighting which will greatly improve the tank displays. And, we shall be as green as possible with LED lighting throughout, solar tubes and solar panels being added. The interior of the Aquarium Hall will also have been refreshed, with new graphics and a new look.

“We understand that this will be an inconvenience to our members during the winter months and we ask for your help and patience as we improve our community Aquarium. We need your ongoing strong support during this time and rely on your BZS Membership to provide operational funding for all our education programs throughout the entire year. Please continue to support us, so that we can continue to provide these programmes for you, your family and the community during this time,” concluded Dr. Walker.

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Category: All, Environment