St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

What do get when you combine trains, a historic landmark and a vacant mall? Would your answer to that be an Aquarium?

Well, if you happen to be the city of St. Louis, MO, a couple of years ago you may have been asking the same question. Now, thanks to Lodging Hospitality Management – Bob & Steve O’Loughlin – who are the two visionaries that obviously have a heart and passion for St. Louis.

Closed for Construction

St. Louis is getting their answer to that very question. The answer is 60 sharks, rays and 13,000 other aquatic animals will soon be making their new home in the once vacant mall adjacent to the Historic Union Station, which was housed under Union Station’s massive historical train shed.

Under the old train Station

The mall officially closed it’s doors Jan. 31st 2016. In November of 2017 ground was broke and the once vacant mall area began being transformed into St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station.

Breaking ground for the Aquarium

This multi million dollar project will include a 120,000 square-foot aquarium. The aquarium is expected to house 13,000 aquatic animals including more than 60 sharks and rays, one of them being an endangered lesser devil ray, in a 250,000 gallon tank.

Aquarium Dream

Visitors will be captivated by thousands of fresh and salt water aquatic animals from around the globe. A journey through the aquarium will take you below the surface in addition to giving you hands on opportunities for interactive experiences.

Touch Pool

The aquarium’s combined 1.3 million gallons of water seems like a lot, but in comparison to Shedd Aquarium of Chicago which holds 5 million gallons, Union Stations is on a smaller scale. But St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is adding many other attractions, in hopes of reviving the spirit and feel of the 1904 St. Louis World Fair.

Paying homage to the fact, that at its peak, a hundred thousand people a day traveled through Union Station. The once busiest passenger rail terminal in the world. Travelers were on their way to the fair and other destinations.

Upon entering the aquarium, visitors will be able to enjoy a virtual reality train ride highlighting Union Station’s past.

Then navigate the “Global Rivers”, splash into the “Ocean Shore”, delve into the “Shark Canyon”, explore “The Deep” or even experience various hands on touch tanks.

Some of the other much looked forward to additions include:
*a 200-foot tall Ferris Wheel (the 1904 World Fair had a Ferris wheel
brought in from Chicago),
*a carousel,
*a ropes course,
*mini golf,
*a mirror maze,
*several restaurants,
*and a conservation and education center.

Rendition of the union Station Ferris Wheel

While we were at Union Station we visited one of the restaurants that are weathering the construction, Landry’s Seafood House. The atmosphere at Landry’s was fantastic and food was awesome. They will be part of the new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station experience.

While enjoying our dinner, we had the pleasure of experiencing Union Station’s Fire & Light show. Amazing!!! See it here.
We were so glad we ventured in to Landry’s. Even under construction Union Station has so much to offer. It will be exciting to see Union Station when the Aquarium is finished.

Union Station Hotel

While we were in St. Louis we also had the pleasure of being guests at the Historic Union Station. One of the highlights of our stay, were the nightly laser light shows in the Grand Hall. I have to say this one Under the Sea was our favorite. We were told there are almost 20 different laser light shows. Our You Tube channel has a couple others. The camera does not do them justice. It is something you really need to experience in person.

We can’t wait to go back for the opening of St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station. Be sure to check out our feature and Union Station Hotel.

There is so much history, romance, excitement and intrigue associated with Union Station.  I can not thank Danny, our personal tour guide, enough for not only showing us around but sharing his heart and passion with us. Watch Daniel here.
I believe we fell in love with the story of Union Station while we were there. I’m sure you would too. It warms our heart to see someone loving Union Station enough to invest in her both financially and emotionally.

More on Union Station ~

It seems like the construction crews working on the aquarium are ready for the sharks! Are you? See them here.

You can keep informed on the progress of St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station and watch for the official opening date here.

**Thank you Insight St. Louis, St Louis Aquarium and Union Station for making our visit possible. This story and feelings are our own

Gary and Michelle Signature

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  1. Kendra | Self-Care Overload says:

    I loved the pictures. This seems like a really cool and fun place to visit! I’ve always loved aquariums, so I must go check this out!!

    1. Wouldn’t you like to be there when they bring them in. How do you transport a shark! We were told they need to be in the tanks 3 months before the aquarium opens

  2. Mini golf is there?? Where I live we don’t have that so that’s an honest to goodness attraction for me!

  3. Kristi @ Way Beyond The Norm says:

    My kids would love to check out this aquarium! Looks like a fun hot spot to visit when we get to St. Louis.

  4. I can’t wait for this to open, I’m excited to take my kids to check it out!

  5. I remember going to that mall when I was 13 and on vacation. That is awesome they are using that space for an awesome aquarium!

    1. I would have loved to have seen it as a mall. More so I would have love to have seen it as a train station.
      Watch for the blog on Union Stations History next.

  6. This looks like a very cool aquarium. We will definitely add it to our list!

  7. This looks like it will be a fabulous aquarium when it is finished! I love it when old spaces become new again!

    1. I loved seeing someone have the passion these two guys do, and vision out of the box. This is going to be great!

  8. Love aquariums…something so peaceful and tranquil to help me find my zen

    1. We were so excited to see what St Louis is doing with this space.

  9. It looks like an amazing aquarium. I love when they repurpose older buildings.

    1. Not only are they re-purposing an old building but they are preserving a historic train yard at the same time. It really is a place to see.

  10. What an interesting post. Really nice story to see the repurpose and the plans. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jen. It was a story we loved bringing you and can’t wait to keep you up to date as progress

  11. Tricia Snow says:

    What a great idea for an old mall! So much better than a mall too!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I’d rather see families spending time together than shopping.

  12. This is going to be awesome! If I’m ever in St. Louis, I am for sure checking this out.

  13. We are in the St. Louis and and I am so excited for the aquarium to open!! It’s been years since I’ve been to Union Station so I can’t wait to go back.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. It is so exciting they are doing with that area. We can’t wait to go back ourselves.

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  15. I am here for the first time. I came across this blog and LOVE it! Book me a flight to Union Station. Any updates on the Aquarium?

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