Downtown Aquarium
Formerly:Fire Station Number One
410 Bagby, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002 United StatesPrint this page   •   Share this page

The people of Houston are easily divided into two camps: Those who make things happen, and those who scoff at progress and do nothing. Fortunately, toward the end of the last millennium, the man behind the Landry's theme restaurant chain had an idea. He decided to get on board the downtown renovation bandwagon and be a pioneer, rather than one of rabble sitting in the back of the school bus throwing spit balls. The notion of a Downtown Aquarium was born. But where to put it? Along Buffalo Bayou was a natural choice, but so many sites are completely unsuitable due to access problems, parking constraints, or just because they are in really scary neighborhoods. In the end, an unlikely choice was picked -- in the shadow of, and underneath the Pierce Elevated highway. Even aquarium supporters thought that was a strange location. It's a dark, musty corner of town. Even the Hobby Center turned its back on it. But Aquarium backers pressed on, and managed to convince the city to part with not only Fire Station Number One, but also the old Central Water Works building. The fire station wasn't merely gutted; it was stripped all the way down to its steel skeleton, and completely re-built. The water works building was outfitted with a massive tank with a tunnel running through it. By the time it was finished, the Downtown Aquarium was a marvel of blue neon. A fantasy to rival the intentions of Disney , and a microcosm of good, clean family fun in the heart of the city. By the time it opened, the location no longer seemed strange. In fact, the Aquarium's neon seemed to form a symbolic link with the neon of the Hard Rock Café, and other venues of Bayou Place, just across the water. Now those who lined up to throw stones at the project are lining up to get in, dragged along by their children to the city's aquatic novelty, and dragging those suburban dollars back downtown.

Quick Facts
    >The Aquarium has 500,000 gallons of water.
    >Smallest fish at the Aquarium: The tetra, weighing 2 ounces.
    >Largest fish at the Aquarium: The sandtiger, weighing 300 pounds.
    >At the time that it opened, the Aquarium housed 7,000 fish.
    >15 February, 2003 - The Aquarium opens with a gala featuring local and national celebrities. A representative from Houston Architecture Info was initially invited, then a few days later removed from the guest list. We weren't high-profile enough for this event.
Your Thoughts

There are three comments.

  i love the looks beautiful expecially at night time!!!im going there tomorrow and they have added so much new stuff from when i went there 3 years ago.when i went there they were working on the tiger exibit but it is a joy to see more things come along!the staff is also fantastic.keep on shining!!!p.s. please go there soon you'll have a blast also make sure to take pictures!!!

sydney - Friday, October 19th, 2007 @ 10:52pm  

  I think this building is beautifull ive never seen anything like this.I allways pass thrugh houston when im on the road and i see it ive never thought that is was this nice i whold like to visit there on day....

jerolyn soria - Friday, May 18th, 2007 @ 11:18am  

  i like how you can keep the young crowd entertained especially with the white tiger exibit. Even though I'm 18 years old i really enjoyed be in that sort of enviroment. thank you for sharing this adventure with me and allowing me to be part of your business. And as a little extra tip keep the good work up and don't hesitate to hire more good looking people like Jose in the Tiger Picture place in the gift shop

Epiphany Harvey - Monday, March 20th, 2006 @ 11:35am