GLEN — Living Shores Aquarium, which has been taking shape over the past year at the former Heritage NH building just north of Story Land amusement park on Route 16 in Glen, got a blue-and-turquoise paint job this week, signaling that opening day may be coming soon.
A spokesperson for Story Land confirmed that doors may open as soon as September.
In fact, "Coming Soon" is the banner across the Living Shores web page at storylandnh.com.
Billed as "New England's newest hands-on experience," the aquarium, according to the website, "is an indoor walk through experience with over 32,000 square feet of interactive tide pools, exhibits, and activities."
The new attraction was announced at the end of April 2018, with General Manager Eric Dziedzic telling the Sun it will operate year-round and include its own restaurant, Pasta Mia, and gift shop.
Like Story Land, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, Living Shores will be operated by Palace Entertainment, which also runs many other theme parks and water parks, including Miami Seaquarium and Sea Life Park in Hawaii.
Story Land founders, the Morrell family, sold the attraction to Kennywood Entertainment in 2006. Kennywood was bought by Madrid, Spain-based Parques Reunidos in 2009 and placed under its U.S. division, Palace Entertainment.
The exhibits at Living Shores will feature local freshwater fish like bass and pike as well as tropical fish, sting rays, elkhorn coral reefs, bamboo sharks, spiny lobster, starfish and sea cucumbers.
There will be touch pools and an aviary where guests can feed lorikeets.
According to Dziedzic, "We hope to provide an avenue to learn, interact and appreciate the bodies of water and species that surround us."
Slowly, the exterior flourishes of Heritage NH disappeared over the past year, with workers on the site nearly every day, even during the roughest weather.
Reached Monday for a comment, Story Land Marketing Director Lauren Hawkins responded: "Progress at Living Shores Aquarium is moving at a very steady pace!
"It has been exciting to watch the finishing touches on both the outside and inside be completed. Recently, the restaurant, Pasta Mia, had its outdoor dining patio poured, the exterior and interior of the building is being painted as we speak, and the last section of flooring is being finished over the next few weeks.
"Once complete, the team will be cleaning for an additional few weeks, will continue to theme the exhibit floor, start filling tanks to allow for environments to development and front of house will be finished.
"At this time everything is moving along smoothly, and we anticipate an opening in early fall as long as no complications arise."