The Brevard Aquarium and Conservation Center Gets Closer to Breaking Ground

Brevard Aquarium and Conservation Center

The Brevard Aquarium and Conservation Center, a sister project of the Brevard Zoo, has announced it is on track to break ground later in 2024 in Melbourne, Florida.

A recent $2.5 million donation from the Nelson family of Merritt Island has pushed the project’s fundraising goal closer to the 100% it needs.

“We are excited to support the Aquarium project as it brings environmental education, conservation, and rehabilitation awareness to the coastal ecosystem we have enjoyed over the past 33 years,” said Annette Nelson. “I have been fishing the Indian River since arriving in Brevard County in 1991 and have been fishing offshore from Port Canaveral for the past 20 years. The aquarium and its conservation mission are very important to the area,” said Blain Nelson.

In recognition of the gift, Blain and Annette Nelson’s names along with the names of future donors will be proudly displayed at the Canaveral Locks.

The aquarium will sit on 14 acres next to the Indian River Lagoon at Port Canaveral, and feature a habitat called the Canaveral Locks that will emulate the locks at Port Canaveral that provide a vital connection between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon for cruise ships, fishing boats, recreational watercraft and wildlife.

The star attraction will be a 32,300-gallon sea life habitat that emulates the underwater infrastructure of the lock system and showcases Florida gamefish such as redfish, drum, sheepshead, snook and jack. The building will also include an educational “water table” exhibit designed to model the linkages and flow of water between the Banana River, Port Canaveral and the ocean.

Plus, the space will include a soft play area for younger children, an indoor café offering air-conditioned seating, and an outdoor play space.

On top of immersive exhibits, the aquarium will be home to two new rehabilitation centers for sea turtles and manatees that guests will be able to see up close.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress, but for more information, visit

Brevard Aquarium and Conservation Center

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