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Medicine Park aquarium celebrates 2 years of education, family fun

MEDICINE PARK — The Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center keeps on swimming as it celebrates its two- year anniversary this weekend.

The aquarium officially opened to the public June 10, 2017, after nearly 15 years of conception, planning and construction. It was conceived as a family attraction and education center for children. In the two years since opening, it’s attracted more than 10,000 school students and more than 100,000 visitors. Not bad, said Doug Kemper, executive director.

“It feels great to see those numbers,” he said. “The institution was always designed as a compelling family activity and family attraction for the folks of Southwest Oklahoma, and certainly for our school kids. They really enjoy it. It’s been a big hit.”

The center originally opened with just the aquarium across eight galleries, featuring dozens of different fish and amphibians from across Oklahoma — and a few more exotic attractions, such as electric eels and piranhas. In the two years since opening, it’s continued to grow and expand — just as Kemper had envisioned.

“We had 25 major exhibits planned from the beginning,” he said. “Whether it’s wolves or coyotes or bobcats or sharks, we want to bring a new exhibit online every 1½ to two years. That represents a 50-year capital expansion and marketing program. The plan has always been to have something new to see. And during that time, the older exhibits will be revamped or redone.”

The Lawton Constitution

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