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Dallas Children's Aquarium saved, plans to reopen on opening day of State Fair

Texas' oldest aquarium closed last year but a new owner is bringing it back to life

DALLAS — Anyone who has been to the State Fair of Texas has probably eaten fried food, ridden the ferris wheel and done all the typical fair things. Now, though, fairgoers can be bitten and spit on. And they can experience it at the Dallas Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park.

“Exactly,” said Chris Davis, owner of Zooceanarium, the parent company of the aquarium.

Davis won’t bite or spit, but some of the new fish might. Visitors can get their fingers bitten by doctorfish (Davis promises it doesn’t hurt) or watch archerfish spit at them.

“We are really reimagining the aquarium,” he said.

They had to because last year the Dallas Zoo decided to close the aquarium permanently. It’s been closed since early 2020, but Davis and his company, Zooceanarium, dove in to save it. The reopening of the aquarium is set for the opening day of the fair.

“There’s a lot of heart-touching stories out there about this aquarium,” Davis said.

That’s because it’s the oldest aquarium in Texas, but Davis and his team are working to make it feel brand new.

In addition to fish that bite and spit, visitors can touch stingrays, see sharks and create their own fish, which will then come to life in a digital ecosystem.