Aquarium Eyes Monday Opening, If City Inspection Goes Well

September 19, 2018

Scranton’s most anticipated entertainment and education attraction could open as soon as next week. Pending a final inspection for an occupancy permit from the city, which is scheduled for today, the Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den is set to open officially Monday inside the Marketplace at Steamtown. Digital billboards announced an opening set for this weekend. Aquarium owner and operator Cliff Grosvenor said those went up in error and were removed because the final inspection hasn’t happened yet. Patrick Hinton, the city’s Licensing, Inspections and Permits Department director, said the aquarium can open as soon as it passes the final inspection. Grosvenor planned a soft opening earlier but hasn’t announced it because he fears staff will be overwhelmed by visitors, he said. The aquarium includes massive tanks with about 25 different marine creatures including stingrays, piranhas and a giant Pacific octopus, as well as exotic frogs, lizards, snakes and spiders. One exhibition room won’t open right away, he said. Most of the animals to be housed there will stay in enclosures elsewhere in the venue until their own space is ready, he said, so customers can experience the full show. “They will still get to see about everything we’ve got,” he said. The aquarium is a key piece of the mall’s transformation from the city’s retail anchor to a lifestyle center, occupying the former Express, Hollister and Verizon stores on the first floor. While many mall storefronts remain shuttered, mall owner John Basalyga has successfully attracted major tenants, including a Luzerne County Community College satellite campus, Crunch Fitness and specialty medical group Delta Medix to assume large blocks of once-empty space. Grosvenor originally pegged an opening for the fall of 2017. Now after a year of delays, it’s a catfish whisker away from ready and the aquarium owner said opening-day jitters, the excitement and nerves, are setting in. “Every emotion you can possibly get, rolled into one ball,” he said. Contact the writer: joconnell@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9131; @jon_oc on Twitter

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