TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Aquarium announced a $40 million expansion on Tuesday that includes several new exhibits, including an outdoor sea lion habitat. 

According to the aquarium, the project has three phases that will begin in Jan. 2023. It’s expected to be completed in 2025. 

The project includes a rotating special exhibit gallery, as well as a change that will convert the second-floor lobby of the aquarium into a multi-species gallery that features puffins.  

A large-scale outdoor exhibit will feature California sea lions, a first on Florida’s west coast. 

“We are reinvigorating The Florida Aquarium by creating innovative and immersive habitats and exhibits, providing captivating guest experiences and expanding our dynamic animal collection that advances our commitment to saving wildlife and wild places,” said Roger Germann, president and CEO. “Today we take a major step forward in building the world-class aquarium that Tampa Bay deserves.” 

The project is the first major expansion for The Florida Aquarium since it opened in 1995.