Idaho Aquarium makes changes, looks to improve image

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Idaho Aquarium makes changes, looks to improve image

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 29, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 29 at 6:44 PM

BOISE – The new management at the Idaho Aquarium says big changes are on the way and some are here already. It's all in an attempt to repair the non-profit's damaged image.

There's been a lot of negative publicity surrounding the old director of the Idaho Aquarium. He's currently involved in a legal battle, accused of illegally buying animals.

But the new management says that's all in the past.

Joni Sullivan, the chief operating officer for the Idaho Aquarium, says those involved in the past problems are gone. What's left is a great crew.

"Come and see, just come and see what we're doing," said Sullivan. "Transparency is what we're all about. They can come and ask question. This dedicated staff that's here is amazing."

From murky water before, to water as clear as the exhibits, Sullivan wants to make the aquarium a popular destination.

"I think it helps anytime you have things like this, the arts, the zoo, it all helps bring people into Boise," said Sullivan.

And there are physical changes as well. After two months of renovation, the sting ray exhibit has been redesigned.

"It's one of our most interactive exhibits," said Nathan Hall. "We get a lot of requests and a lot of people coming in just to see the sting rays, interact with them.”

You can pet the sting rays and even feed them pieces of fish.

"It's almost like starting over,” said Sullivan. I mean they started the aquarium and it was a great idea, but it just went off the rails somewhere and now it's a new aquarium. It's a different aquarium. It's not the same aquarium that it was.”

Sullivan says the aquarium is now being run the way it should have been run originally.

In October the aquarium hired a new interim director, Nancy Vannorsdel. She's the former director of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

She has plans to boost attendance and make the aquarium profitable, all while changing its image.

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