“The water fill is an exciting milestone for us..."

By Alison Fox
Updated February 20, 2020
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Nearly 250,000 gallons of water were poured into aquarium tanks on Wednesday as an aquarium version of New York City prepares to welcome guests to a fishy Times Square next month.

Camille Depascale and Rich Weddle pour water into the American Dream's Tank.
Courtesy of New Jersey SEA LIFE ® Aquarium

The New Jersey SEA LIFE Aquarium, which is expected to open in the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, NJ, on April 23, filled up tanks like the ‘City Under the Sea’ ocean tank — complete with a 13-foot replica of the Empire ‘Skate’ Building and a “Whaledorf” Astoria hotel (because whales have discerning taste, of course).

The tank will hold several different species, including sharks.

“The water fill is an exciting milestone for us because it takes us one step closer to opening day…We can’t wait to entertain and educate our guests about the ocean, its inhabitants and future preservation,” Camille DePascale, the aquarium’s general manager, said in a statement.

Courtesy of New Jersey SEA LIFE ® Aquarium
Courtesy of New Jersey SEA LIFE Aquarium

Visitors who cross the river from New York City will come face-to-face with pedestrians of at least 75 species including a giant Pacific octopus, black tip reef and zebra sharks, and a giant grouper that can grow up to 400 pounds.

The tanks that were filled on Wednesday will use culturing and filtration processes to ensure water quality, according to the aquarium.

The super-attraction, which will be laid out over 25,000 square feet and become the 10th SEA LIFE in the U.S. and the 50th worldwide, will also feature more than 3,000 different animals in 12 different exhibits.

The American Dream Mall, which will house the aquarium, also includes the Nickelodeon Universe indoor theme park — billed as the largest of its kind in the western hemisphere — and Big Snow, an indoor ski slope that will make your slopeside dreams come true year-round.