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  • Staff report

Aquarium at the Shoppes at Solana Now Open

PHOTOS AND STORY BY WILLIAM NEVAREZ


Shawn Furr exploring the new aquarium at the Shoppes at Solana.


The new Shoppes at Solana aquarium opened an all-new feature with interactive bodies of water where guests can pet or view aquatic animals.


The aquarium, Jungle Reef, opened on Feb. 9 at 750 Sunland Park Drive. It is a space for fun, excitement and a new experience that utilizes the public’s ability to exercise something brand new that brings others from all over El Paso.


Jungle Reef is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12-6 p.m. Sundays.

Though prices vary in Jungle Reef depending on what animal is fed or played with, there is a one-time day pass for $9.99 unless above age 12 for $14.99.


The aquarium has an annual membership fee of $39.99 for kids ages 3 to 11, and a $49.99 annual membership for older kids and adults.


This new aquarium is a product of a developmental city, ensuring invention and thriving

experiences.


“I was so surprised that El Paso was going to get an aquarium, let alone in a former mall that is pretty far from the majority of the city and residents,” said Amanda Quinonez, consumer at Shoppes at Solana and five-year resident of El Paso. “I’ve lived here for quite some time now and can say I wouldn’t think of putting an aquarium in such a sunny setting, but I’m glad they did.”


The aquarium consists of swimming with the wildlife, petting while feeding snakes, playing with stingrays, feeding, and petting parakeets, and feeding otters.


“I’ve seen many individuals come here to bond with their families and others that just have that desire of love for animals that brought them upon the cute place,” Quinonez said.


Jungle Reef originated from giving El Paso a unique attraction that adds to the growing city’s events and character, providing a sense of new foundations.


“Jungle Reef’s aquatic animals are friendly and help the public adapt to such a new thing within the city, allowing for adaptation and growth among us all,” said Sarah Hernandez, visitor to the aquarium.


The Jungle Reef Aquarium

at the Shoppes at Solana.


Jungle Reef has been used not only as an attraction but also as a way of relieving stress. During people’s time there, interacting with animals has improved attitudes toward the West El Paso demographic.


“Animals in aquatic centers have been known to lift and empower emotions of those who interact with said animals,” said Gerald Jaquez, a researcher for the economic development of human studies.


Shoppers around Solana have described the site as a comfortable place to visit in their spare time and recommend playing with the otters.

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