2017-06-15 / Business

Janss mall floats idea for a new aquarium

By Dawn Megli-Thuna


A WHOLE NEW WORLD—An interactive aquarium could be coming to the Janss Marketplace next year. If plans are finalized, the aquarium would open in the empty storefronts across from Gold’s Gym. 
Courtesy of Planet Aqua Group A WHOLE NEW WORLD—An interactive aquarium could be coming to the Janss Marketplace next year. If plans are finalized, the aquarium would open in the empty storefronts across from Gold’s Gym. Courtesy of Planet Aqua Group Snails. Sharks. A stingray touch tank.

Janss Marketplace may be entering uncharted waters.

The Thousand Oaks shopping center is in talks to add a 20,000-square-foot interactive aquarium to its portfolio of family-friendly attractions. If plans are finalized, construction could begin in early 2018, and the aquarium could open later that year in the space across from Gold’s Gym.

Planet Aqua Group is the Louisiana-based company behind the idea.

According to the company’s website, its interactive exhibits are based on the tenets of sustainability, conservation and respect for all life.

Exhibits create an immersive experience meant to forge a connection to the aquatic world, resulting in a personal connection that drives visitors to get involved in protecting the planet, the site says.

Jon Whitehead, co-founder of Planet Aqua Group, said the aquarium will feature a wide array of hands-on exhibits.

“We’ll have everything from marine and freshwater fish, shark and ray touch tanks, and a jellyfish touch tank, among others,” he said in an interview.

Whitehead told the Acorn his company chose Thousand Oaks for their second aquarium—their first is slated to open in Louisiana later this year—because more than 300,000 school-age children live within a 25-minute drive of the location.

With the nearest aquarium about 60 miles away, he said, he expects 220,000 visitors in the first year of operation.

Sandy Sigal, president of NewMark Merrill, the company that owns the Janss Marketplace, said the final hurdles to the project are financing, city permits and a lease agreement.

He said aquarium attractions like this aren’t common and because of that, Planet Aqua Group’s project would be an asset for local entertainment.

“Bringing families in and giving them lots of options is what we hope we can create. We want to build on all the positive memories that have been created there for all these years,” he said.

“It could be great.”

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