Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

by Scott Jenson, Utelite Corporation

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, UT is a non-profit organization that opened its new location in 2014. The new Aquarium provides learning opportunities to all ages and interests with more than 4,000 animals representing 650 species. The Aquarium showcases ecosystems from around the world including kelp forests, coral reefs, the deep ocean, Antarctic waters, Asian cloud forests, South American rain forests and water ways of Utah. It is accredited by the Associated of Zoos and Aquariums.

In 2020, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium opened the Rio Tinto Kennecott Plaza with the EECO (Ecosystem Exploration Craft & Observatory) as the main feature. The 165-foot tall structure was formerly used as the stage on U2’s 360 World Tour. Additionally, the plaza features gardens, landscaping, sculptures and other educational outdoor exhibits.

A fine-graded lightweight expanded shale aggregate was chosen to be used as a footing material and ground cover in many of the animal exhibits. The expanded shale having been exposed to high heat during the production process ensured that it would be clean, pathogen free and safe for the animals. Its lightweight weight and porous properties made it an ideal choice for a low maintenance, animal-friendly ground cover for the exhibit areas.

Additionally, fine grade expanded shale was combined as an amendment with native soil that was used for the exterior plaza planting and landscaping. The amended soil provided the necessary soil properties to ensure proper plant establishment for the unique landscape design.

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