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ABQ aquarium to reopen after year-plus closure in pandemic

Dixon is a male river otter who arrived at the Aquariaum shortly before the facility closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is now ready for his meet-and-greet with the public. (Courtesy of ABQ Biopark)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dixon has been waiting to say howdy.

The male river otter was a new arrival at the ABQ BioPark Aquarium and didn’t get to show off much for visitors before COVID shut the place down.

As a post-COVID world slowly reemerges, Dixon is ready to greet guests, as are sharks, sea turtles, jellies and all manner of things that swim, slither and bob in and around a water environment.

Starting Wednesday, the aquarium will reopen for New Mexico BioPark Society members and, on May 12, will be open to the general public.

Currently, all ABQ BioPark facilities are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday though Sunday; however, starting May 31, all will switch to a daily operation schedule.

For now, visitors must book their timed tickets in advance online at and click on “tickets & info.”

Tickets for the aquarium may be booked separately or in combination with a botanic garden ticket.

bright spot“We expect aquarium tickets to be in very high demand,” so tickets should be booked “as soon as possible as they will be going fast,” said guest services manager Allyson Zahm.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy indoor dining at the Shark Reef CafĂ©, which provides a colorful view into the aquarium’s main tank.

COVID safety measures will remain in place and visitors will be required to wear a mask and observe social distance guidelines, including following designated one-way paths.

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