MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is looking to expand, this time with penguins.
A brand new penguin exhibit could be in the aquarium's future. Conceptual design plans were presented to the Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board Thursday.
Broadway at the Beach is one of the most popular all-year-round attractions in Myrtle Beach and CAB members agree Ripley's penguin exhibit could make it even more of a destination.
Chairman Larry Bragg said the presentation comes after years of hearing a penguin exhibit could be coming to Ripley's Aquarium, so he's ready for it to happen.
"Everyone knows about Broadway at the Beach, but this will have special pull to all the visitors," Bragg said. "Penguins are almost like koala bears or panda bears. There is just a certain emotion that they evoke in the human spirit when you see them in action. They put a smile on your face just looking at them."
An overview conceptual design plan of the existing Ripley's Aquarium shows a 5,586-square-foot addition on the upper level where the penguin exhibit could go. David Victoria, with the Tungsten Cooperation construction company in Myrtle Beach, presented in front of the CAB on behalf of Ripley's.
The neon color palette on the exterior will remain the same and the existing landscaping will be relocated. Plans show a stainless steel water feature will be added at the front.
"You can actually go window to window and follow them as they are swimming under the water, and then they do some low eye sight boxes where you can actually put your head up and you are eye-to-eye with them," Bragg said. "So there's so many wonderful things you can do with this exhibit."
The announcement comes one week after Ripley's new Pearl Harbor exhibit opened.
"It's a very, very good brand name and this is just one more step in the progress for Ripley's," Bragg said. "I think it will be a wonderful thing."
The board reviewed the conceptual plans and are hoping a final vote of approval could take place at the CAB's first April meeting.