For 40 years, Cleveland’s East side was home to the Cleveland Aquarium. In the mid-1950s, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History donated an old building in Gordon Park to the Cleveland Aquarium Society to display aquatic life. Its doors officially opened in 1954. Originally offering 50 displays of freshwater fish, several of the exhibits tripled by 1967 thanks to grant funding.
By the 1970s, a financial deficit would make the aquarium’s future unknown. The city voted to increase admission costs but that wouldn’t be enough to save the facility. By 1985, structural problems and not enough money coming in to cover operating costs caused the Cleveland Aquarium to close. After that, the building was used by the Cleveland Police Department as a dog training facility until it was officially vacated and left to slowly crumble within itself.
In 2012, The Greater Cleveland Aquarium opened a new facility in The Flats district on the west side. What is left of the old aquarium still stands and can be seen from I-90.
Know Before You Go
The building is accessible from Gordon Park. Do not go inside, the building is not structurally safe. Best viewed from a distance. Gordon Park is open from dawn to dusk.