Fish family in exhibit Say swimming stingray Butterfly pollinating a flower
Fish family in exhibit Say swimming stingray Butterfly pollinating a flower

The Dakota Aquarium Capital Campaign

We are excited to announce that we are in the midst of The Dakota Aquarium Capital Campaign:  The Capital Campaign to Build the Aquarium Sioux Falls Has Been Waiting For.

From our beginnings as a butterfly house in 2002 to the addition of aquariums in 2011, we have grown and changed beyond our wildest expectations!  The 90% increase in annual attendance and 450% increase in memberships since adding the aquariums have shown the broad appeal and high demand for ocean experiences in our land-locked community.

After six years of planning for our next phase of growth, we announced The Dakota Aquarium Capital Campaign at our Wings & Waves Gala on February 8, 2019.  $3.525 million of our total $7.5 million goal has been pledged towards the expansion of the Butterfly House & Aquarium facility as of February 8, 2019, thanks to six generous donors. 

When all of the fundraising is complete, construction for the expanded aquarium space, interactive classrooms, and additional immersive features will begin.  We plan to break ground for construction of the expansion of the aquarium galleries and classroom in the summer 2020.  But we need your help to reach our total campaign goal in order to build the Dakota Aquarium & Butterfly House for South Dakota's land-locked residents!

Please contact Lindsey Barwald, our Development Director, at or Audrey Willard, our CEO, at to schedule a VIP tour or learn more about The Dakota Aquarium Capital Campaign.  

Lagoonal Reef Exhibit Concept for the Dakota Aquarium & Butterfly House

Watch our Facebook page and website for future updates about capital campaign and construction progress.  And check out some local media coverage of our exciting news below:

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Kid's Night Out

July 16, 2019 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Third Thursday

July 18, 2019 | 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Sky & Fin Story Time

July 19, 2019 | 10:30am - 11:00am

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