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ABQ BioPark Aquarium and Botanic Garden celebrate 25 years of exploring nature together

The two facilities joined the Zoo in 1996, creating one of the most comprehensive biological institutions in the world.

ALBUQUERQUE – On Sunday, December 5, the ABQ BioPark’s Aquarium and Botanic Garden will commemorate their 25th anniversary and kick off a yearlong birthday celebration.

When the Aquarium and Botanic Garden opened in 1996, they joined the then-named Rio Grande Zoo to form the Albuquerque Biological Park, a unique southwest destination.

“No other place around can connect guests to plants, animals and oceans like the ABQ BioPark,” said Allyson Zahm, Guest Experience Manager, “The Garden and Aquarium have been instrumental in elevating the ABQ BioPark into a world class place to experience the wonders of nature.”

This Sunday, 12/5, guests will be treated to specially priced birthday cupcakes at the Shark Reef Cafe at 12:05 p.m., a 25% discount at the Aquarium gift shop and special discovery stations throughout the Aquarium and Garden. The Aquarium’s otters will also receive special birthday-themed enrichment.

Guests born on December 5 of any year are invited to celebrate their birthday with the Aquarium and Garden. By showing a document with their date of birth, they will receive free admission to the Aquarium and Garden during regular operating hours (not valid during River of Lights) this Sunday. 

Since opening 25 years ago, a number of experiences have been added, including the Children’s Fantasy Garden, Sasebo Japanese Garden, Butterfly Pavilion and BUGarium at the Botanic Garden, as well as the Pacific Coral Reef, Mangrove Touch Pooland the river otter habitat at the Aquarium. 

The Botanic Garden is also home  to one of the nation’s top rated holiday light displays, River of Lights. This fundraiser for the BioPark, organized by the New Mexico BioPark Society, is part of many families’ holiday traditions and takes place through December 30. 


The Aquarium and Botanic Garden’s birthday celebration will continue with special opportunities every month throughout 2022. Additional details will be available on