Photos courtesey of Remembering the Philadelphia Aquarama Facebook page
Dolphins on South Broad Street, really?
Believe it or not, the concept is not as a crazy as it sounds. Yes, long before the days of the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J., South Philly was the place to hang with the fishes.
The place was the Aquarama Aquarium, the theatre of the sea, and it was located at the intersection of South Broad and Hartranft streets. Debuting in December 1962, it predated the Spectrum and Veterans Stadium. Many have said this site known for aquatic acts and a popular dance show made its big splash too early in life. For $1-$2, families could enjoy daily shows. The design included several tanks, one of which was 155,000-gallon fresh water tank. Whales also enjoyed a residency in South Phily, as they were on exhibit inside of a 100,000-gallon salt water pool. The place was also home to exotic fish and other forms of aquatic life.
Remember the late Gene Hart, the former voice of the Philadelphia Flyers? Well, before he was calling those Stanley Cup-winning moments, he served as the Aquarama’s announcer, hosting multiple shows a day.
The Aquarama was also a great spot to take a class trip.
Unfortunately, the space, which was privately owned, had a very short life span, as it closed in 1968, and was later demolished in 1969. Over the years, numerous places have come and gone in the old Aquarama space. CVS Pharmacy lacks that wow factor that the Aquarama once had.
Imagine if the Aquarama was still standing today, an era in which the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, Phillies and endless A-list musical superstars pack the sports complex landscape by the thousands. We’re talking about a place to enjoy endless hours of family fun before or after an event, without having to cross the bridge. Now, that would be an adventure!